What could be better than a gathering of the finest pickers in bluegrass music today, set in an idyllic Catskill mountain valley? There is no better folk event on the eastern seaboard than the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, and it’s not so much the lineup that makes it so special – though they do manage to draw the best touring bluegrass bands year in and year out – but the community of festival-goers that they have attracted.
With four packed days of music across several stages, Grey Fox perennially offers up legendary straight ahead bluegrass acts like this year’s billing of Del McCoury, Peter Rowan and Mike Compton & Joe Newberry, alongside the very best of the new generation of American roots music with memorable performances by the Steep Canyon Rangers, The Infamous Stringdusters, Michael Daves & Friends and Mr. Sun. Grey Fox has long had a reputation as a musician’s festival, and part of the magic comes from impromptu cross-pollinations on stage, adding a momentousness to the event that means you just have to be there to see it all.
But aside from the more prominent names in bluegrass turning out each year, Grey Fox also makes it a point to encourage and develop the next generation of players, with a robust schedule of hands-on musician’s workshops. They also make room in the performance schedule for emerging artists, a tradition that has seen numerous talented acts rise out of the Grey Fox community over the years. Notable this year was Abby Hollander Band, who gave further proof that the future of bluegrass may well be living in Brooklyn.