Yonder Mountain String Band, Del McCoury, and The Infamous Stringdusters headline the bluegrass festival
FreshGrass. The name alone sounds enticing, but the music it brings sounds even sweeter.
FreshGrass, a festival combining art and the finest bluegrass bands around kicks off Saturday night at MASS MoCA. Yonder Mountain String Band headlines eight acts who carry on this legendary American genre, including living legend, Del McCoury, as an opener. A real recipe for pickin’ and grinnin’.
Festivities begin Saturday night at 6 p.m. with an acoustic set by David Mayfield, along with a reception for The Speed Way, a new outdoor exhibit on MASS MoCA’s sprawling outdoor campus, featuring what MoCA describes as three new works of art, and 1.5 acres of “asphalt meadow” landscaping.
Sara Jarosz, The Hackensaw Boys, and The Infamous Stringdusters fill up the rest of night, with a smooth mix of outdoor performances in courtyard C and indoor shows on the Hunter Center stage. This outdoor dynamic coincides with the early autumn weather that turns the North Adams hills into a natural spectacle sure to add a homey touch to the homiest of music.
Day two begins early, and is booked to be well-worth missing a day of football for. At 11 a.m., a full day of outdoor performances begins with Aoife O’Donovan of Crooked Still kicking things off in courtyard C, followed by The Ramblin’ Jug Stompers, Dave Mayfield, Del McCoury, and the main event: Yonder Mountain themselves.
Yonder Mountain String Band, formed in 1998, is a progressive bluegrass band from Colorado. For the past 13 years they have carried on the legacy of a genre that has lost its mainstream status, but never its authentic American sound. Along with their music, Yonder Mountain also runs Frog Pad records, their own independent label.
Alongside YMSB is an old master of the bluegrass art; Del McCoury. Originally a member of Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys in the early 1960‘s, McCoury’s long career has served as an influence to many, from banjo pickers to Phish. McCoury is no stranger to festivals either, he has played everywhere from Bonaroo to the Newport folk festival, and started his very own Delfest, annually held in Cumberland, Maryland.
MASS MoCA is building a solid repertoire of music festivals. After two consecutive years of success with Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival, MoCA is turning into a premiere festival location, mixing art and music successfully throughout their riverside complex of old factories.