The fifth annual Baygrass Bluegrass Music Festival takes over the Upper Keys for three days starting Jan. 13.
It covers two venues, 15 bands and a craft beer garden. Some of the country’s best traditional bluegrass performers will be joined by rising stars in bluegrass, “newgrass” and Americana.
The main concert, with 15 bands on two stages, will be held Jan. 17 at the Island Community Entertainment Amphitheater at Islamorada’s Founders Park, mile marker 87 bayside. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (gates open at 10 a.m.). Tickets $25 at the gate (17 and younger are free) or $20 if purchased in advance at baygrassbluegrass.com. Also available is a VIP package for $100, which includes a T-shirt, food, beer vouchers and backstage access.
“As we’ve learned from our four previous festivals, bluegrass fans from across the nation love to travel to hear great traditional and emerging Americana music, particularly in the beautiful Florida Keys,” said David Feder, ICE president. “This is our best lineup ever and a chance for locals to hear this some of the stars of this true American musical genre music.”
“We’ve brought back some fan favorites from previous years – Grandpa’s Cough Medicine, Mike Compton and the Keys’ own Doerfels – along with new stars in the field like 10 String Symphony, Annabelle Lyn, and Acoustic Messengers,” event organizer Robert McClung said. “Along with great music, we’re featuring some of South Florida’s best craft breweries....”
The festival kicks off Jan. 13 with a Square Dancing in the Streets Party at the Morada Way Arts and Cultural District between mile markers 81 and 82. There will be food, craft beer and family fun. Pickers are encouraged to bring their instruments for impromptu jams. Several bands are set to play.
Jan. 14 features a Pickin’ Party & BBQ that starts at 5 p.m. at the Morada Bay Arts and Cultural District. It offers bluegrass bands, food, a craft beer garden, and jamming.
The Jan. 13 and 14 events are free. At the final show Jan. 15 at Founders, those attending can enjoy a swim at the bayfront beach just steps away from the stage. Bring blankets and lawn chairs (coolers are not permitted).
For complete festival details, go to keysice.com or baygrassbluegrass.com.
▪ Grandpa’s Cough Medicine: Crowd favorites for the past three festivals.
▪ 10 String Symphony: “They do things with fiddles you wouldn’t expect and they are among the newest and most promising voices in Americana,” says NPR “All Songs Considered.”
▪ The Josh Daniel/Mark Schmidt Project: A string band blending bluegrass, soul, reggae and rock n’ roll into a style uniquely their own.
▪ Adventures of Annabelle Lyn: A trio of swooning, crooning ladies playing acoustic, bluegrass, folk, blues and swing music.
▪ Grass is Dead: Plays Grateful Dead-style bluegrass.
▪ Jakob’s Ferry Stragglers: The band draws freely from old-time, bluegrass, country, jazz, rockabilly and swing styles.
▪ The Doerfels, the Keys own bluegrass band out of Key West.
▪ Silas Powell and the Powell Family Band: 15-year-old mandolin prodigy Silas performs with his family playing traditional bluegrass and Appalachian music.
▪ Mike Compton: A Grammy award winner and one of the modern masters of bluegrass mandolin.
▪ Belle and the Band: This band floats at the melodic intersection that connects folk, bluegrass and acoustic jazz.
▪ Wynwoods: Bringing their bluegrass/newgrass sound from the heart of Wynwood in Miami..
▪ The Copper Tones: Indy, folky, bluegrassy band making a splash in the South Florida music scene.
▪ Acoustic Messengers: Perform a large range of styles including jazzgrass and “gypsy” jazz.
▪ The Family Band with A.J. Lee: Lee is from California meeting up with childhood friend and Keys resident Angelica Grim Doerfel and her husband T.J.
▪ The Carousers: Islamorada favorites with Nick Kimball, Kris Bacen and Cliff Stutts.