Happy Summer of 2019!

by Mark Panfil

Bluegrass music is all year round but by far its largest crowds attend the outdoor events and festivals. It’s hard to believe that since the first bluegrass festival started in Fincastle, Va., in 1965, they have blossomed into over 400 a year in the USA alone! This does not include the country, folk and rock festivals that would drive that number into the thousands. There are also dozens of bluegrass festivals in other countries.

July has several of note within a short drive of Buffalo.

The Busy Bird bluegrass festival kicks of on fourth of July weekend in Ithaca, N.Y.

The largest bluegrass festival in the northeast happens a short six-hour drive from here between Albany and New York City; the Grey Fox bluegrass festival is a four-day event starting July 18. The top names on the national scene will be there: Del McCoury, Jerry Douglas, Billy Strings, Tommy Emmanuel, Leftover Salmon, Steep Canyon Rangers and Tim O’Brien, just to name a few.

The Tug Hill Bluegrass Festival 2019, opening night with Special Consensus, from Chicago, Ill.

This year again, a free one-day bluegrass festival in Springville on Saturday, July 27, offers locals a taste of the bluegrass festival scene, just a short drive down Route 219.

Besides the many festivals, you can attend one of the many park and gazebo bluegrass concerts throughout Western New York:

  • Orchard Park, Tuesday, July 2
  • Marilla,Thursday July 11
  • Bidwell Parkway (Buffalo),Tuesday, July 30

Remember the Sportsmen’s Tavern has bluegrass music every month. On the July 17 they welcome the Howlin’ Brothers and on the 18th you can see the Buffalo Bluegrass All Stars at noon.

Note: On the 4th of July, the Buffalo Bluegrass All Stars are not playing at the Sportsmen’s due to the holiday observance.

A special opportunity for the serious bluegrass pickers in our region is the Augusta Heritage Bluegrass week camp in Elkins WV. Less than a 6-hour drive from downtown Buffalo, this camp offers five days of bluegrass music instruction by the top names on the national scene.

Details on these and more bluegrass music happenings in the greater Buffalo area can be found at www.BuffaloBluegrass.com.

As always, let’s all support live music in our local areas!

Elmer Ploetz

Author Elmer Ploetz

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