July 5~7  Mariposa Folk Festival

Tudhope Park, Orillia, ON, Canada   www.mariposafolk.com

A Leverage for Mountains • Amélie et Les Singes Bleus • Birds of Chicago • Carole Pope • Christine Lavin • Còig • Courtney Marie Andrews • Dave Gunning • Digging Roots • É.T.É • First Aid Kit • Fred Penner • Freddy & Francine • Hawksley Workman • House Of David Gang • Jason Isbell • Jennifer Castle • Jeremy Fisher • Jim Bryson • Julian Taylor Band • Kalyna Rakel • Los Pachamama & Flor Amargo • Martin Sexton • Martyn Joseph • Melanie • My Son The Hurricane • Pondercast with Laurie Brown • Ralph • Scott Cook • Shakura S’Aida • Sharon and Bram • Stars • Steve Poltz • Terra Lightfoot • The Burning Hell • The Ennis Sisters • The Free Label • The Layrite Boys  • The Lifers • The Lynnes • The Sorority • The Suitcase Junket • Tom Cochrane with Red Rider • Tony McManus and Julia Toaspern • Union Duke • Ziggy Alberts

Mariposa is a generous mix of Canadian, American and European acts. Birds of Chicago, Christine Lavin and Martin Sexton help represent the U.S. Martyn Joseph, the great Welsh singer/songwriter, is a great example of British working class consciousness. The Lynnes are native to Ontario and are hot off their collaborative release Heartbreak Song for the Radio. We heard Scott Cook sing his hopeful but heartbreaking song “Pass it Along” at NERFA. This is an inspiring folksinger who deserves all the recognition he can get.

As summer weaves its way back into our lives, we surround ourselves with music. Cars cruise down city streets or country roads, with windows down, eager to curate the listening habits of unsuspecting pedestrians, cyclists and joggers. We gather in parks, basking in free (and some not so free) music series. Buskers emerge on city streets, creating their pop-up concert spaces. Best of all, are the festivals held in country spaces. Fairgrounds are nice, but there’s something about a farm (like Dodds Farm at Falcon Ridge) that really feels like the soul has come back to the earth. Welcome back, summer, pinnacle of life. We greet you with music.

May 17 ~ 20   Spring Gulch Folk Festival

Spring Gulch Resort Campground, 475 Lynch Road,

New Holland, PA


Eileen Ivers • Joe Jencks • Mike Agranoff • Mile 12 • Meghan Cary • Michael Braunfeld and the Boneyard Hounds • Tom Rush • Matt Nakoa • David Jacobs-Strain & Bob Beach • Trout Fishing in America • Dave Gunning • Jim Lauderdale • Slam Allen Band • Dennis Stroughmatt and L’Espirit Creole • Amilia K. Spicer • Selwyn Birchwood

Spring Gulch  is really loaded with high-recognition talent this year. If you enjoy Celtic folk, world-class fiddler Eileen Ivers fills the bill. Socially conscious contemporary folk? Joe Jencks gets it done. Our friend Meghan Cary brings her high-energy folk rock to the table. The masterful Tom Rush wisely has appended rising star Matt Nakoa to his act. When it comes to the blues, David Jacobs-Strain and Bob Beach simply kill it.

May 23 ~ 26   DelFest

Allegany County Fairgrounds, Cumberland, MD   


The Del McCoury Band • The Travelin’ McCourys • The String Cheese Incident • Trampled By Turtles • Tyler Childers • Railroad Earth • Sam Bush • I’m With Her Feat. Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, Aoife O’Donovan • Yonder Mountain String Band • Keller Williams’ Pettygrass Feat. The Hillbenders • The Marcus King Band • Billy Strings • The Steeldrivers • Sierra Hull • The Gibson Brothers & Mockingbird Band • Joe Craven & The Sometimers • Larry Keel Experience • The Kruger Brothers • Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen • Darin & Brooke Aldridge • Kitchen Dwellers • Lindsay Lou  • Dré & The Gospel Collective • The Broomestix • Bowman, Bowman & Dré • Front Country • The Sounds Of Laurel Canyon • The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys • Pixie & The Partygrass Boys

One of the reasons I’ll be blue come the weekend of May 23rd is that, unable to get away to Maryland, I’ll be missing a chance to see Joe Craven with his band, the Sometimers. Joe is the most magnetic and creative folkie out there. Those in attendance will be undoubtedly drawn by the tradition of Del and company. I’m With Her, Sierra Hull and Keller Williams might fulfill more contemporary inclinations.

