2nd Annual Fresh Grass Bluegrass Festival

A Sellout for MoCA

By: - Sep 30, 2012

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My recent attendance at the Fresh Grass Bluegrass Festival has given rise to a number of thoughts that are struggling to become coherent even as I write this.

Fresh Grass, hosted by and at the Museum of Contemporary Art, MoCA in North Adams, MA ostensibly aims to showcase the evolving state of Bluegrass music and this, the second staging of what they hope will be an annual event, took place on the weekend of Sep 21 to 23. The festival achieved capacity sales for the intended venue a week before opening night, and while there were a few hiccups, on the whole, the staff ran a very successful and satisfying event.

Whereas most festivals, even those in urban environs strive to simulate rural settings, this festival in a grand rural area felt more like a metropolitan block party, not at all unpleasant, but offering a unique sensibility.

While I did not get to attend every performance, I was, as always, delighted and energized by Joy Kills Sorrow.

Although an unexpected deluge brought Saturday to an earlier than expected conclusion, On Sunday, I was captivated by Leyla McCalla’s morning solo performance and her afternoon session with the Carolina Chocolate Drops sealed my appreciation.

Aural and muscle fatigue resulted in forsaking the headliners, Trampled By Turtles, but I presume they were their consummate selves in closing the festival.

To be fair, I could apply the same argument to Blues, Folk, Jazz, even Hip-Hop, and after perusing many of the fascinating and compelling exhibits in the MoCA galleries to any number of visual genres as well.

With that rant over, in the clear agenda of self interest, as a member of the press, I would like to encourage MoCA to consider a few more indulgences to us that would let us better report on and publicize their efforts. MoCA, feel free to contact me for an extended wish list.