#FreshGrass music festival rises up singing — #berkshireweekend

Something about moving through familiar spaces with the energy of brilliant voices who were halfway across the country or the world a few days ago … draws me back to FreshGrass every year.

Something about walking easily from the mill into the courtyard while the evenings are still warm. You feel the first note of fall, and the music pulses in the soles of your feet, and you feel confident enough to walk up to anyone …

I remember feeling that pull the last night Rhiannon Giddens sang, filling the vast old brick with the tempered strength of her voice, and she’s coming back — Grammy and Pulitzer prizewinner with a newly released her first album of entirely original songs.

That high amazes me like a reunion, to have a living force of music come close — to hear Aoife O’Donovan perform a festival commission, America, Come, on a protest march with suffragists — and then walk a few feet and dance to Bombino’s internationally awardwinning North African desert blues.

On Friday night as the festival opens, The Wildmans will play the kind of high ripping fiddle and liquid banjo that musicians have played by ear across the Northeast for four hundred years.

And afterward, after dark, we can all stand under the new moon to hear Allison Russell singing low, her voice over bowed strings like conjoined streams.

In the cradle of the circle
are the ones who came before you
their strength is yours now
you’re not alone …

‘Protect your heart and soul — Protect your mind today’

As blues and bluegrass vocalist Sunny War sings — and she will join a broad lineup this weekend of innovative musicians from around the world.

Trampled by Turtles performs at FreshGrass. Photo Courtesy of Mass MoCA
Trampled by Turtles

Trampled by Turtles performs at FreshGrass. Photo Courtesy of Mass MoCA

Aoife O’Donovan

will performs a festival commission celebrating suffragists …

FreshGrass 2023 on Friday

FreshGrass 2023 on Friday

Allison Russell

— musician, poet, singer, songwriter, and activist, and co-founder of Our Native Daughters and Birds of Chicago — will sing live on the opening night of FreshGrass 2023.

FreshGrass 2023 on Saturday

FreshGrass 2023 on Saturday


brings Grammy-nominated North African desert blues (or Tichumaren in Tamasheq, the Tuareg language) on Saturday.

FreshGrass 2023 on Sunday

FreshGrass 2023 on Sunday

Bruce Molsky, Tony Trischka and Michael Daves

And bluegrass icons will gather on Saturday afternoon …

Events coming up …

Find more art and performance, outdoors and food in the BTW events calendar.

Acclaimed new music ensemble Yarn/Wire will play the US premiere of 'Three Lines of Flight.' Press image courtesy of Clark Art Institute
Apr 21 2024 @ 4:00 pm
Acclaimed new music ensemble Yarn/Wire plays the US premiere of “Three Lines of Flight” by composer Patrick Higgins, a multi-movement work of adventurous new classical music.
Light plays over an acoustic guitar. Courtesy photo by viinzography.
Apr 24 2024 @ 7:30 pm
Internationally touring Atlanta, Georgia songwriter Christopher Paul Stelling performs at the Egremont Barn.
Myriam Gendron sings century-old Quebecois, French, and American ballads and traditional works. Press image courtesy of the Clark ARt Institute
Apr 26 2024 @ 7:00 pm
Born in Canada, Myriam Gendron sings classic folk forms, breathing new life into century-old Quebecois, French, and American ballads and traditional works.

By the Way Berkshires is a digital magazine exploring creative life and community — art and performance, food and the outdoors — and I’m writing it for you, with local voices, because I’ve gotten to know this rich part of the world as a writer and journalist, and I want to share it with you.

If you’d like to see the website grow, you can join me for a few dollars a month, enough for a cup of coffee and a cider doughnut. Members get access to extra stories and multimedia, itineraries a bookmark tool. Let me know what you're looking for, and we’ll explore together.

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