May 23 ~ Jun 9   Kerrville Folk Festival

Quiet Valley Ranch, Kerrville, TX

830.257.3600   www.kerrvillefolkfestival.com

Ruthie Foster • Richard Thompson • Bonnie Paine • Mary Gauthier • Eliza Gilkyson • Gretchen Peters • Patty Larkin • Rising Appalachia  • The Revelers • Ellis Paul • Crys Matthews • Nobody’s Girl • Ley Line • Joe Crookston • Bill Staines • Will Owen Gage • Pushing Chain • Dave Gunning • Ellis Delaney • Jeff Plankenhorn • Shinyribs • Terri Hendrix • The Mammals • Freddy & Francine •  Pokey LaFarge • John Craigie • The Brother Brothers • Mipso • Danny Schmidt • Willow City • Rodney Crowell • Sam Bush • Wood & Wire • Shawn Camp • Verlon Thompson • Robin & Linda Williams • Trout Fishing in America • Bobby Bridger • Beat Root Revival • Jeff Black • Nels Andrews • Chris Chandler

Kerrville always has the best mix of veteran and fresh faces to the singer/songwriter genre. There’s a strain of malicious hilarity in certain songs of Richard Thompson that might come in handy for today’s sociopolitical material. Crys Matthews, a grand-prize winner of the NewSong Music Competition, has been blowing minds on the coffeehouse  and festival circuit. Ruthie Foster’s vocal cords were forged in gospel and the blues and it’s written in every note she sings. Her husky voice and hopeful messages will school more than a few Kerrville novices.   

May 24~26   GottaGetGon Folk Festival

Saratoga County Fairgrounds/Ballston Spa, NY


Patti Casey • Piedmont Melody Makers • William Pint & Felicia Dale • Colin McCaffrey

GottaGetGon features artists I needed to research online.  William Pint and Felicia Dale are a duo that specializes in seafaring ballads. Dale plays fiddle, pennywhistle and hurdy-gurdy while Pint plays guitar and mandola. The Piedmont Melody Makers play old-time, country and bluegrass music and sing in harmony. Colin McCaffrey is a multi-instrumentalist/songwriter/producer. “Sweet-voiced” bluegrass singer/songwriter Patti Casey has won at Kerrville, Merlefest, and Telluride

Strawberry Park Festivals

42 Pierce Road, Preston, CT   860.886.1944

May 30~ Jun 2    Bluegrass


The Gibson Brothers • Balsam Range • Colebrook Road • Zolla Boys • The Hot Flashes • Kruger Brothers • Mockingbird (Gibson Bros) • Dry Branch Fire Squad • The Stockwell Brothers • Sideline • More TBA

I picked one of the names unfamiliar to me, Balsam Range, and discovered an absolutely kick-ass band. As good as any I’ve ever heard in this genre.

June 6~19   Cajun-Zydeco


Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie • Yvette Landry • Pine Leaf Boys • Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys • Jesse Lege & the Bayou Brew • K Jones and the Benzie Playboys

I’ve heard almost everyone here live — all great bands. The one I hadn’t heard, K Jones and the Benzie Playboys, upon YouTube perusal, proves to be worthy of playing in these ranks.

Jun 7~9  Roots on the River

Bellows Falls, VT     I-91, Exit 6      866.484.3669 


Hayley Reardon • Brock Zeman • Eilen Jewell • Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band • The Bottle Rockets • Sarah Borges • James McMurtry • The Meadows Brothers • Nobody’s Girl • Joe Crookston • Sean Rowe • Heather Maloney • Birds of Chicago • Roger Marin • Hayes Carll • Mary Gauthier • Jaimee Harris

We’re glad to see James McMurtry swinging East to play in our neck of the woods. We’re sure he has a bunch of interesting new songs, weighing in on the current socio-political situation. Brock Zeman appears to have attended the University of Greg Brown and graduated summa cum laude. I had never heard of him before, but after watching a video of “Walking In The Dark,” I’m a new fan.

