FreshGrass at MASS MoCA
By: MOCA - Mar 21, 2023
FreshGrass, MASS MoCA’s annual three-day festival of bluegrass and roots music, announces the initial 2023 lineup, featuring Dropkick Murphys Acoustic—playing songs from their two albums with the lyrics of Woody Guthrie - plus acoustic arrangements of all your DKM favorites—Lukas Nelson + POTR, Sierra Ferrell, Rhiannon Giddens, The Devil Makes Three, Aoife O’Donovan premiering a FreshGrass Composition Commission, Allison Russell, Mighty Poplar featuring Noam Pikelny, Andrew Marlin, Chris Eldridge, & Greg Garrison, Alison Brown, Bombino, AJ Lee & Blue Summit, Buffalo Nichols, Sunny War, Son Rompe Pera, Sam Grisman Project presents the music of Garcia/Grisman, Arkansauce, Michael Daves, and Mr. Sun Plays Ellington Plays Tchaikovsky, a FreshGrass Composition Commission. Additional artists to be announced in the coming weeks.
“FreshGrass is a beloved tradition at MASS MoCA, with more than a decade of music and memories,” says MASS MoCA Director Kristy Edmunds. “The joy and care that go into creating this festival—from the world-premiere performances to the developmental workshops and awards—keep artists and audiences coming back year after year.”
FreshGrass features bluegrass traditionalists and innovators on four stages and platforms throughout the museum’s 16-acre campus. Festival programming also includes FreshScores, a silent film with original live music; FreshGrass commissions and world premieres; instrument and industry workshops; pop-up performances and retail; and local Berkshire food and spirits vendors.
Workshops led by bluegrass veterans on the subjects of songwriting, producing, and music marketing will return. FreshGrass-owned No Depression—the quarterly journal for roots music and online roots music authority—sets up an eponymous stage in the festival’s inner courtyard and Compass Records brings its pop-up record store back to the center of the festival.
FreshGrass nurtures emerging talent in the bluegrass field with its FreshGrass Awards, which grant up to $20,000 in cash prizes and recording time at Compass Records studio in Nashville to unsigned talent. The annual award categories include band, banjo, guitar, and fiddle. Twelve finalists—three in each category—travel to the festival to perform for a panel of No Depression editors and artists. Finalists will perform throughout the weekend on pop-up stages and award winners in each of the four categories will earn a mainstage slot at the 2024 FreshGrass Festival. The FreshGrass Award prizes are funded by the FreshGrass Foundation, whose mission is to promote, produce, and create innovative grassroots music and support emerging artists.
"We are thrilled with this year’s lineup,” says producer and FreshGrass Foundation Director Chris Wadsworth. “It includes exciting new bluegrass pioneers, many old favorites, and multidisciplinary collaborations that are sure to break boundaries for us.”
FreshGrass 2023 is sponsored by No Depression, Folk Alley, The Porches Inn at MASS MoCA, Compass Records, the American Roots Music Program at Berklee College of Music, Circle Strings, EASTMAN, Deering Banjo Company, Girardi Distributors, Berkshire Gas, Guido's Fresh Marketplace, and AccessPlus Communications.
3-Day tickets are now on sale for adults ($164), students ($119), and children 7-16 ($59). Admission is free for children 5 and under. All festival tickets include admission to MASS MoCA’s galleries. MASS MoCA members receive a 10% discount on ticket prices* and never pay ticketing fees (*excluding VIP FreshPass tickets).
VIP FreshPass tickets are now on sale for $500 and include: preferred seating or standing sections at the main stages, access to the FreshPass Lounge (free snacks, phone charging, and a selection of festival merchandise), meet-and-greet opportunities with FreshGrass artists, and an exclusive curator-led tour of the MASS MoCA galleries.
Ticket prices are subject to change. FreshGrass is held rain or shine.
FreshGround is a tent-camping field within easy walking distance (.7 miles; 12 minutes) of the festival, convenient to downtown merchants, bars, and restaurants. A shuttle bus runs continuously to the festival from the campsite. FreshGround is on sale now at the FreshGrass website, freshgrass.com.
About FreshGrass Foundation
FreshGrass believes that the simple acts of making and sharing authentic creations are among the most effective ways to spread joy and love, to improve lives and communities, and to make a profoundly positive impact on the world. To achieve our mission, we produce FreshGrass Festivals in North Adams, MA and Bentonville, AR; we offer a variety of grants, commissions, and awards to musicians and writers for new works; we produce and publish No Depression, the quarterly journal of roots music; we produce, publish and stream Folk Alley, the 24-hour online listening for roots music; we are a founding partner of Artists At Work, a program that provides living wages for living artists; we administer the Steve Martin Banjo Prize, a prestigious award founded by Steve Martin (actor/comedian) that recognizes an individual or group for outstanding accomplishment in banjo; and we operate and manage Studio 9 in North Adams, MA, a state-of-the-art recording studio and venue. Through a cutting-edge, multidisciplinary and collaborative approach, Freshgrass continually strives to help promote new artists and create new art through each of its entities. FreshGrass is committed to making our organization completely sustainable and carbon neutral. Learn more about our green pledge by reading our FreshGrass Manifesto.