Entering its 3rd year, The Charm City Folk & Bluegrass has already established itself as one of the premiere Folk and Bluegrass festivals in the Mid-Atlantic region. In its three-year existence the Festival has seen exponential growth moving from the cozy confines of the Union Craft Brewery in year one to the spacious grounds of Druid Hill Park, to the addition of a second stage in year three.
With a return to Druid Hill Park, a spectacular line-up, and the addition of the second stage that will feature thirteen bands with no overlapping sets, The Charm City Folk & Bluegrass looks to continue to be an early season standout of this year’s Festival season.
The Charm City Folk & Bluegrass’ schedule is topped by the Travelin McCoury’s and the Wood Brothers and is powerhouse line-up from start to finish. The twin stages will be set-up side by side so there will be little change over time between bands and no worry about missing any music. In addition to The McCoury’s – who will be stopping by as part of their road-to-Delfest tour – and the Wood Brothers, the day’s line-up will also feature such heavy weights as the legendary Seldom Scene and Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen.
Festival founders Jordan August and Phil Chorney also aim to highlight the great music that is being played in Baltimore today and remind everyone of the City’s long, influential, history in Bluegrass. “Baltimore is such an amazing City, with such an amazing musical heritage,” explains Chorney, “that we felt we needed to highlight.” To this end, August and Chorney included such Baltimore and local stalwarts as Letitia VanSant, Grand Ole Ditch, Chester River Runoff, and Charm City Junction.
The inclusion of local talent will culminate with an All-Star band led by Cris Jacobs before The McCoury’s headlining set. In addition to Jacobs, the All-Star band will include 2013 IMBA banjo-player of the year Mike Munford, fiddler Patrick McAvinue from Audie Blaylock & Redline, bassist Ian Truesheim, mandolinist BJ Lazarus, and drummer Ed Hough.
This year’s Charm City Folk & Bluegrass Festival will take place April 25 at Druid Hill Park in Baltimore. Tickets are available now and can be purchased here: Mission Tix
Check out past coverage of the first two Charm City Festivals from Honest Tune:
Tickets are on sale now via www.missiontix.com/charmcitybluegrass. General admission tickets are $45 and VIP tickets are $140. For each ticket sold, the festival will donate $2 to the Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens, which sits next to the festival grounds, to support horticulture education programs.
Check out Honest Tune’s coverage of the previous two years.
The growth of a festival is always an interesting and fun thing to pay attention to. That look back when you can say I remember when so-and-so played this festival or when it was only this big or when this amazing moment happened. Sometimes that growth is slow and over many years. Sometimes it seems to happen in the blink of an eye. In the case of the Charm City Folk & Bluegrass Festival held in downtown Baltimore, Maryland, it was a blink and you will miss it kind of growth. In only in its 2nd year, Charm City saw its attendance almost triple as it moved from the cozy confines of the grounds of the Union Craft Brewery to the expansive, gorgeous stretch of Druid Hill Park next to the Rawlings Conservatory.
Despite its growth Charm City has stayed true to the mission stated by Festival co-founder Jordan August to “focus on traditional and regional bluegrass.” With the inclusion of some of the most talented bluegrass-inspired bands in the Maryland area, that this year included Grand Ole Ditch, Highland Hill Boys, Ken & Brad Kolodner, Trace Friends Mucho, Mad Sweet Pangs, and Cris Jacobs & Friends they did just that.
At the same time this year’s edition also carried forth August’s other goal to turn this event “into a weekend long, all day and late night experience for the whole region and country to see.” To furth that idea Charm City featured a line-up that was stacked with Audie Blaylock & Redline, Sierra Hull, Julian Lage & Chris Eldridge, Noam Pikelny & Friends, and headliner Jerry Douglas, capped off with a late-night show from Matt Butler and the Everyone Orchestra featuring Danny Louis (Govt. Mule), Anders Beck (Greensky Bluegrass), Andrew Altman (Railroad Earth), Cris Jacobs (The Bridge), Nick Piccinicci (Floodwood), and Jami Novak (Cabinet) at the 8×10 club.