Jun 13~16   Warren Haynes’ Mountain Jam

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Bethel, NY  www.mountainjam.com

Willie Nelson & Family • Phil Lesh & Friends • Gov’t Mule • The Avett Brothers • The Revivalists • Joe Russo’s Almost Dead • Dispatch • Alison Krauss • Michael Franti & Spearhead • Twiddle • Toots & The Maytals • Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real • Mandolin Orange • Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe • Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds • Amy Helm • The Allman Betts Band • Marco Benevento • Andy Frasco & The U.N. • The Dustbowl Revival • The Nude Party • Tyler Ramsey • Particle Kid • Mo Lowda & The Humble • The National Reserve • Scott Sharrard • Brandon “Taz” Niederauer • Consider The Source • Michael Glabicki • Mikaela Davis • Hollis Brown • Sean Rowe • Wild Adriatic • Little Days • Balkun Brothers • The Big Takeover • Stephen Lewis & The Big Band of Fun • Bella’s Bartok • Adam Ezra Group • Aubrey Haddard • Sweet Marie • Los Coast • Laura Stevenson • The Rock Academy • Ratboy Jr. • Elijah Wolf • The Restless Age.

While I am not entirely at home with the jam band genre, there are enough disparate elements here to keep things interesting. The Particle Kid (Micah Nelson, one of Willie’s two sons) combines acoustic folk and jazz. In a video of his composition “The River,” he uses looping, fret popping and percussive effects to mesmerizing effect. The band Hollis Brown mixes in enough blues and funk and emotional content to whet my appetite for more of their repertoire.

Jun 15~16   Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival

Croton Point Park, Croton-on-Hudson, NY   www.clearwaterfestival.org

Mavis Staples • Ani Difranco • Railroad Earth • The Wailers • The Lone Bellow • Immortal Technique  • Birds Of Chicago • Tom Paxton And The Donjuans • Zen Tricksters • The Big Takeover • James Maddock • Tom Chapin • The Mammals • Antigone Rising • Guy Davis • Matt Pless • Kristen Graves • Los Cintron • Rebel Diaz • Scott Sharrard • Jay Ungar And Molly Mason • David Amram • Josh White Jr • Joel Rafael • Roger Street Friedman • Darlene Graham • Joanne Shenandoah • Joanie Leeds • Leslie Mendelson • Thom Chacon • Vance Gilbert • Vanaver Caravan • Jaeger & Reid • Taj Weekes And Adowa • Slambovian Circus Of Dreams • La Cumbiamba NY • Chogyi Lama • Aztec Two-Step 2.0 • Deadgrass • DNA • Margo Thunderbird • Arm Of The Sea Theatre • Matt Calahan

Clearwater  In addition to seeing old friends like Vance Gilbert and Aztec Two-Step, it’s heartening to see strong voices for social change in Ani DiFranco, The Mammals and Kristen Graves. We are informed online that, unique to this festival, there will be an even heavier (and needed) emphasis in environmental factors.

Jun 20~23   Telluride Bluegrass Festival

Telluride, CO    800.624.2422    www.bluegrass.com/telluride

Jim James (Full Band) • Telluride House Band featuring  Sam, Béla, Jerry, Edgar, Bryan & Stuart • Gregory Alan Isakov • Leftover Salmon: Stories from The Living Room • Peter Rowan’s Free Mexican Airforce with Los Texmaniacs • Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley • Chris Thile • Greensky Bluegrass  • Béla Fleck & The Flecktones • Lake Street Dive • The Tim O’Brien Band • Broke Mountain Bluegrass Band (Reunion!) • Molly Tuttle • Stephen Kellogg • Horseshoes & Hand Grenades • Railroad Earth • Sam Bush Band • wellRED Comedy: Trae Crowder, Drew Morgan & Corey Forrester • Telluride Troubadour • Yonder Mountain String Band • Steep Canyon Rangers • Sierra Hull • Wood Belly • Brandi Carlile • Kacey Musgraves • Punch Brothers • The First Ladies of Bluegrass: Alison Brown, Becky Buller, Sierra Hull, Missy Raines & Molly Tuttle • The Jerry Douglas Band • Steve Poltz • Bonnie Paine & Friends

Telluride  We think that somebody needs to build a malleable bluegrass version of Mount Rushmore. It can be changed every year to accommodate anyone who’s anyone playing here. Let’s see, we’ve got Sam, Béla, Jerry, Edgar, Bryan & Stuart. We should add Chris Thile and Molly Tuttle; maybe Sierra Hull. Let’s not overlook Peter Rowan and Leftover Salmon (and a few others I might’ve missed). Even if Del is off somewhere else, they could drop him in there. Phew! That’s a lot of heads!

