31st Great Blue Heron Music Festival: Dancing Into Their 4th Decade

Article Contributed by Festy GoNuts | Published on Tuesday, June 4, 2024

The 2024 Great Blue Heron Music Festival dances into its fourth decade of music and community at The Heron Farm & Event Center over Independence Day weekend: Friday, July 5, through Sunday, July 7. Over 30 bands will perform on three stages, including Donna the Buffalo, Sam Bush, Rubblebucket, Couch, The Town Pants, Jimkata, and Driftwood.

Weekend activities include instrument and dance workshops, food and craft vendors, swimming on a lifeguarded beach, biking, hiking, and daily activities for kids, teens, and seniors.

Tickets are on sale now, with walk-in woods camping included in the price of admission. Three- and four-day camping passes for RVs and tent sites next to your vehicle are available for an additional fee. One-day tickets are available for Saturday and Sunday. Details at greatblueheron.com.

Following the festival’s 30th anniversary last summer, the Great Blue Heron Festival is looking toward a bright future. One of the ways forward is the launch of a new, larger stage deep in the woods. “We’ve had other events on the property that have set up a stage in this area and it's been awesome,” says Julie Rockcastle, one of the festival's founders. “This new space allows more room for bigger bands and a larger audience.”

The new stage is just one of several big improvements designed to enhance the experience for the thousands of music fans who return to the Great Blue Heron Music Festival each year. Production and lighting upgrades are underway at the main stage and the big top dance tent.

While live music is the centerpiece, the festival offers plenty of activities for the whole family. Discover how to make music at an instrument workshop, or learn new steps with an instructor-led dance lesson. There is also a full slate of creative activities for young children and teens, a new space for the spirited drum circle, and a lifeguard-protected sandy beach on the spring-fed pond for a cool swim on a warm summer’s day. And there’s no need to cook, because there will be plenty of great options for food and drink, including a coffee bar, plus local beer and wine.

Festival favorites Donna the Buffalo have been a key part of the Blue Heron repertoire since year one, and they are back again with their highly danceable blend of groovy, continental roots rock. They’ll share the stage with International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame inductee Sam Bush, nominated for a Grammy this year for his latest album, "Radio John: The Songs of John Hartford." This will be Sam’s first appearance at the festival, alongside the debut of Brooklyn’s always artful Rubblebucket, the improvisational rock of NYC’s Stolen Gin, the magically soulful sounds of Joclyn and the Sweet Compression, Montreal’s Cajun-zydeco band Le Winston, and Cool Cool Cool: a fiery nine-piece funk band featuring former members of Turkuaz.

Back by popular demand is the irrepressible maritime madness of Vancouver’s The Town Pants, the comfy “pop with a twist” sounds of Boston’s Couch, the thrilling electro-rock of Jimkata, and Binghamton’s song-driven folk-rockers Driftwood. Other familiar names include reggae ambassadors Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, Jim Donovan’s Sun King Warriors, North Carolina’s raucous Tan & Sober Gentlemen, and West Virginia’s Rasta Rafiki.

For tickets and information about the Great Blue Heron Music Festival, visit www.greatblueheron.com.