ISLAMORADA, Florida Keys — Three days of flavorful traditional bluegrass, old time, soulgrass, “newgrass” and Americana bands are to attract thousands of music lovers to the Baygrass Bluegrass & Craft Beer Festival. The event is happening now through Sunday, Jan. 19, in Islamorada.
The three-day jam features satellite events at small local emporiums and culminates at an all-day waterfront main event with 10 bands and two stages.
Friday, Jan. 17, is the weekend’s traditional Square Dancing in the Streets warmup party beginning at 6 p.m. in the Morada Way Arts & Cultural District between mile markers 81 and 82. The evening includes an opening band from 6-7 p.m. and festival veterans Jacob’s Ferry Stragglers for two sets of live music and dancing.
Saturday, Jan. 18, a Pickin’ Party and Craft Beer Tap Takeover is scheduled at 5 p.m. at the same location. Amateur and professional pickers are encouraged to bring instruments and jam together on two stages. Craft beers are to be showcased in the Beer Garden at Florida Keys Brewing Company, one of Islamorada’s local breweries.
Tickets are $10 per adult for Friday and Saturday events and free for those age 17 and under.
The weekend’s main event, scheduled Sunday at Founders Park, mile marker 87 bayside on Plantation Key, is as much a craft beer festival as a musical one. More than a dozen guest breweries are to offer tastings and special releases.
A remarkable musical lineup includes a robust mix of returning festival phenoms like the Jakob’s Ferry Stragglers, the Walker Brothers trio, the Sons of Otis Malone and the Copper Tones.
Festival fans’ anticipation builds with newcomer acts such as Uproot Hootenanny, whose self-described “whiskey-fueled fun” includes Celtic, roots, bluegrass and folk; the original “old time tradition” music of husband-and-wife duo Chatham Rabbits; the Justin Mason Band; Kathryn Belle Long & Mickey Abraham; the Walker Brothers; and Dead Horse Revival, Pennsylvania’s brand of country and bluegrass.
Doors open Sunday at 10 a.m., while music starts at 11 a.m. and continues until 8 p.m. Coolers are not permitted although festivalgoers can bring lawn chairs and blankets.
As well as music, attendees can enjoy artisan booths, food truck offerings and cool drinks, kids’ activities and festival souvenir merchandise.
General and VIP admission tickets for weekend events including Sunday’s all-day main event are available for advance purchase online at baygrassbluegrass.com. Attendees age 17 and under are admitted free to all weekend events.
Proceeds help to fund high school art, music and dance programs and scholarships and the community mission of Islamorada Community Entertainment.
Event information: baygrassbluegrass.com/
Friday is the weekend’s traditional Square Dancing in the Streets warmup party beginning at 6 p.m. in the Morada Way Arts & Cultural District . Image: Doug Finger
The weekend’s main event, scheduled Sunday at Founders Park, features multiple stages, for beachside listening.