By Matt Wickstrom
HARRODSBURG, Ky. — Grammy Award winning artists the Infamous Stringdusters will make their long-awaited return to Terrapin Hill Farm in Harrodsburg, Ky. for the venue’s annual Cabin Fever Reliever festival from April 16-19, 2020, alongside an all-star cast of supporting artists offering up different takes on the bluegrass genre and hailing from the hollers of Appalachia to the big skies of Montana, swamps of Florida and beyond.
Joining the Stringdusters – who won a Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album with 2018’s Laws of Gravity – are Montana’s Lil Smokies, two sets from Wisconsin’s Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, Cincinnati’s Rumpke Mountain Boys, Illinois’ Old Salt Union, Colorado’s Sweet Lillies, Florida’s The Grass Is Dead, North Carolina’s Fireside Collective, Tennessee’s Circus No. 9 and artist-at-large Kyle Tuttle alongside Kentucky-bred acts Restless Leg String Band (Lexington), Whiskey Bent Valley Boys (Bloomfield) and Leight July (Paducah).
The Stringdusters and Lil Smokies are two of my personal favorites when it comes to live bluegrass bands on the touring circuit largely due to my love of the dobro with the Stringdusters’ Andy Hall and the Smokies’ Andy Dunnigan each displaying a masterclass on the instrument every time they take the stage. By chance I saw each band for the first time live here in the Commonwealth, getting my first proper Dusting in September 2014 at the band’s only other prior appearance on the farm during its Harvest Festival. My introduction to the Smokies’ came two years later in Owensboro, Ky., at the ROMP Festival in June 2016, which coincidentally was the band’s first performance in Kentucky that has since included, among others, an improvised, un-plugged and rain-soaked set at the 2017 Moonshiner’s Ball in Irvine that turned out to be one of the weekend’s most memorable moments.
Each also have fresh new music out or on the way with the Stringdusters last month dropping Live From Covington Kentucky captured from their July 13, 2019, performance at the Paradise Music & Beer Festival.
Around the same time the Dusters live album dropped the Smokies revealed their third studio effort Tornillo due out Jan, 24, 2020, and named after the city in Texas the band recorded in with with producer-engineer Bill Reynolds (The Avett Brothers, Band of Horses, Midland).
Other favorites coming to the farm include Old Salt Union – who dropped their latest album Where The Dogs Don’t Bite in August on Compass Records, respectively – and Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, who’s latest album, 2018’s The Ode, was the debut release on the Stringduster-led Tape Time Records.
Cleaning up its act
After experiencing issues with festival goers abusing illegal substances in recent years the farm issued a stern warning and change of direction in an Oct. 14 Facebook post, saying:
“some have mistaken the festivals as a time to abuse illegal substances. This activity puts everyone at risk, and it puts us at risk of losing our ability to do business on this property, which goes beyond these periodic events.Terrapin Hill Farm/Music Venue
Local law enforcement was invited in to patrol the farm’s final festival of 2019, Snuggleween, which by all indications went over smoothly and provided for a more welcoming environment than prior outings.
Early bird tickets for the festival are available now for $110 at TerrapinHillFestivals.com.
- Restless Leg String Band working hard to have a good time on new album
- Lil Smokies move from Big Sky to Big Time
- Old Salt Union celebrates EP release in front of capacity crowd in Lexington
- Rumpke Mountain Boys to bring ‘trashgrass’ to Suwannee Springfest
- Horseshoes and Hand Grenades to bring high-energy bluegrass to Springfest debut
- Columbus gets Dusted