The spirit of collaboration that is such a big part of the Everyone Orchrestra was the overriding theme throughout the day at Druid Hill Park as sit-ins, special pairings and unique configurations of bands was the motif of the day. While not every band to hit the stage featured a sit-in or some unique line-up, it just seemed that way. Whether it was the guest laden set of hometown favorite Cris Jacobs that saw Anders Beck from Greensky Bluegrass, Audie Blaylock, and Nick Piccinicci from Floodwood all join in, the sit-in of dobro-master Jerry Douglas with an already special collection of banjo-extraordinaire Noam Pikelny’s friends, the pairing of Punch Brothers guitarist Chris Edlridge and jazz-guitarist Julian Lage, to the hometown love-fest of fiddler Patrick McAvinue joining in with Trace Friends Mucho, Charm City Fest was a day-long highlight that spanned traditional picking, adventurous jams, sublime singing, and a rollicking good time.
The Everyone Orchestra will play a special late-night show at the 8×10 in Baltimore after the 2nd Annual Charm City Folk & Bluegrass Festival April 26 at Druid Hill Park earlier in the day.Â The Everyone Orchestra is an improvisational musical project led by Matt Butler and featuring a rotating cast of musicians.Â The line-up for the OrchestraÂ this evening will include Danny Louis(Govt Mule), Anders Beck (Greensky Bluegrass), Andrew Altman (Railroad Earth), Cris Jacobs (The Bridge), Nick Piccininni (Floodwood), and Jami Novak (Cabinet).
Tickets for the show will capped at 300 to “ensure a cozy and intimate experience.”Â Tickets go on sale later this month and further details wil be announced soon.
Tickets for the Charm City Folk & Bluegrass Festival are on sale now and can be pruchased here.
FollowingÂ a highly-successful first year, The Charm City Folk & Bluegrass Festival returns for its 2nd year with a bigger location and even better line-up than year one.Â After a sold-outÂ inaugural event, the Charm City Folk & Bluegrass Festival has changed locations to the picturesque setting of Druid Hill Park in downtown Baltimore and will take place April 26, 2014.
Keeping alive the long tradition of bluegrass in Baltimore, this year’sÂ line-up is led by thirteen-time Grammy Award winner and dobro innovator Jerry Douglas.Â Joining him will be mandolin prodigy Sierra Hull and bluegrass heavyweight Audie Blaylock & Redline.Â A pair of Punch Brothers will be making their first appearance at the festival with their respective solo bands as banjo virtuoso Noam Pikelny and Friends and guitar maestro Chris Eldgridge with Julian Lange will both play sets.Â Returning from the first year are local legend and front man for The Bridge, Cris Jacobs, who will be assembling an All-Star line-up of pickers for the event. Also making a return appearance will be the raging-good-time of Trace Friends Mucho.Â The line-up will be rounded out with local talent in phenoms Ken & Brad Koldner and Delaware’s Mad Sweet Pangs.Â The festival’s opening slot will be awarded to a Battle of the Bands contest winner which features some of the Mid-Atlantic Regions best up and coming bluegrass talent.Â The contest will be held over the month of January at Union Craft Brewery with the finalsÂ taking place at Baltimore’s famed 8×10 club.
The second annual Charm City Folk & Bluegrass Festival has released their initial line-up for the 2014 edition of the Baltimore based fest. Organized by the Baltimore Management Agency, the second edition of theÂ festival is set to take place April 26, 2014 at Druid Hill Park in Baltimore, Maryland.Â This year”s line-up is topped by 13-time Grammy Winner and dobro-playerÂ extraordinaire Jerry Douglas.Â Also on the bill this year are Sierra Hull, Audie Blaylock and Redline, Jordan August & Friends, and Ken and Brad Kolodner.Â Many more bands will be announced over the next couple of weeks.
This year following the conclusion of the Fesival, the party will move to the legendary 8×10 With live- blackjack on line games however, players feel 100% confident that the gaming outcomes are the result of lady luck alone. Club in downtown Baltimore for a late-night bluegrass after-party jam.Â Bands for the lat-night party will be announced soon.