June 28~30  Old Songs Festival of Traditional Music & Dance

Altamont Fairgrounds,  Altamont, NY


Emma’s Revolution • Bill Staines • Sharon Katz & The Peace Train • John McCutcheon • Mary Flower • Bruce Molsky • Archie Fisher • Tommy Sands • Rob van Sante & John Connolly • Beppe Gambetta • Bon Débarras • Keith Murphy & Becky Tracy • Poor Man’s Gambit • The Vox Hunters • Musique à Bouches • Cathy Barton & Dave Para • Sam Gleaves, Deborah Payne & Hasee Ciaccio • Magpie • Lil Rev • Charm City Junction & Footworks • Ken & Brad Kolodner Trio • Mulebone • Sally Rogers & Howie Bursen • Clare Horgan & Matt Diaz • Pete’s Posse • Tui (Jake Blount & Libby Weitnauer) • Heather Wood • Bill Destler & Rebecca Johnson • John Roberts • Deb Cowan • Fennig’s All Stars • Janine Smith • Ron Blechner • Stefan Amidon • Bill Jones • John Dickson • The Great Groove Band • Ron Gordon • Jake Thomas • Roger the Jester

Old Songs  John Roberts, Deb Cowan and Sally Rogers & Howie Bursen represent the more traditional end of this festival while Emma’s Revolution, Sharon Katz & The Peace Train lean toward the more contemporary socially conscious fare. Multi-instrumentalist Bruce Molsky is by now a folk institution known predominately for his fiddle playing.

Jun 22   American Roots Music Festival at Caramoor

149 Girdle Ridge Road, Katonah, NY   11:00am gates - late


7:30pm evening show: The Milk Carton Kids | Amythyst Kiah

Daytime Performers, beginning at noon:  Deva Mahal • Bumper Jacksons • Rainbow Girls • Youth In A Roman Field • Oliver the Crow • Damn Tall Buildings • More TBA

Caramoor  Congratulations are in order to the Caramoor talent coordinator(s). As headliners, The Milk Carton Kids, have become recognized as top performers in the bluegrass field and Amythyst Kiah’s stunning online video performances have gone viral. The afternoon performances are always a treat, taking place in several idyllic locations on Caramoor’s lush grounds.

July 11~14    Winnipeg Folk Festival

Birds Hill Park, Winnipeg, MB, Canada https://www.winnipegfolkfestival.ca/

Altin Gün • Alvvays • Bebe Buckskin • Car Seat Headrest • Cass McCombs • Castlemoon Theatre • Charlotte Day Wilson • Christine Fellows • Colter Wall • Combo Chimbita • Courtney Marie Andrews • Danny Michel • De Temps Antan • Death Cab For Cutie • Devon Gilfillian • Eileen Ivers • FM Belfast • Gustavo & The Green Fools • Haley Heynderickx • Half Moon Run • Hawksley Workman • Jason Mraz • Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton • Jesse Matas • Jim Kweskin • John Cohen & Eli Smith • John Sebastian • Johnathan Rice • Julia Jacklin • Kacey Musgraves • Kathleen Edwards • K’naan • Larkin Poe • Living Hour • Los Pachamama Y Flor Amargo • Luca Fogale • Lucy Rose • Mammút • Mariel Buckley • Mdou Moctar • Molly Tuttle • Mt. Joy • Rayland Baxter • Rebirth Brass Band • Roman Clarke • Ruploops • Sam Lewis • Samantha Crain • Sarah Shook & The Disarmers • Sean McConnell • Seanster And The Monsters • Snail Mail • Snorri Helgason • Steel City Jug Slammers • Steve Gunn • Sunny War • Tal National • Taylor Janzen • The Cactus Blossoms • The Devil Makes Three • The Lone Bellow • The Sheepdogs • The Swinging Belles • The Tillers • The Young’uns • This Is The Kit • Tim Baker • Toubab Krewe • William Crighton • William Prince • Ylja • Ziggy Alberts

Winnipeg is bursting at the seams with its wild cornucopia of top-notch talent. Death Cab For Cutie, Kacey Musgraves, Kathleen Edwards, Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton, Jim Kweskin, John Cohen & Eli Smith, John Sebastian, Molly Tuttle, The Lone Bellow … This festival is a drag racer careening down a mountain trail with the brakes off. 

