The 6th annual Baygrass Bluegrass Festival in Islamorada has added a new twist for this year’s music event.
Island Community Entertainment, producer of the festival, has partnered with Audubon Florida’s Everglades Science Center for this year’s fest, set for Jan. 12, 13 and 14 at Founders Park, mile marker 87 bayside in Islamorada.
More than a dozen bands are booked for the weekend, with the main show coming on Sunday. That runs from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (gates open at 10 a.m.) Tickets are $20 if purchased in advance at baygrassbluegrass.com or $25 at the gate, with people 17 and younger getting in free.
The Baygrass Bluegrass Festival will feature a South Florida craft beer garden hosted by the Florida Keys Brewing Co, musical instrument vendors, food trucks, and arts and crafts vendors.
On Jan. 12, the weekend kicks off with a 6 p.m. “Square Dancing in the Streets Party” at the Morada Way Arts and Cultural District, mile marker 81.5 oceanside on the Old Highway. On Jan. 13, a Pickin’ Party and barbecue with five bands starts at 5 p.m. at the same location. Both events are free, however, a $10 donation per adult is requested.
The Everglades Science Center is to showcase a Sustainability Village, which invites those at the festival to understand how various organizations are working to restore Florida Bay and the Everglades and how they can live a more sustainable lifestyle.
There will be an essay contest for high-schoolers on the importance of restoring Florida Bay for future generations and a Bike to Baygrass initiative encouraging festival goers to reduce their carbon footprint by not driving to the event.
At Sunday’s main concert at Founders Park’s pavilion, blankets and lawn chairs are permitted but coolers are not.
▪ Bluegrass picker Billy Strings.
▪ Grandpa’s Cough Medicine: Crowd favorites for the past three festivals.
▪ The Josh Daniel/Mark Schmidt Project: A string band blending bluegrass, soul, reggae and rock n’ roll.
▪ Adventures of Annabelle Lyn: A trio of swooning, crooning ladies playing acoustic bluegrass, folk, blues and swing music.
▪ Jakob’s Ferry Stragglers: The band draws freely from old-time, bluegrass, country, jazz, rockabilly and swing.
▪ Silas Powell and the Powell Family Band: 16 year-old mandolin prodigy Silas performs with his family playing traditional bluegrass and Appalachian music.
▪ Mike Compton: Mandolin Magazine calls the Grammy-award winner a player “one of the most recognizable and respected mandolin voices anywhere.”
▪ Belle and the Band: This band floats at the melodic intersection that connects folk, bluegrass, and acoustic jazz.
▪ The Copper Tones: Indy, folky, bluegrassy band.
▪ The Carousers: Islamorada favorites — Nick Kimball, Kris Bacen and Cliff Stutts.
▪ Micha Scott: A musician with his own take on Americana music.
▪ Walker Brothers: This is a group of seven young musicians.
▪ Mountain Ride: Hailing from the new generation of bluegrass musician, this five-man band brings a flair to the traditional and a progressive twist to the original.
For complete festival details, go to keysice.com. or baygrassbluegrass.com. Proceeds help fund Audubon’s Everglades Science Center and support arts and music scholarships (more than $400,000 awarded to date) for Keys students.