On a gorgeous spring afternoon the 1st annual Charm City Folk & Bluegrass Festival reinforced Baltimore’s long, proud tradition of bluegrass in the city with its stellar line-up that not only featured some of the biggest names in bluegrass (Tony Trischka and Tim O’Brien), but dug deep into Baltimore’s still going strong folk and bluegrass scene and highlighted the best the city has to offer musically.
The festival was powered by a trio of killer B’s, Baltimore, Brews, and Bluegrass. Held on the grounds of the Union Craft Brewery located within the Baltimore City limits, Union Craft marked the day with the release of the appropriately named Claw Hammer Ale to help celebrate the occasion. The location was perfect as the tree-lined Union Craft Brewery grounds provided ample room to roam around, to check out the vendors and the brewery, and provided a good view of the stage from just about anywhere on the grounds which easily allowed one to forget they were downtown. The day featured twelve acts on one main stage. Set changes were always quick and prompt so there was very little downtime between band. During the little downtime there was DJ Bohfunk was on hand to keep the music going.
The early part of the day was dominated by the sweet harmonies of the Honey Dewdrops and the loose, fun, free-for-all attitude of Trace Friends Mucho. Trace Friends Mucho is made up of mandolinist Kenny Liner and bassist Dave Markowitz formerly of The Bridge, drummer Jeff Hunter, Tony Bonta on banjo, and one of the festival’s founders Jordan August on guitar and vocals. The band is a raging good time that toes the thin line between rock, funk and bluegrass with expert ease. Quite simply they are living musical party every time they hit the stage. Their high-energy Steve Miller themed bluegrass set was a highlight of the day.
Following Trace Friends Mucho was the aggressive picking of Chester River Runoff and the cover heavy set of local favorites Feinwood. Feinwood’s set included a spirited bluegrass romp through Ween’s “Roses are Free” and The Band’s “Ophelia.” Feinwood and Chester River Runoff both perfectly set the table for the latter portion of the day which was led off by folk-rocker Caleb Stine. Stine’s music falls somewhere between the renegade cowboy-poetry of Townes Van Zandt and the sweet rough and tumble sound of Neil Young’s Harvest. His set pulled equally from all parts of his large catalog. The addition of Baltimore great Dave Hadley’s delicate touch on pedal steel in Stine’s set only served to heighten the emotional intensity of his always powerful music. Hadley is a Baltimore institution who has played on what seems like every album made by an artist from Baltimore. In just the past couple of years his pedal steel has graced albums by artists as diverse as Cris Jacobs, Caleb Stine, Wye Oak, Arboretum, and The Bridge.
Following Stine was the debut of former Bridge singer/guitarist Cris Jacobs latest project. Since The Bridge called it quits in 2011 Jacobs has been a busy man, assembling and playing with a variety of various bands. His latest project Cris Jacobs & the Union Men is an all-star line-up of some of the best bluegrass musicians in Baltimore. Based around the rhythm section of bassist Jake Leckie and drummer Ed Hough (both of whom play with Jacobs in The Cris Jacobs Band), fiddle prodigy Patrick McAvinue (Audie Blaylock) and legendary banjo-picker Mike Munford, The Union Men were a true force of nature. They ripped through a set that featured some new Jacobs’ tunes “Crooked Eye John,” “Saddle Up & Ride,” a classic Bridge tune “14 Days,” a Hough led vocal turn on the Smooth Kentucky song “I Don’t Mind,” and a few choice covers including Bob Dylan’s “Positively 4th Street,” and the Traveling Wilbury’s “Handle with Care.” Jacobs set ended just as the sun finished setting and gave way to the highlight set of the day Tim O’Brien.
Tim Brien’s solo set was an utterly engaging, masterful display of the former Hot Rize front man’s unmatched songwriting prowess. Switching between guitar, mandolin, and fiddle with perfected ease, O’Brien laced his set with classic Hot Rize tunes including “Working on a Building,” and “Nellie Kane,” (after the latter he thanked the sold-out crowd for their exuberant help in singing along with him), a pair of Bob Dylan covers in “Wicked Messenger,” and “When I Paint My Masterpiece,” and a boat load full of classic O’Brien solo songs. He took time during his set to explain the subtle difference between bluegrass and country, “country is three chords and the truth, and bluegrass is two chords and a bunch of lies!” To close out his set he brought Tony Trischka (banjo) and Frank Solivan (mandolin) onstage and the three masters proceeded to lay down an awe-inspiring display of picking.
