Looking Back On Charm City Bluegrass Festival

Steep Canyon Rangers perform at Charm City Bluegrass

We take a moment to look back on the most spectacular regional bluegrass festival held in the DMV's backyard. We find ourselves thinking about how much we were looking forward to attending the 2020 edition of Charm City Bluegrass in Druid Hill Park on April 24-25. Set upon 745 acres, Druid Hill Park is truly spectacular, a Baltimore treasure and the perfect setting for this festival and celebrating Charm City. We love the intimate and communal feel of the festival configuration with its gentle green slope looking over the stage and the Rawlings Conservatory proudly looking over the vending area.

We still see in our minds eye the crowd gleefully taking in the performances, families young and old enjoying a day in the park with lawn chairs set about accompanied by blankets and picnic baskets dotting the landscape. It brings a certain wry smile to our face to remember the sounds of bluegrass wafting through the air along with the sounds of small children giggling with delight as they play with the bubbles, balloons, and small balls. Most of all, we miss the gathering with our extended music family be-it our friends, our family, the artists, the vendors, and others in the community.

Reflecting on a cold and damp day here in the DC & Baltimore area and we know how we would have been grinning ear to ear saying, "Wow, the weather held out just long enough for the festival to finish!" We can truly see the lush park right now, glistening in the morning dew and the birds singing with delight.

We realize everyone is truly sad about the postponement of this festival - everyone - and this includes the artists, the audience, the media, the production crews, the vendors, and the community at large. Charm City Bluegrass is put on by members of our community for our community, and that is perhaps what stings the most. Despite the disappointment and sadness, we choose to revel in the joy of the seven past editions that we had the pleasure of enjoying.

This is our love letter to Charm City Bluegrass and our community. We cannot express how much we look forward to seeing each and every one of you in the days to come, and we look forward to future editions at Druid Hill Park and the late-night afterparties at The 8x10.


2019 Charm City Bluegrass Highlights. Music by Gangstagrass

If you are wondering how you can help Charm City Bluegrass Festival then please consider purchasing a festival t-shirt for $20. For each shirt sold, $10 of each sale goes to the festival to help them and will help bring back the event in the future. Follow the Facebook post below or use this link.

Charm City Bluegrass 2020 has been tentatively rescheduled for October 9 & 10, 2020. You can learn more about it on the festival's event page. We look forward to replacing the brisk spring days at Druid Hill Park with the brisk fall days with the fall foliage, perhaps setting a beautiful backdrop for the newly configured Charm City Bluegrass 2020.

Additional Resources

Additional Resources

Additional

Resources


To learn more about Charm City Bluegrass, please see the following web resources:


Original Article: Published on May 6th, 2019 and Written by Seth Gordon-Lipkin

Now in its seventh year, Charm City Bluegrass Festival has become a Baltimore tradition, kicking off the summer festival season with two days of bluegrass performances, workshops, and jam sessions. Held just next to the Conservatory and Botanic Gardens in beautiful Druid Hill Park, this annual festival serves as a celebration of the local bluegrass scene and has evolved to offer a lineup of artists whose music share roots in Americana, folk, country and traditional bluegrass. Headlined this year by local legends, the Bridge, the 2019 installment of this festival reminded us again what makes this a can't miss event each spring. Despite a rainy first night, featuring an outstanding performance by Jeff Austin Band, the weather improved dramatically for the festival's full-day Saturday schedule, with sunshine and clear skies throughout the afternoon.

The audience takes in great weather at the 2019 Charm City Bluegrass Festival

This year's festival stuck to the formula that has made Charm City Bluegrass so successful for the last seven years: a family friendly set-up, great local food and drink vendors, and two stages with live music all day. The majority of the bands perform on two main stages that alternate back and forth. While one band is playing, another is setting up on the stage next to it. There's not much lag time between artists, and the organizers use those opportunities to promote local acts and initiatives. The secondary stage on the other side of the site offers small workshops, jam sessions, and talks, in addition to a few bands.

The audience takes in great weather at the 2019 Charm City Bluegrass Festival
Charm City Bluegrass brought some of the very best from around the country

Brittany Haas of Hawktail

This year's lineup featured a wide range of artists, both playing and inspired by bluegrass. For traditional bluegrass fans, there was plenty of pickin' with bands like Hawktail, Charm City Junction, and Steep Canyon Rangers. Fans of crossover and alternative bluegrass enjoyed the hidden gem of the festival, Gangstagrass, that beatifully blended rap/hip-hop with traditional bluegrass.  Fans of indie folk could gravitate to Front Country, while Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen brought the live energy of a rock band to their late afternoon set. And Deer Tick, a genre-blending alternative rock band from Rhode Island, played the penultimate set of the festival before the semi-retired local jam band, the Bridgeheadlined the weekend. Playing a set featuring several of their bluegrass-tinged songs like "Country Mile" and "Chains," the Bridge also threw in some humor with a special "bluegrass jam" where every member of the band took a solo at the same time.

Charm City Bluegrass brought some of the very best from around the country

Brittany Haas of Hawktail

Charm City Bluegrass is truly one of the best music festivals in the DMV area. In addition to the impressive lineup each year, the festival has an excellent vibe. The vendors are always great, especially beer provided by Union Craft Brewing, and the crowd feels big in the park, but also intimate. With each installment of this festival it's great to see lots of families and young bluegrass fans, some of whom may grace its stage in the years to come.

Cris Jacobs of The Bridge ended the festival on a high note
Cris Jacobs of The Bridge ended the festival on a high note

Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery


Enjoy photos by our photographer Jason Herman of Jason Herman Photography.

Previous Coverage

Previous Coverage

Previous  Coverage


Charm City Interviews

Charm City Interviews

Charm City Interviews


The following articles and interviews are part of our 2019 Charm City Bluegrass coverage.

About the author
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Jason Herman

A 24x7 member and Photo Editor of DC Music Review. Jason has been passionate about music since his earliest days and is especially excited about the music scene around his adopted hometown, Washington DC. With over 35 Grateful Dead and 80+ Phish shows, and countless music festivals under his belt, you can find him at concerts around the country but especially in his adopted hometown of Washington, D.C. Before turning his lens to music, Jason followed professional cyclists around the U.S. Domestic Circuit to the tallest mountains in Europe.