The Carolina Chocolate Drops, Railroad Earth, David Grisman Sextet, Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Valerie June, Rodney Crowell, Aoife O’Donovan, Sam Amidon, and festival favorite The Infamous Stringdusters are lining up in the first wave of FreshGrass announcements. Additional acts to be named later this spring.
North Adams, Massachusetts — FreshGrass, MASS MoCA’s annual festival of bluegrass and roots music, features a host of well-known, much-loved artists, along with FreshGrass discoveries, in its return to the museum campus in North Adams, Massachusetts, on September 19-21, 2014. This year’s lineup is the deepest yet, including The Carolina Chocolate Drops, Railroad Earth, Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Sam Bush, The Infamous Stringdusters, David Grisman Sextet, The Gibson Brothers, Alison Brown, Valerie June, Aoife O’Donovan, Rodney Crowell, Sam Amidon, Liam Ó Manolaí, Michael Cleveland, Claire Lynch, Darol Anger, Martha Redbone Roots Project, and more to be announced later in the spring. Last year’s FreshGrass Award recipient, Cricket Tell the Weather, will take the stage for a full set. Find the full lineup at freshgrass.com.
Already a major presence on the festival scene, FreshGrass sharpens its focus this year on the best in traditional and progressive bluegrass, also surveying innovative music at the edges of the genre. “A bluegrass weekend that spans The Gibson Brothers to Sam Amidon, The Carolina Chocolate Drops to Rodney Crowell… That’s our kind of festival, positioned just on the cusp of New England’s fall foliage season,” says MASS MoCA Director, Joseph Thompson.
Three days of concerts and pop-up performances in the museum’s indoor galleries, stages, and outdoor concert courtyards; music clinics organized by instrument; and insider presentations by players in the bluegrass music trade, as well as a bounty of Berkshire fresh food and spirits, are planned for the weekend festival. The contest, workshops, and camping, will all be expanding this year, as will luthier demonstrations and children’s programming. Admission to MASS MoCA’s galleries — where festival-goers will find concerts set amidst dramatically scaled exhibitions of contemporary art such as Darren Waterston’s Uncertain Beauty — is included in the price of festival admission.
The FreshGrass Award, a music contest judged by industry professionals and featuring $15,000 in cash prizes and recording time at Compass Records’ studio in Nashville for the winner, expands this year to include separate contests for bands, duos, and solo banjo. FreshGrass Award winners will also earn a main-stage slot at the 2015 festival.
“The FreshGrass community has really taken root over the past two years. And this festival is the heart and soul of it,” says FreshGrass Producer Chris Wadsworth. “Great music, a strong community, preservation and advancement — those are the guiding lights of this festival. The audience has responded.”
Festival passes are available for $87 for adults, $77 for students, $43 for kids 7-16, and are free for children 6 and under, making FreshGrass one of the best values on the festival circuit. Festival passes increase to full price with the final lineup announcement in the late spring. Museum members receive a 10% discount on full-price tickets. Single-day tickets may be offered closer to the event. FreshGrass details will be updated on the festival website, FreshGrass.com, and on Facebook at FreshGrass Festival. FreshGrass tickets are general admission, and the festival will be held rain or shine.
Sponsorship and Partners
FreshGrass is sponsored by Compass Records, American Roots Music Program at Berklee College of Music, The Porches Inn, Chronogram, and The Fretboard Journal. FreshGrass is a coproduction of MASS MoCA and FreshGrass, LLC.
About MASS MoCA
MASS MoCA is one of the world’s liveliest (and largest!) centers for making and enjoying the best new art of our time, across all media: music, art, dance, theater, film, and video. Hundreds of works of visual and performing art have been created on its 19th-century factory campus during fabrication and rehearsal residencies in North Adams, making MASS MoCA among the most productive sites in the country for the creation and presentation of new art. More platform than box, MASS MoCA strives to bring to its audiences art and shared learning experiences that are fresh, engaging, and transformative. MASS MoCA is the home of Solid Sound, Wilco’s music and arts festival, the FreshGrass Festival of bluegrass and roots music, and The Bang on a Can Festival of contemporary music.
MASS MoCA’s galleries are open 11am to 5pm every day except Tuesdays. In July and August, MASS MoCA’s galleries are open 10am to 6pm every day. Gallery hours are often extended on evenings featuring performing arts events. Gallery admission is $15 for adults, $10 for students, $5 for children 6 to 16, and free for children 5 and under. Members are admitted free year-round. For additional information, call 413.662.2111 x1 or visit massmoca.org.