July 5~7     Great Blue Heron Music Festival

Wait Corners Road , Sherman, NY   716.487.1781  


The Wailers • Donna the Buffalo • 10,000 Maniacs • The Gunpoets • Sarah Shook & The Disarmers • The Town Pants • Danielle Ponder and the Tomorrow People • The Probables • John & Mary • The Sun King Warriors • Stewed Mulligan • Alison Pipitone • Richie Stearns • Mosaic Foundation • Aaron Lipp & The Slack Tones • Urban Pioneers • Cats on Holiday • Uncle Ben’s Remedy • Tiger Maple String Band • Folkfaces • Janet Batch • The Blind Owl Band • Little Mountain Band • Max Garcia Conover • Black Rock Zydeco • Gretchen Pleuss • Charity Nuse and the Drive • Bill Ward • Feverhawk • Old Dawg Bluegrass •  Jeb Puryear and Dara Nevins • Ken Hardley

Great Blue Heron is, of course, a roots/rock festival. Donna the Buffalo has a vested interest in Great Heron and performs every year. Joining them this year are The Wailers and 10,000 Maniacs. John and Mary are a spinoff act and part of the Maniacs, so adding them in separately is an obvious choice. The same is true of Jeb Puryear and Dara Nevins of Donna The Buffalo. We were intrigued by the name Sarah Shook & The Disarmers and a quick check unfurled a jolt of pleasure to our country/rock cravings. Their album “Years” is described as “ragged-but-real honky tonk.” Sarah states: “This record is shouting ‘f**k you, I do what I want’ from the rooftops to the mother******g cosmos.” Sounds like a plan to me.

July 6~7   New Bedford Folk Festival

New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park,

New Bedford, MA   www.newbedfordfolkfestival.com

Anne Hills • Art Tebbetts • Beaucoup Blue • Bourque Émissaires • Bill Jones • Bon Débarras • Bua • Chris Pahud • Chris Smither • Dan Plews • Dar Williams • David Jacobs-Strain • Diana Jones • Don White • Gerry Colvin Trio • Guy Davis • Kevin Doyle • Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards • Livio Guardi • Liz Stringer • Low Lily • Matt Watroba • Mike Laureanno • Molsky’s Mountain Drifters • Pamela Means • Radoslav Lorković • Raymond Gonzalez • Rosi And Brian Amador • Ryan Mckasson And Eric Mcdonald With Jeremiah Mclane • Seth Glier • Susan Werner • The Kennedys • The Nields • Zoë Lewis | South Coast Stage Performers: Back Porch • Barbara Phaneuf • Charlie Cover • Chuck Williams • Dori Rubbicco • Fourteen Strings • Golden Lane • Grace Morrison • Joanne Doherty • Marybeth Soares & Dave Pereira • Matt Borrello • Molly O’Leary • New Bedford Harbor Sea Chantey Chorus • Putnam Murdock • Richard D. Lewis • Sacred Harp With The Beans • Sally Racket • Sarah Donner • The Jethros

New Bedford  New Bedford always seems to snag so many of our favorites: Beaucoup Blue, Chris Smither, Dar Williams,  David Jacobs-Strain, Diana Jones, Seth Glier, Susan Werner; Guy Davis in particular has evolved into perhaps the most viscerally real of any contemporary blues performer. His style of play on the blues harp summons visions of Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. Played in a rack along with his stellar fingerpicking, it’s as smooth as silk, sometimes sounding like a sax or trumpet.

Meghan Cary

David Jacobs-Strain & Bob Beach

Sierra Hull

The Del McCoury Band

Ruthie Foster

Richard Thompson

Patti Casey and Colin McCaffrey

Balsam Range

Brock Zeman

James McMurtry

Micah Nelson

Ani Difranco

Aztec Two-Step 2.0

June 20~23  2019  Rockland-Bergen Music Festival

German Masonic Park   89 Western Highway, Tappan, NY        https://rocklandmusicfestival.com

John Prine • Steve Earle & The Dukes • Donna the Buffalo • Willie Nile • Joe Purdy • Guy Davis • James Maddock • Jeffrey Gaines • Joe D’Urso & Stone Caravan • Joe D’Urso’s Acoustic Excursion • Adam Falcon • JaCob • Matt Jaffe • McMule • Miss Emily • School of Rock Orangeburg • Slippery Chickens • The Roues Brothers • Tim O’Donohue and TMU Band • Williams Honor


June 20  

@ The Turning Point - Piermont, NY  8pm Scott Wolfson & Other Heroes, McMule, Joe D’Urso’s Acoustic Excursion

