Once known as Winterhawk and held in Ancramdale in Columbia County, the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival had already established a solid reputation as one of the best summer gatherings of its musical genre in the country by the time it relocated to Oak Hill in Greene County in 2008. It’s barely a stretch to say that all the giants of bluegrass, newgrass and old-timey country music still living since its 1984 founding have graced its stages. Fans come back year after year after year, as much to camp out and engage in informal picking sessions as to listen to the headline talents.
Longtime attendees will rejoice to know that this summer’s festival will feature a 40th anniversary celebration for the band Hot Rize. This all-star ensemble went mostly quiescent in the 1990s, though its members keep visibly busy in other configurations. But on the weekend of July 19 to 22, Tim O’Brien, Bill Wernick, Nick Forster and Bryan Sutton will be back. Bonus: Hot Rize’s goofy instrument-swapped alter egos, the Western swing band Red Knuckles & the Trailblazers, will also make a return appearance, not-so-coincidentally.
Grey Fox 2018 will be hosted, as ever, by the Dry Branch Fire Squad. Also scheduled to perform are the Del McCoury Band, the Sam Bush Band, Jerry Douglas, the Wood Brothers, Peter Rowan, the Steep Canyon Rangers (who sometimes feature Steve Martin in his other incarnation as banjo-player) and many more. It’s a total immersion in the high lonesome sound, performed by the best of the best and surrounded by thousands of like-minded aficionados.
Ticket prices range from $85 for a one-day pass to $235 for the full festival with camping privileges. For tickets, the full schedule, directions and lots of other useful info, visit https://greyfoxbluegrass.com/festival.