Updated: 2 days ago
Bluegrass fans and pickers: mark your calendar for the Ocean State Bluegrass Festival & Pick-nic to be held Friday, September 22 through Sunday, September 24, 2023 at Frerichs Farm, 65 Kinnicutt Ave., Warren, RI. The event is sponsored by the Rhode Island Bluegrass Alliance (RIBA), with generous support from The Carter Fund at the Rhode Island Foundation.
Full festival ticket - $35 - includes one camping space for the duration of the event (Friday evening through Sunday afternoon) and Saturday workshops and show admission for one person. Additional people staying at the same camp site must purchase a Saturday ticket. Parking for one vehicle (one RV or one car, if camper or tent camping) at the camp site is included. Dry camping only (no water or electrical hookups available).
Saturday ticket - $25 per person - includes Saturday workshops and show admission. Does not include camping or parking. Saturday admission is free for children 14 years old and younger.
Sunday - Free admission!
Parking - $5 per vehicle, per day. Note: Parking for one RV or one car (if camper or tent camping) is included in a full festival ticket.
Tickets can be purchased online by credit card or PayPal. Tickets may also be purchased at the gate by cash, check, credit card or PayPal.
Friday - gates open at 4:00 pm
Open mic - starting at 6:00 pm
Workshops - starting at 11:00 am
Bluegrass show - starting at 5:00 pm
Saturday's show will feature four bands:
Sunday - starting at 11:00 am
Here’s more information on Saturday’s band line-up:
Stoneface Mountain is a young band from the Boston area who share a common love of music. Their hard-driving classic bluegrass sound is influenced by great legends such as Flatt and Scruggs, Ricky Skaggs, and Bill Monroe. They have been astounding crowds at many popular New England venues for the past five years, such as the Podunk Bluegrass Festival, Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Festival, Club Passim, and many others. They are the emerging future of bluegrass.
Henry, Horton, and McLanahan is a band borne from The KroppDusters, a group that included the late banjo master Mike Kropp, Bill Henry, Jeff Horton and Monty McClanahan. After Mike’s passing in 2005, the remaining band members continued without Mike, but with little intention of performing again. That has changed.
Bill Henry played guitar with New England bluegrass legends Northern Lights for 28 years. He recorded 10 albums with the band, as well as a solo album with Vassar Clements, Sam Bush, Tim O’Brien, Jonathan Edwards and members of Northern Lights as guests. Bill is possibly the finest bluegrass guitar player today.
Jeff Horton, a two-time RIBA Hall of Fame inductee has been playing bluegrass for 40 years. A founding member of the Neon Valley Boys, Jeff also spent six years with Northern Lights, performing with Jonathan Edwards, Peter Rowan and Vassar Clements. He also plays with Wide Open Spaces and The Jamblers. Few sing like Jeff Horton, and the blend with Bill and Monty is outstanding.
Monty McClanahan is a fine mandolinist and guitar player, as well as a strong vocalist in the high, lonesome style. He grew up in Nashville, Tennessee where he honed his vocal and instrumental skills in the country and bluegrass scenes. A prolific songwriter, his songs have been performed by the Whites, Ricky Skaggs and Valerie Smith. He has performed with many prominent artists.
The Hope Valley Volunteers have been playing traditional bluegrass in this region for many years before coming together as a band. They render unique versions of the old favorite ballads, breakdowns and hymns delivered with tight harmonies and tasteful instrumentation.
The Hosmer Mountain Boys are an entertaining Bluegrass Band playing authentic traditional bluegrass music from the eastern hills of Connecticut. The band is centered around two young men in their early twenties who have the energy and history down that capture the authenticity of this niche. They are a real treat to watch and hear and are gaining a ton of fans who are so excited to see that the future of traditional Bluegrass Music is in good hands!
Sunday will be the annual RIBA Pick-nic, which includes bluegrass jamming, food, raffles and workshops beginning at 11:00 am.
There is no show on Sunday, but there will be a Band Scramble. Here's how it works:
The Band Scramble is a tradition at bluegrass festivals. Anyone who plays an instrument (at any level) is invited to participate. Each participant will put their name in a bucket for the instrument they wish to play. Names will be drawn to make up bands that will include, ideally, a bass, a banjo, a mandolin, a fiddle, a guitar, and possibly a dobro...and singers, of course.
These impromptu bands will meet, choose a name, and come up with a vocal song or instrumental tune or two that they all know or can learn quickly. Then all the bands will get a turn on the stage to give a live performance.
A Band Scramble is like a musical potluck and a lot of fun. Come to participate or to listen!
Admission on Sunday is free but there will be a $5 parking fee.
What to bring: a lawn chair for the show, a picking chair and your instrument(s) if you will be jamming, bug spray, sunscreen, rain gear, and a flashlight. If you are camping, it is dry camping only. Food and soft drinks will be available, but you are welcome to bring your own.
The festival will be held rain or shine.
Established in 2013, the Rhode Island Bluegrass Alliance's mission is to promote the appreciation of bluegrass music, and serve as a resource to educate and coordinate fans, students, teachers, musicians and venues in Rhode Island and the surrounding area. The organization holds events including the annual Pick-nic and RIBA Hall of Fame, as well as educational programs such as a monthly slow jam and the Learner Loaner program, which lends instruments to people interested in learning guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, dobro or bass.