Bluegrass festival returns with top-flight lineup

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MANCHESTER — Don't let the snow and cold temps fool you. The green grass, blue sky, and good vibes are waiting and August isn't that far off.

Year three of the Green Mountain Bluegrass & Roots Festival is slated for Aug. 13-16 in the field at Hunter Park at the Northshire Civic Center with ticketing, showers and parking based out of Riley Rink.

With two years of growth behind them, founders Jill and John Turpin said they have an exciting lineup planned for year three and expect to see the little festival continue its growth.

Jill Turpin said the festival drew just less than 2,000 people in year one, and about 3,400 in 2019.

"Our presale tickets are more than 50 percent higher this year than they were for year two," Turpin said. "It's awesome."

Turpin said some of the festivals have simply grown too big with multiple stages running at the same time and costs skyrocketing.

"We are trying to differentiate ourselves," Turpin said. "We go to those festivals that are huge that have three stages going at once. It's what's wrong with our world right now. It's all just too much. We don't want people stressed out that they're going to miss something."

Turpin said GMBR fans have told them they want the festival to remain small and local.

"They want the more unique and intimate experience," Turpin said. "It feels like it's working to us. People are paying attention."

This year's initial lineup has been released and the musicians and bands who have been announced will bring some serious musical talent in Manchester this August, and, Turpin promises there is more to be announced.

One performer who was just recently announced is Bryan Sutton, a Grammy Award winner and a nine-time International Bluegrass Music Association Guitar Player of the Year.

Known for his flat-picking, Sutton is one of the most in-demand session players who has credits on recordings by the biggest names in country, bluegrass and roots music.

Others already in this program include similarly talented players including Sierra Hull, a mandolin player, who has been feted by the likes of Bela Fleck ("She plays the mandolin with a degree of refined elegance and freedom that few have achieved.") and Alison Krauss ("I think she's endless. I don't see any boundaries. Talent like hers is so rare, and I don't think it stops.")

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Also in this year's lineup is Christian Sedelmyer, a four- and five-string fiddle player whose performance and recording credits reads like a who's who list of bluegrass and roots musicians.

Justin Moses brings an impressive resume to Manchester, including being part of the Dan Tyminski Band, with whom he played on the 2009 IBMA Album of the Year and Grammy nominated "Wheels" album.

Andrew Marlin the mandolin player from Mandonlin Orange is back this year. Marlin is well-known for his song-writing and playing with the ever popular Mandolin Orange, as well as for having written or produced work for Rachel Baiman, Mipso, Josh Oliver and Kate Rhudy.

The Yonder Mountain String Band will perk up the ears of dedicated bluegrass fans. The band has been a powerhouse on the national bluegrass scene for two decades with the way the progressive band bends and warps the genre. YMSB tours hard having played more than 2,100 gigs and has developed a strong following of fans as they tour across the country..

One group that has music fans psyched to hear is Joy Kills Sorrow, which was a very popular band before breaking up a few years ago.

"We got them to reunite for one show only," Turpin said.

And the tribute this year promises a repeat of last year's effort that many proclaimed the best part of the four-day event.

"Our tribute is going to be very special," Turpin said.

The recipient of this year's tribute has not yet been released, but the end-of-Saturday set topper jam will be led by Sierra Hull and Christian Sedelmyer.

And local realtor and community activist Paul Carroccio will be back to lead "a band of ringers" that will include some of the area's top musicians as well as potentially some of the top talent in Vermont.

Among those expected include Vermont's own Jim Gilmour, Nashville singer-songwriter Jeff Black, who has written for Sam Bush, Allison Kraus, Wayland Jennings and many others, and local legend Will Seeders Mosheim, who plays and builds custom banjos and guitars out of his facility in Dorset.

Other local talent will be playing again this year including local sensations Saints and Liars, which bills itself as Vermont's own roadhouse string band.

Tickets are on sale now. At four-say pass is $175, and camping passes — tent or vehicle — are $40.

Contact Darren Marcy at or by cell at 802-681-6534.


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