@ ‘76 House - Tappan, NY  8pm School of Rock Orangeburg

June 21  

@ The Turning Point - Piermont, NY 8pm Miss Emily, The Slippery Chickens, Joe D’Urso & Stone Caravan

@ ‘76 House - Tappan, NY   8pm Bach to Rock

June 22  

@ The Turning Point - Piermont, NY 8pm Matt Jaffe, Williams Honor, Joe D’Urso & Stone Caravan

@ ‘76 House - Tappan, NY  8pm FoxFires (acoustic)

June 23   

@ ‘76 House - Tappan, NY  8pm Wrap Up Shindig

w/ Tim O’Donohue & TMU Band

Rockland-Bergen, although not in its first year, is a new entry in our annual festival issue. We’re thrilled to see John Prine and Steve Earle headlining this impressive lineup. Besides being the festival organizer, Joe D’Urso also will be keeping attendees entertained with his band Stone Caravan. Part of the festival also will feature old friends, Scott Wolfson and Other Heroes, at the Turning Point, one of the two satellite venues.

John Prine

Steve Earle & The Dukes

Béla Fleck & The Flecktones

Chris Thile

The Milk Carton Kids

Bruce Molsky

Sarah Shook & The Disarmers

Scott Cook

Guy Davis

July 10~14   Woody Guthrie Folk Festival

Okemah, OK   https://www.woodyfest.com/music/

Arlo Guthrie • Willie Watson • John Paul White • Annie Guthrie • Songs of Audrey Auld w/ Nina Gerber, Jeri Jones & Pam Delgado • Carter Sampson • Cout Tutu • Dan Navarro • David Amram • Ellis Paul • Folk Uke • Jacob Tovar • Jaimee Harris • Jamie Lin Wilson • Jared Tyler • Joe Purdy • Joel Rafael • John Fullbright • Jude Johnstone • Krishna Guthrie Band • Miss Brown to You • Randy Crouch • Red Dirt Rangers • WoodyFest House Band w/ Michael McCarty, Don Morris, Terry "Buffalo" Ware and T.Z. Wright • More TBA

Woodyfest comes packed with artists who know their way around the ballads of the poor working class. This is exemplified in the person of Willie Watson. Apparently a former member, now solo, he's been described as having been the heart of Old Crow Medicine Show. Singing in a pinched but strong baritone with a healthy vibrato, he works the hell out of songs like "Gallows Pole" and "Take this Hammer." One of the true greats, on piano or guitar, Okemah native John Fullbright dissects human nature like a surgeon on ecstasy. His songs are powerful and he is VERY serious in their delivery. He must crack a smile sometime, but I've never seen it (nor do I need to). Woody's legacy is in safe hands with artists like these paying their respects.

Willy Watson

John Fullbright


July 18~21    Great South Bay Music Festival

Smith Street at Shorefront Park in Patchogue, NY 


Pink Talking Fish • Taking Back Sunday •  Slightly Stoopid • Sublime With Rome •  Glassjaw •  SOJA • The Menzingers • Frank Lero and the Future Violents • Common Kings • More TBA

This festival is a mixture of rock and reggae designed to get the audience vertical and shaking its collective booty. While some of the bands vie for the distinction of being the next Metallica, this author believes that the more accessible pop melodies of hard-rocking Taking Back Sunday will resonate the strongest. If the videos are any indication, the manic energy of this band is going to drive the audience into delirium.

July 12~14   The Green River Festival  

Greenfield Community College, Greenfield, MA


First Aid Kit • Parsonsfield • Heather Maloney • Upstate • Ladama • Lakou Mizik • Mtali Shaka Banda Oneness Project • The Wood Brothers • Tyler Childers • Angelique Kidjo: Remain In Light • Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe • Low Cut Connie • The Suitcase Junket • Samantha Fish • Red Baraat • Charlie Hunter & Lucy Woodward • Session Americana • Ali McGuirk • The Stone Coyotes • Sean McConnell • The Lowdown Brass Band • Mamma’s Marmalade • The Devil Makes Three • The Record Company • Rhiannon Giddens • The Suffers • Mipso  • Eilen Jewell • Cedric Burnside • Philip B. Price • The Gaslight Tinkers • The East Pointers

We know it’s wrong to lean too heavily toward one gender, but on first impression, this festival has a core of dazzling female voices: Heather Maloney, Upstate (with its trio of female lead singers), Angelique Kidjo and Rhiannon Giddens. We won’t overlook the country grit of Tyler Childers or the freewheeling roots/rock of Matt Lorenz (Suitcase Junket).