After a quick change, the day’s headliners Tony Trischka and Territory hit the stage. Trischka is perhaps the most influential banjo player of the last thirty years and the man who taught a teenaged Bela Fleck how to play. His set was a lesson in what bluegrass picking should be. Just like O’Brien he was quick to share the stage bringing up O’Brien, Solivan, and Mike Munford to join him. Trischka and his band seemed to not want to relinquish the stage despite the impending curfew, and when the end of the day eventually forced them to leave the stage, the band that was not quite ready to quit and returned for an unplugged acoustic encore. Trishcka’s impromptu acoustic encore was the perfect way to close out a day that had featured such hot-picking and announced that the Charm City Folk & Bluegrass Festival was here to stay and wholly welcome addition to festival season.
With Festival scene soon upon us and stellar line-up after stellar line-up being announced, some tough decisions about which Festivals we can actually make it to will soon have to be made.Â To help make those decisions a little bit easier and your Festival season a little bit better we at Honest Tune are giving away two tickets to one of the first festivals of the year and what we are sure will become an annual favorite, the Charm City Folk & Bluegrass FestivalÂ in Baltimore.
The Inaugural Charm City Folk & Bluegrass Festival is being presented by the Baltimore Management Agencyand Union Craft Brewery, and will be held on the grounds of the Union Craft Brewery in the historic Woodberry neighborhood of Baltimore on April 27. Seriously is there a better combination than fine local craft brew and bluegrass?Â
Baltimore has a long, rich history in bluegrass stretching back to the 1950s and 60s when the city was, in the words of bluegrass legend Del McCoury, â€œthe hot-town for bluegrass music.â€Â The Charm City Folk & Bluegrass Festival will keep that rich tradition alive.Â It will be headlined by multi-instrumentalist Tim Oâ€™Brien and banjoÂ legend Tony Trischka, as well as featuring a number of artists whoÂ will be familiar to Honest Tune readers.Â Baltimoreâ€™s own Cris Jacobs, who made a name for himself as the singer and guitarist of The Bridge, will debut his new bluegrass band, Cris Jacobs and The Union Men, which will feature banjo master Mike Munford.Â Also appearing will be the renegade cowboy-poetry of Caleb Stine, the sweet harmonies of The Honey Dewdrops, and the fine picking of Feinwood.Â
Â The outdoor festival will feature local food and craft vendors, and Union Craft Brewingâ€™s award-winning beer. Tickets are on sale now at www.eventbrite.com/event/4876444577
Cris Jacobs & the Union Men
Trace Friends Mucho
DJ Bohfunk presents: Bohfunk
Â And more artists to be announcedâ€¦
The details, official rules, and eligibility requirements…
Â What you are playing for:
1) You are entering to win (2) tickets to The Charm City Folk & Bluegrass Festival.
Â 2) Fill out the entire entry form. Partially filled out entry forms will be disqualified at the sole discretion of Honest Tune.
How a winner will be chosen:
1)Â Â Â Â Â All of the entered names will be copied from the survey site and pasted into a computer generated random name picker.
2) THE DEADLINE FOR ENTRY IS April 3, 2013, noon EST.
1) No previous or current Honest Tune editor/staff may enter.
Â 2) Contributors may enter.
Â 3) Only one entry per person will be allowed and IP Addresses are logged on the survey site.
Â 4) Applicants must be 18 years of age or older.
Â This contest and the contents contained herein are solely the responsibility of Honest Tune. Odds of winning depend on number of entries. The winner will be contacted via his/her email address and must respond to the contact within 72 hours. All entries must be received from within the United States. The winner will receive two tickets to Charm City Folk & Bluegrass. The tickets will be emailed to the winner from Baltimore Management Agency. The winner will be responsible for his/her transportation, parking, lodging, any other expenses associated with the event. The winner may not transfer or sell the tickets. Total prize value: $70.00 All entries must be submitted via the above listed criteria and Honest Tune reserves the right to disqualify entries based solely on its discretion and upon an entryâ€™s lack of conformity to the standards outlined above.