music / Columns

Jam Central Station: The Festy Experience Preview

August 25, 2018 | Posted by Jeff Modzelewski



Festy Banner

The 9th Annual Festy Experience! The festival has gone through a few iterations and grown substantially, mostly alongside long-term headliners The Infamous Stringdusters. This is a new year, however, with new headliners and a broad bluegrassy feel. The Festy is without a doubt one of the top bluegrass festivals in the country, and looks to be a destination for all sorts of bluegrass and folk music fans.

While The Festy no longer has The Infamous Stringdusters in a multi-day headlining slot, they certainly haven’t lost a step. Both old and new artists top the bill, with Greensky Bluegrass, Sam Bush Band, and Railroad Earth as the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday headliners, respectively. Along with those artists are rising stars like Fruition and Billy Strings, established folk acts like Gillian Welch and Della Mae, the legendary Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, and many others. Bonnie Paine from Elephant Revival will be joining Della Mae, Virginia stalwarts Carbon Leaf have a prominent Sunday set, and great bands like Rubblebucket, The Hackensaw Boys, and The Lil’ Smokies round out an impressive lineup.

Festy Lineup

October 5-7. A beautiful time of year for camping in Virginia.

Infinity Downs in Arrington, VA. This is also the home of Lockin’, so they know how to handle a festival. There’s no reason to believe that this smaller-sized event won’t be as excellent as its bigger brother.


This festival is a perfect mix of old and new, bluegrass and newgrass and folk, established and up-and-coming. The Festy Experience will be a perfect opportunity to kick back and enjoy the beautiful Virginia scenery and some amazing music that will be a perfect fit for the location. VIP “Glamping” options are available, there’s going to be a trail run for the more athletic attendees, and it’s a perfect festival for kids with a full kids area and kids under 12 being free. Add to that a perfectly reasonable price of under $120 (camping passes are extra but start at $96 for a multi-person site) and there’s no reason any bluegrass or folk lover in the area would pass this up.

Festy Crowd



Circles Around the Sun cancel dates
Circles Around The Sun cancelled their August 22-26 dates citing “an urgent health matter.” No more information was given, and the band stated that they plan on rescheduling those shows as soon as possible. Best wishes to whomever is/was ill!

Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn announce dates
Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn announced dates supporting their Echo in the Valley album. The couple will be on the road intermittently from December through April.

Dec 6 Los Angeles, CA Royce Hall at UCLA
Dec 7 Irvine, CA Irvine Barclay Theatre
Dec 9 Solana Beach, CA Belly Up
Dec 11 Santa Cruz, CA Rio Theater
Dec 12 Sacramento, CA Crest Theatre
Dec 14-16 Berkeley, CA Freight & Salvage
Jan 11 Abingdon, VA January Jams at Barter Theatre
Jan 13 Charleston, SC Charleston Music Hall
Jan 14 Tallahassee, FL Ruby Diamond Concert Hall at Florida State University
Jan 16 Chapel Hill, NC University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Jan 18 Hickory, NC Music in the Mill Concert Series
Feb 2 North Little Rock, AR University of Arkansas
Feb 5 Manhattan, KS McCain Auditorium at Kansas State University
Feb 7 Ann Arbor, MI Hill Auditorium
Feb 8 Lafayette, IN Purdue University at Loeb Playhouse
Feb 9 Grand Rapids, MI St. Cecilia Music Center
April 5 Toms River, NJ Grunin Center
April 6 Barre, VT Opera House
April 9 Brownfield, ME Stone Mountain Arts Center
April 11 Portsmouth, NH Music Hall
April 13 Fairfield, CT Quick Center for the Arts


August 23-26
Arrington, VA
Dead & Company, Widespread Panic, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Umphrey’s McGee, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Sheryl Crow, Lettuce, George Clinton & P-Funk, Blues Traveler, Matisyahu, Spafford, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

Waterloo Festival
September 7-9
Carson Creek Ranch
Austin, TX
The String Cheese Incident (3 nights), Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Otiel & Friends, Railroad Earth, Leftover Salmon, The Motet, Boombox, TAUK, Marco Benevento

Colorado Kind Festival
September 14-15
Planet Bluegrass
Lyons, CO
The String Cheese Incident, The Motet, Yonder Mountain String Band, The Drunken Hearts,

FreshGrass Festival
September 14-16
North Adams, MA
Trampled By Turtles, Yonder Mountain String Band, Indigo Girls, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Steep Canyon Rangers

The Festy Experience
October 5-7
Arrington, VA
Greensky Bluegrass, Gillian Welch, Railroad Earth, Sam Bush Band, Billy Strings, Della Mae, Fruition, Carbon Leaf, Bonnie Paine, The Lil’ Smokies

Hillberry Music Festival
October 11-14
Railroad Earth, Trampled By Turtles, Sam Bush, Lettuce, The Wood Brothers, The Infamous Stringdusters, Billy Strings, Split Lip Rayfield

Suwannee Hulaween
October 25-28
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oak, FL
The String Cheese Incident, Jamiroquai, Odesza, The Revivalists, STS9, Lettuce, Trampled by Turtles, Medeski, Martin, & Wood, Galactic, Turkuaz, The Wood Brothers, Yonder Mountain String Band, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead

Hangtown Music Festival
October 25-28
Placerville, CA
Railroad Earth (3 Nights), The Claypool Lennon Delirium, Trampled By Turtles, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe presents Eat a Bunch of Peaches, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, The Infamous Stringdusters, Billy Strings, Pimps of Joytime

Strings & Sol
December 7-11
Puerto Morelos, MX
Yonder Mountain String Band, Greensky Bluegrass, Railroad Earth, The Infamous Stringdusters, Leftover Salmon

December 12-16
Puerto Morelos, MX
The Disco Biscuits, STS9, Umphrey’s McGee, Lotus, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Ghost Light

Winter Wondergrass Vermont
December 14-16
Stratton, VT

Tropical Throe.down
January 10-14
Runaway Bay, Jamaica
moe., The New Mastersounds, Big Something

Jam in the Sand
January 15-19
Runaway Bay, Jamaica
Dark Star Orchestra, The Wailers, Green Leaf Rustlers

International Incident
January 25-28
Runaway Bay, Jamaica
The String Cheese Incident, Keller Williams

Panic en la Playa Ocho
January 25-29
Riviera Maya, Mexico

Winter Wondergrass Colorado
February 22-24
Steamboat Springs, CO

Winter Wondergrass California
March 29-31
Squaw Valley, CA

Bender Jamboree
April 11-14
Plaza Hotel & Casino
Las Vegas, NV
Greensky Bluegrass, Railroad Earth, The Infamous Stringdusters, Leftover Salmon, Keller Williams, Billy Strings


Thanks again for stopping by. I’ll be back next week with more jam. Until then, check me out on Facebook and Twitter for up to the minute concert announcements. Until next week, Jam On!