July 18~21   Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival

The Walsh Farm, 1 Poultney Road, Oak Hill, NY  


Dry Branch Fire Squad, Host Band • Billy Strings • The Arcadian Wild • Balsam Range • Cane Mill Road • Chatham Rabbits • Colebrook Road • Damn Tall Buildings • Del McCoury Band • Earls of Leicester • Fireside Collective • Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen • Giri and Uma Peters • Grain Thief • I Draw Slow  • I’m With Her • The Jeff Austin Band  • The Jeff Austin Band & The Travelin’ McCourys perform Grateful Ball • Jimmy Rea’s MarleyGrass • Kieran Kane & Rayna Gellert  • The HillBenders • Leftover Salmon • Man About A Horse • Mandolin Orange • Mipso • Molly Tuttle • Quickstep w/ John Kirk & Trish Miller  • Sierra Hull • Steep Canyon Rangers • Stillhouse Junkies • The Dirty Grass Players • The Gibson Brothers • The Lil Smokies • The Travelin’ McCourys • Tim O’Brien Bluegrass Band • Tommy Emmanuel • We Banjo • The Wildmans • More TBA

Along with host band Dry Branch Fire Squad, we see perennial stalwarts Del McCoury, Earls of Leicester, Tim O’Brien and Leftover Salmon. We’re happy to see newer faces like Man About a Horse and I’m With Her. It’s no surprise to see Tommy Emmanuel joining the party. His cache of styles includes bluegrass and he can pick it as fast as anyone. Rising star Molly Tuttle has been around enough years to be perennial, but it’s only in the past few years that she’s begun to take center stage — where she belongs! She and Billy Strings dazzled folks here in 2018 when Molly sat in with Billy’s band. Perhaps a reprise is in order.

July 25~28    The Peach Music Festival

The Pavilion at Montage Mountain & Montage Mountain, Scranton, PA  www.thepeachmusicfestival.com

Phil Lesh & Friends w/ Warren Haynes, John Scofield, John Mojo • Trey Anastasio Band • Joe Russo’s Almost Dead • The String Cheese Incident • MOE • Greensky Bluegrass • Lotus • Blues Traveler • Lettuce • Stephen Marley • Pigeons Playing Ping Pong • The Marcus King Band • The Infamous String Dusters • Yonder Mountain String Band • Billy Strings • Allman Betts Band • Jaimo’s Jasssz Band • Aqueous • Ghost Light • Larkin Poe • Magic City Hippies •  Fruition • Big Something • Pappy & JP • Andy Frasco & the UN • Southern Avenue • Maggie Rose • Organ Freeman • Kitchen Dwellers • Mungion • Bumpin Uglies • Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers • Upstate • HayleyJane & The Primates •  Thumpasaurus • Kat Wright • Cycles • Goose • Bishop Gunn • Bobby Lee Rodgers • Michigan Rattlers

Moving from Virginia’s Floydfest to Pennsylvania’s Peach, we see a lot of the same rich mix, going from bluegrass to blues and back to the Dead. There’s a lot in between with the gorgeous ladies of Upstate bringing the harmony. Southern rock anyone? Look, it’s Allman Betts!  A little reggae? There’s Stephen Marley. Bluegrass with a hint of rock — Billy Strings is ready to go. This is shaping up to be too much fun!

