FreshGrass fest seeks to broaden the field of bluegrass

Among those playing FreshGrass this year are (clockwise from top) Leftover Salmon, Alison Brown, and Dr. Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys.
Among those playing FreshGrass this year is Leftover Salmon. Alicia J. Rose

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Now in its third year, FreshGrass is set to make a statement as a serious player in the region’s acoustic-music world.

“FreshGrass is an evolving concept,” says Chris Wadsworth, a venture-capital guy with a longtime love of bluegrass who was brought in by the museum to help shape the festival and lead booking efforts. “I think it takes a couple of years to really establish a festival, and we just want to carve out our niche.”

That niche is growing. A few hundred people attended the first go-round in 2011, a two-day affair hatched with fewer than three months of planning—almost a spontaneous improvisation in the world of museum programming. This year, organizers expect at least 3,000 festival-goers.

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