Father's Day Bluegrass Festival Announces Midnight Special Concerts and Stage Schedules

Article Contributed by McGuckin Enter… | Published on Wednesday, April 3, 2024

The California Bluegrass Association’s 49th annual Father’s Day Bluegrass Festival is adding a pair of special shows to keep the music going after Friday and Saturday Main Stage performances, and has selected the Vern’s Stage lineup of afternoon performers. The festival also has slated a new youth activity: pre-school family jams. The four-day camping festival, taking place June 13-16, presents top national, regional and local bluegrass artists in a beautiful Sierra Foothills setting at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley, Calif., forging a community of music lovers who enjoy free workshops, jam sessions, square-dancing, youth programs and other unique offerings.

Billed as the Midnight Special concerts, the intimate, separately ticketed late-night shows will take place at Ponderosa Hall, adjacent to the Main Stage. On Friday, June 14, beloved bluegrass fiddler, singer and songwriter Laurie Lewis will gather an all-star troupe of treasured friends together for a singular event titled “Celebrating Women in Bluegrass.” On Saturday, June 15, mandolinist Frank Solivan will round up some of his best pickin’ pals for an event they’re calling “The Grass Valley Spirit,” during which Solivan will perform favorites that don’t make it into his regular shows (Solivan & Dirty Kitchen perform two Main Stage shows this year, in addition to Saturday’s tribute to his father, Frank Solivan Sr., who passed away on Aug. 24, 2023).

Both Midnight Special shows will take place at 11:30 p.m. Tickets are $25; a one-day or four-day festival pass is necessary for purchase. Bar service will be available. Single-day and four-day passes are on sale now for the festival, which will feature 32 acts appearing on three stages, including five California showcase bands.

In addition to the Main Stage slate, featuring headliner Alison Brown (Saturday and Sunday), Friday night closer Sister Sadie and Thursday closer Danny Paisley & the Southern Grass, Thursday through Saturday afternoons will be packed with artists performing on Vern’s Stage. (See full performer list below.) Sunday is for celebrating dads with a Father’s Day Bluegrass Brunch. Bands selected via video audition to perform on Vern’s Stage represent a broad range of traditional and old-time bluegrass and newgrass styles; they perform on a stage named for Vern Williams, who helped introduce bluegrass to the West Coast.

Early-bird ticket prices, available through April 30, are $25 to $85 for single-day passes; full four-day festival passes are $70 for teens 13 to 17, $235 for adults up to age 65 and $220 for ages 65 and up. Prices will increase on May 1, so don’t delay.

They are available at fathersdayfestival.com. CBA members receive ticket discounts.

Founded in 1976, the family-friendly Father’s Day Bluegrass Festival has become a beloved annual celebration of roots music. Bluegrass fans converge to frolic amid the majestic pines on this nearly 90-acre spot in the Sierra Nevada foothills, swinging their partners during square-dancing sessions, learning from masters during workshops, joining in on or listening to impromptu jam sessions, enjoying food, beverage and craft offerings, and camping under the stars (lodging is also available in Grass Valley and Nevada City). Kidfest, a major component of the event, offers crafts, games and music for younger attendees. The Kids on Bluegrass program gives musically skilled players up to age 18 an opportunity to perform on the festival mainstage. The CBA Youth Academy, for 8- to 16-year-olds, is a music camp for beginner and intermediate students.

Tent, camper-van and tent-trailer camping (without hookups) and parking for one car are included with full festival passes. RV hookups are available on a limited basis; for more information and fees, check the website.

About California Bluegrass Association

The nonprofit California Bluegrass Association, founded in 1975, encourages, fosters and cultivates the preservation, appreciation, understanding, enjoyment, support and performance of bluegrass, old-time, gospel, and traditional instrumental and vocal music of the United States. The organization and festival are operated by volunteers dedicated to presenting premier acoustic music in a community-based, family-friendly setting. For more information, visit californiabluegrass.org.

For festival details or to purchase tickets, visit fathersdayfestival.com. Nevada City Fairgrounds are located at 11228 McCourtney Road, Grass Valley, Calif. 95949.

Main Stage Performers

Thursday, June 13

10 a.m. – Trouble Town

11 a.m. – Danny Paisley & the Southern Grass

noon – Country Gong Bang

2:55 p.m. – Music Camp All-Stars

3:55 p.m. – Tray Wellington Band

4:55 p.m. – The Horsenecks

7:45 p.m. – Tray Wellington Band

8:45 p.m. – Country Gong Bang

9:45 p.m. – Danny Paisley & the Southern Grass

Friday, June 14

10 a.m. – Salty Sally

11a.m. – Rick Faris Band

noon – Sister Sadie

2:55 p.m. – One Button Suit

3:55 p.m. – Danny Paisley & the Southern Grass

4:55 p.m. – Kids on Bluegrass

7:45 p.m. – Country Gong Bang

8:45 p.m. – Rick Faris Band

9:45 p.m. – Sister Sadie

Saturday, June 15

10 a.m. – Caltucky

11 a.m. – Rick Faris Band

noon – Lonesome River Band

2:55 p.m. – Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen

3:55 p.m. – Paul Brown and Terri McMurray

4:45 p.m. – Lifetime Membership Awards

4:55 p.m. – Kids on Bluegrass

7 p.m. – Frank Solivan “A Tribute to Frank”

8 p.m. – Lonesome River Band

9 p.m. – Sister Sadie

10 p.m. – Alison Brown Band

Sunday, June 16

10 a.m. – Solid Gold Stranger

11 a.m. – Lonesome River Band

noon – Alison Brown Band

2 p.m. – Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen

3 p.m. – Paul Brown and Terri McMurray

4 p.m. – Alison Brown Band

Pioneer Stage Performers

Thursday, June 13

12:55 p.m. – One Button Suit

Friday, June 14

12:55 p.m. – The Horsenecks

1:55 p.m. – Tray Wellington Band

5:50 p.m. – Trouble Town

Saturday, June 15

11:55 a.m. – Salty Sally

3 p.m. – Youth Academy Show

5:50 p.m. – Solid Gold Stranger

Sunday, June 16

12:35 p.m. – Sycamore Band

1:20 p.m. – Caltucky

Vern’s Stage Performers

Thursday, June 13

12:50 p.m. – Lonesome Still

1:35 p.m. – Hay Blackbird

2:20 p.m. – Savage Bond

6:10 p.m. – The Crooked Holler String Band

6:55 p.m. – Lucas Lawson & The Unturned Stone

Friday, June 14

12:50 p.m. – Mission Blue Duet

1:35 p.m. – Mostly Marys

2:20 p.m. – Welcome West

6 p.m. – The Town Howlers

6:45 p.m. – John Barleycorn

Saturday, June 15

12:50 p.m. – Harlin and Feeney

1:35 p.m. – B*Craft

2:20 p.m. – Clinton Davis String Band

5:45 p.m. – Hydra-Matic Drive Bluegrass Band

6:30 p.m. – Bean Creek

Sunday, June 16

Noon – Father’s Day Bluegrass Brunch

1:25 p.m. – Bluegrass Holiday