Press Releases

Press Releases

John Hartford Memorial Festival Jams Its Way Back to Brown County, June 1-4

May 24, 2016

The John Hartford Memorial Festival returns to Brown County for a sixth year on June 1-4. In one short week, the historic Bill Monroe Music Park & Campground will ring with sounds of the nation’s finest Newgrass in celebration of the life, music, and legacy of the late, great John Hartford

Dubbed the ‘most laid back festival in America,’ this three-day, family-friendly event will feature over 40 performers on three outdoor stages, around the clock campground jamming, children’s activities, songwriting and storytelling workshops, square dancing, as well as songwriting, banjo, and fiddle contests. This year’s fest will even include a new bluegrass jamming camp and an extra day of tunes on Wednesday evening, June 1.

A tribute to John Hartford, this festival honors the innovation and talent of a legend. It was Hartford’s unique musical style that paved the way for today’s updated version of bluegrass, better known as “Newgrass" or Americana music. Responsible for starting the music movement that forever changed the landscape of bluegrass, Hartford was a true visionary and artist. Keeping with John Hartford’s trail blazing spirit, this festival will include performances that are fresh, original, and sure to satisfy.

A jam-packed line up of performers are on the docket for this year’s festival, including headliners Sam Bush, Leftover Salmon, The Travelin McCourys, The Dillards, Great American Taxi, the Steel Wheels, and The HillBenders, just to name a few. Many more are slated to perform as well, making this one music fest that is definitely worth experiencing. A complete line-up of performers is available online at

Music performances on the three main stages will be ongoing each day from late morning through late evening. Guests also can expect acoustic jamming to continue 24/7 at the campground throughout the duration of the festival.

This year’s Old Time Fiddling Contest, a crowd favorite, will be held Saturday, June 4 at 11 a.m. on the Boogie Stage, with the Songwriter Contest Showcase and banjo contest slated for Friday, June 3. Plenty of fun activities at the Cuckoo's Nest, a children's craft and activity area, will keep the kids busy as well. The Cuckoo’s Nest will be open Friday and Saturday from 12-5 p.m.

Three-day festival tickets can be purchased online in advance at for $120 or can be purchased at the gate for $135 (if available). Single-day tickets also can be purchased online, ranging from $45 - $55, or $55 - $65 at the gate while supplies last. Children 12 and under are free when accompanied by a paid adult.

Guests are welcome to bring their lawn chairs for the day or opt to camp on site at the beautiful Bill Monroe Campground. A new overnight option this year is Dancin’ Dave’s Festival Camping. Designed to take the "rough" out of roughing it, Dancin’ Dave’s offers first-class accommodations without the hassle of packing. From pre-pitched tents to add-on gazebos, kitchens, and solar showers, Dancin’ Dave’s makes camping easy by doing all the set-up and tear-down work for its patrons.

Camping through Bill Monroe’s Campground, as well as Dancin’ Dave’s, is not included with the purchase of festival tickets. Additional camping information can be found at

From its picturesque Brown County setting to its stellar line-up of performers, this music fest is unlike any other. Enjoy the ‘most laid-back festival’ in the country as you experience the legacy of a legend at the John Hartford Memorial Festival, June 1-4.

For more information on festival activities, including music performances, camping, and tickets, please visit

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