7th annual NEPA Bluegrass Festival set for this weekend

TUNKHANNOCK – The NEPA Bluegrass Festival, to be held today through Sunday, will continue to honor the traditions of bluegrass music while making room for musicians who experiment and offer alternate interpretations of the classic American genre.

The festival, held at Lazy Brook Park, 113 Tunkhannock Drive, features two stages and highlights a variety of artists, according to festival organizer Danny Stewart Sr.

“There are so many different flavors and styles,” he said. “Most festivals that I go to are traditional, and everything starts to sound the same. That’s why we have the progressive stage.”

The scenic community park will become a hotbed of activity as nationally known acts like CMT and Grand Old Opera regulars The Roys and the Grammy Award-nominated Boxcars command the main stage.

“They are giants in the bluegrass world,” Stewart said of the Boxcars. The group had two albums on the bluegrass charts in 2013, including “It’s Only a Road,” which hit No. 1 in July.

Over a knoll and out of hearing range, local and regional bands who employ drums, steel guitars, keyboards and other non-traditional bluegrass elements will exhibit their unique talents at another pavilion. Among them will be The Coal Town Rounders, Sully’s Fortune, Folk Spirits and Jim Gaudet and the Railroad Boys.

“There are no rules,” Stewart said of the folk, country, rock and alternative musicians who may not be as picky about their pickin’. “Instrument-wise, I welcome them to go crazy.”

A little less crazy, but no less intense is Danny Stewart’s Jam Tent, where representatives from official bluegrass associations up and down the east coast take turns guiding jam sessions in which local musicians are invited to participate.

“It welcomes the beginner more,” explained Stewart, noting that the tent provides a comfortable venue for novice performers to take chances and learn as they play with others who are continuously honing their craft. Additionally, there are music workshops offered throughout the weekend.

Vendors of all sorts of food and homespun wares will be found lining the trails from one performance area to the next. There will be special programs for children and a tent reserved for anyone who needs a break from the elements. There will be a senior shuttle to help those who need it bridge the distances between the parking areas, the stages and the jam tent.

There is a fee to attend the event. Patrons may opt to camp for the entire weekend. Full weekend tickets include camping. There is an additional charge for electricity.

Tickets and a complete list of scheduled performers and their itinerary are available at For more information, call Stewart at 570-721-2760, email or visit the website.