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Minnesota Bluegrass August Festival  

August 6 - 9, 2020 • El Rancho Mañana, Richmond, MN | ​Nominated IBMA Event of the Year FIVE Times!


Note: These are the performers who appeared at our 2019 festival.

2019 Headliner: Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder

Earning 12 #1 hit singles, 15 GRAMMY® Awards, 13 IBMA Awards, nine ACM Awards, eight CMA Awards (including Entertainer of the Year), two Dove Awards, the ASCAP Founders Award, three honorary Doctorate degrees, inductions into the Country Music Hall of Fame, IBMA Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame, National Fiddler Hall of Fame, Musicians Hall of Fame, and GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame, the 2013 Artist-In-Residence at the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum, an Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award in the Instrumentalist category, along with countless other awards, Ricky Skaggs is truly a pioneer of Bluegrass and Country music.

Since he began playing music more than 50 years ago, Skaggs has released more than 30 albums and has performed thousands of live shows. He started his own record label, Skaggs Family Records, in 1997 and has since released 12 consecutive GRAMMY®-nominated albums.

He counts the current configuration of Kentucky Thunder among the best group of musicians he has ever worked with.  "This group of guys meets my approval every night," Ricky says.  "Each and every one of the pickers in Kentucky Thunder totally amazes me in every show...and that, to me, outweighs any award we could ever win."  The all-star lineup of Kentucky Thunder includes Paul Brewster (tenor vocals, rhythm guitar), Russ Carson (banjo), Jake Workman (lead guitar), Mike Barnett (fiddle), Dennis Parker (baritone vocals, guitar) and Jeff Picker (bass, bass vocals).

2019 Headliner: Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver

Born in 1944, near Kingsport, TN, Doyle Lawson has loved the sound of music from childhood. He could hardly wait for Saturday nights to listen to the Grand Ole Opry and Bill Monroe, and he decided that he wanted to play that kind of music.  His family sang gospel music when he was young, and Doyle acquired his love of quartet music early on.  Doyle began playing mandolin when he was eleven years old, on a borrowed instrument.  He mostly taught himself to play by listening to the radio and a few records, and watching the occasional TV show.

Doyle played in bands with Jimmy Martin, J.D.Crowe, and the Country Gentlemen  for more than ten years. In 1979 he wanted to put together his own group, so he formed Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver.  That first group laid the foundation for what has become the Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver sound. Performing and recording both gospel and secular music has always been important to Doyle, and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver have recorded nearly 40 CDs.  Many of those have been nominated for Grammy and Dove awards, and the band has won numerous IBMA and SPBGMA awards over the years. 

Doyle plays mandolin for the band and sings baritone, tenor and lead.  Stephen Burwell plays fiddle.  On the dobro is Josh Swift, who sings bass.  Jake Vanover plays guitar and sings lead and tenor.  Jerry Cole sings lead and tenor and plays bass. Joe Dean plays both banjo and guitar, and occasionally sings lead.

2019 Headliner: The Clay Hess Band

Clay’s first introduction to many was as the lead guitarist for Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, winning a Grammy Award during his tenure there.  After departing Skaggs, Hess toured and recorded with several of the top bands in the genre.  With the help of long time friend and musical comrade Randy Kohrs, Clay recorded his critically acclaimed solo CD Rain with the title track going to #1 on the Bluegrass Today chart. The success of the project led directly to the formation of The Clay Hess Band in 2012.

“Growing up in a musical family, it wasn’t hard to find an instrument laying around to plunk on.” Pair that with having a desire to learn, a passion for music, and a wealth of people to learn from, and you get a musician.  “Having a family of talented players and singers is an advantage if you can keep your ears open and your mouth shut. I should have done more of both.” Today with The Clay Hess Band you can hear the result of all the jam sessions, bar gigs, bluegrass festivals, and hours spent learning from relatives/musicians/recordings.  Known for his syncopated sense of timing, Hess always tries to keep you guessing what is coming next .

