Of all the formidable roots, folk and bluegrass festivals that call this region home, Grey Fox is the one for the real acoustic music enthusiast, the deepest in bluegrass tradition and the most stylistically focused. This four-day, five-stage festival seems to wrap its arms around the whole of the contemporary bluegrass and folk world, roping in the acknowledged masters of the form but priding itself equally on being the pipeline of new and undiscovered talents. The Festival offers two subtitles, each revealing “A Who’s Who of Bluegrass” and “A gathering of music, learning, family and friends.” So, yes, there are stars but, no, this festival is more about shared values and rituals of a large community of both listeners and players, pickers and grinners.
The 2015 lineup features familiar luminaries such as the Sam Bush Band, Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn and the Del McCoury Bands. Durable legends of the trades, such as Peter Rowan and Bill Keith, are on board in force as well. Upstart headliners include the Dry Branch Fire Squad (which hosts the festival), the Infamous Stringdusters, the Steel Drivers, Greensky Bluegrass, the Abby Hollander Band and the Steep Canyon Rangers, among many more reasons to be optimistic about the future of the form.
Festivities also include a traditional banjo summit at the Creekside Stage on Friday, July 17, with heavy pickers Béla Fleck, Tony Trischka, Noam Pikelny of the Punch Brothers, Ryan Cavanaugh, Eric Weissberg and many more, honoring Bill Keith.
The 2015 festival runs from Thursday through Sunday, July 16 to 19. Ticketing and camping options are various and the schedule of performers is not yet fully set. The best bet is to visit Grey Fox’s slick and info-rich website, https://greyfoxbluegrass.com. The Grey Fox Festival goes down at Walsh Farm at 1 Poultney Road (off County Route 22) in Oak Hill.
Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, July 16-19, Walsh Farm, 1 Poultney Road, Oak Hill; https://greyfoxbluegrass.com.