July 24~28   FloydFest

Floyd, VA   540.745.FEST   www.floydfest.com

The String Cheese Incident • Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band • Kacey Musgraves • Brandi Carlile • Tyler Childers • Leftover Salmon • Margo Price • Fantastic Negrito • Lukas Nelson & Promise Of The Real • Hot Tuna (Electric & Acoustic) • Keller Williams’ Grateful Grass featuring Love Canon • Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe • The Motet • Jade Bird • The War And Treaty • Kyle Hollingsworth Band • American Aquarium • DJ Williams’ Shots Fired • Acoustic Syndicate • Buffalo Mountain Jam V4 • Songs From The Road Band • Kaleta & Super Yamba Band • New Orleans Suspects • The Saturators • Lillie Mae • Becca Mancari • Trout Steak Revival • Jon Stickley Trio • The Wooks • Mountain Heart • Yarn • Nora Jane Struthers • Front Country • Pert Near Sandstone • Old Salt Union • The Yawpers • Bella’s Bartok • Circus No. 9 • Honeysuckle • The Broadcast • Erin & The Wildfire • The Virginia Gentlemen • Sean McConnell • Pumphouse Blues • Elise Davis • L.A. Edwards • Magnolia Boulevard (2018 On-The-Rise Winner) • Travers Brothership (2018 On-The-Rise Runner Up) • Blue Mule • Chupacabras • Dead Reckoning • Dharma Bombs • Gote • Jordan Harman • Morgan Wade & The Stepbrothers • Music Road Co • My Radio • Solacoustix • The Floorboards • The Jam • The Wildmans • Acid Cats • Arkansauce • Dark Moon Hollow • Downtown Abby & The Echoes • Driftwood Gypsy • If Birds Could Fly • Marvelous Funkshun • Mason Via & Hot Trail Mix • The Northerners • The Volts • Tuatha Dea • Vintage Pistol

Floydfest  looks to be a smorgasbord of musical styles. There’s a bit of the Dead with Phil Lesh, country/rock with Kacey  Musgraves, blues with Hot Tuna, bluegrass with Hot Trail Mix and Front Country. The soft moodiness of Becca Mancari stands out in contrast to much of the bigger-sounding acts. The broken romance ballads of Elise Davis are somewhere in the middle.

July 25~28  Ossipee Valley Music Festival 

Ossipee Valley Fairgrounds, 291 South Hiram Road,
S. Hiram, Maine


Davina & The Vagabonds •  Billy Strings • The Gibson Brothers Country Electric Show • Dustbowl Revival • The Quebe Sisters • T Sisters • Lakou Mizik • Twisted Pine • Kinan Azmeh & The City Band • The Po’ Ramblin Boys • The Brother Brothers • Joe Walsh With Grant Gordy and Danny Barnes • Mile Twelve • The Mammals • Rainbow Girls • Alison De Groot and Tatiana Hargreaves • Sierra Ferrell • The Bagboys • New England Bluegrass • Tricky Britches • Corner House • The Rutabeggars •  Mama’s Marmalade • Twisted Pine • More TBA

We move on to another sublime mix, this time in Maine, with the consciousness-raising folk rock of The Mammals and the vocal blend of contemporary singer songwriters The Brother Brothers. The Quebe Sisters (pronounced “kway-bee”) are a Texas trio who create killer harmonies both vocally and on fiddle on Western swing songs. They’re a living tribute to the music of Bob Wills.

July 27~29    Newport Folk Festival

Fort Adams State Park, 

Harrison Avenue, Newport, RI  


Amy Ray Band • Cedric Burnside • Dawes & Friends • Haley Heynderickx • Jade Bird • Kacey Musgraves • Lucy Dacus • Mountain Man • Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band • Ruston Kelly • The Nude Party • Yola • Billy Strings & Molly Tuttle • Charley Crockett • Devon Gilfillian • Jeff Tweedy • Lake Street Dive • Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real • Nilüfer Yanya • Preservation Hall Jazz Band • Sheryl Crow • Todd Snider • Bonny Light Horseman • Courtney Marie Andrews • Gregory Alan Isako • I’m With Her • J.S. Ondara • Liz Cooper & The Stampede • Maggie Rogers • Parker Millsap • Rayland Baxter • Stephen Marley • Trey Anastasio • If I Had A Song Finale • More TBA

Along with its stable of established performers (Sheryl Crow, Todd Snider, Trey Anastasio, Phil Lesh, Jeff Tweedy), Newport boasts an annual lineup of groundbreaking individualists like Haley Heynderickx, Jade Bird, Kacey Musgraves, Lucy Dacus, Maggie Rogers and Ruston Kelly. We’re willing to bet that Kacey  Musgraves will be singing some backup vocals with her husband, killer songwriter Ruston Kelly.  I might just be getting old, but Ruston Kelly's songs reach into my chest and wring my heart out. So, I have to add … other Ruston Kelly favorites: Son Of A Highway Daughter, Dying Star, Trying To Let Her, Faceplant

The Lone Bellow

Kathleen Edwards

Heather Maloney

Sublime With Rome

Taking Back Sunday

Billy Strings and Molly Tuttle

Becca Mancari

Hot Trail Mix

Blues Traveler

Billy Strings

The Quebe Sisters

The Mammals