What Do You Do in a Bluegrass Festival?

If you want to have an authentic, one-of-a-kind and unforgettable taste of the best that bluegrass music has to offer, you need to attend a bluegrass festival then.

Common Featured Events of a Bluegrass Festival

These festivals usually last one full weekend although some of them allow guests to camp ahead of the festival’s designated dates. Regardless of which bluegrass festival you’re planning to attend, it’s sure to include the events listed below.


These festivals takes place outdoors in general and require guests or participants to bring their own camping equipment. Some festivals do not charge guests camping fees while others could require you to make an initial deposit for reservation. Depending on the camping site provided for the festival, guests may or may not have access to water and electricity. Slots or areas may also be limited, thus requiring guests to make early reservations.

Food may be provided by the event’s organizers for at least one evening but after that, it will be up to the campers to look for their own provisions. Most of these events encourage the use of “pot luck”, which lets campers share food with each other and thus creating an informal buffet setup.

Music Camps

In most cases, music camps are offered for minors and amateurs but there may be instances when advanced lessons could be offered as well. Some of them may offer free instruction while others require guests to pay a separate fee. Educational materials are rarely provided and students must bring their own instruments.

For bluegrass music camps, lessons generally focus on playing the banjo, bass and guitar, fiddle, and the mandolin. Vocal lessons are also frequently offered. Depending on student interest, lessons for other instruments may be offered, too.

Concert Performances

The lineup of artists set to perform on a festival is usually prepared early on so that guests would know whose events they can look forward to and which dates they mustn’t miss.

Famous Bluegrass Festivals

The Festival of the Bluegrass was first launched in 1974 by couple Bob and Jean Cornett in Lexington, Kentucky. It is the oldest of its kind and played a significant role in shaping the bluegrass festival scene today.  It is always held at the first weekend of June. The International Bluegrass Music Association honored the festival with an Event of the Year Award in 2007.

Another popular festival is the Telluride Bluegrass Festival which is held in Colorado and also established in 1974. The festival also features musical performances outside the bluegrass genre.

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