2019 Headliner: Molsky's Mountain Drifters

A laser-tight trio with an ear for lovely, lilting traditional melodies, Molsky’s Mountain Drifters brings tradition steeped in possibility. The grace and wisdom of longtime fiddle player and Grammy nominated multi-instrumentalist Bruce Molsky -- Berklee College of Music’s Visiting Scholar in the American Roots Program, described as “an absolute master” (No Depression) --melds with the electricity of guitarist Stash Wyslouch and banjoist Allison de Groot to bring new ideas to traditional music.

Allison de Groot is the kind of artist whose virtuosity is built on her strength as a player, performer, and composer, She is known for her “great clawhammer banjo technique, exquisite tone, timing, and taste. She has deep roots in the old-time tradition and yet she’s fearless when it comes to breaking new ground.” (Tony Trischka)

Stash Wyslouch is one of bluegrass’s great young genre-bending pioneers, “a brilliant and free-thinking mind” (Chris Eldridge, Punch Brothers).  Coming over from the punk-metal world, Stash brings great sensitivity and real emotion to the trio, plus superb guitar and vocal chops.

These striking musicians have come together for a new sound within the traditional music genre through their audacious approach. “I was looking for a new voice,” says Molsky, “a new avenue of expression using old-time mountain music as the jumping-off point, but not being constrained by hard core traditionalism. Allison and Stash are showing me the way, just where the music is headed, in directions I never would have imagined when I started my own journey into the mountains a long time ago.”

2019 Headliner: Monroe Crossing

Named in honor of Bill Monroe, “The Father of Bluegrass Music,” Monroe Crossing dazzles audiences with an electrifying blend of classic bluegrass, bluegrass gospel, original bluegrass and even selections outside the bluegrass genre. Their superb musicianship and on-stage rapport have entertained audiences across the United States, Canada and Europe.

For nearly 20 years this Minnesota based band has averaged over 100 shows a year, performing in intimate rooms, community theaters, major venues and outdoor festivals. They are favorites among bluegrass connoisseurs and non-bluegrass audiences alike. They love introducing newcomers to bluegrass music!

Monroe Crossing is made up of five very distinct personalities with differing musical backgrounds. When combined, their individual histories make for a unique sound. The three original members are:  Mark Anderson (bass), Lisa Fuglie (fiddle & lead vocals) and Matt Thompson (mandolin & harmony vocals). Derek Johnson (guitar & lead vocals) joined in 2011. David Robinson (banjo, dobro & backing vocals) joined in 2012 and now performs with the band on a part-time basis.

In 2007, Monroe Crossing was inducted into the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame. They have twice been selected to showcase at the annual World of Bluegrass convention hosted by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) and they have appeared twice at Carnegie Hall in New York City. In 2016, Monroe Crossing had the honor of being the first Minnesota bluegrass band to perform in South Korea.

Whether playing traditional bluegrass, original bluegrass or some surprising songs outside the bluegrass genre, Monroe Crossing is one of the most entertaining acts in bluegrass today!

2019 Headliner: Fireside Collective

Quickly blazing a name for themselves with their progressive approach to American folk music, Fireside Collective delights listeners with memorable melodies and contemporary songwriting. Formed in the mountain city of Asheville, North Carolina, the band plays original songs on stringed instruments, intended for a modern audience. While roots music lies at the core of the Collective’s songs, a willingness to explore the boundaries and present relevant new material remains fundamental. The band engages audiences with their energetic live show built on instrumental proficiency, colorful harmonies, and innovative musical arrangements.

The band burst onto the scene in early 2014 following the release of “Shadows and Dreams.” The album weaves bluegrass, funk, rock, and blues influences into a refreshing representation of modern folk music. They released their second studio album, “Life Between the Lines,” in 2017. The album helped garner a nomination for an IBMA Momentum Award for best band. If you revel in the sounds of acoustic instrumentation, enjoy the excitement of energetic live performances, and delight in the creation of original songs, then follow the Fireside Collective as they journey on in their musical endeavors.

Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Association
P.O. Box 16408, Minneapolis, MN 55416


Our Mission: To preserve and promote bluegrass and old-time stringband music in and around the state of Minnesota.

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