ISLAMORADA, Florida Keys — Three days of flavorful traditional bluegrass, old-time, “soulgrass” and Americana singing bands are to attract thousands of music lovers to the Baygrass Bluegrass Music Festival, set for Friday through Sunday, Jan. 18-20, in Islamorada.
Now in its seventh year, the three-day jam features satellite events at local spots and culminates in an all-day main event in a waterfront setting.
Friday, Jan. 18, a weekend warmup includes a Square Dancing in the Streets party at 6 p.m. in the Morada Way Arts & Cultural District between mile markers (MMs) 81 and 82, complete with a South Florida Craft Beer Garden featuring several Florida craft breweries and impromptu musical jam sessions.
Saturday, Jan. 19, a Pickin’ Party with performing musicians, barbecue and a craft beer tap takeover is scheduled at 4 p.m. at the same location. Amateur and professional pickers are encouraged to bring instruments and jam together at each of the two satellite events.
For Friday and Saturday events, a $10 donation per adult is suggested; music lovers age 17 and under are admitted free.
Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Founders Park, MM 87 bayside on Plantation Key, the weekend’s main event is as much a craft beer festival as a musical one, with over 15 Florida breweries expected to be “on tap.”
Sunday’s impressive lineup includes over 15 bands performing on two stages. Among the robust mix of returning festival phenoms are mandolinist Mike Compton, the Jakob’s Ferry Stragglers, the Walker Brothers trio, the Copper Tones, Alligator Alley, the Short Straw Pickers, and Silas Powell and the Powell Family Band.
Festival anticipation builds with newcomer acts such as the Sons of Otis Malone; the Stillhouse Shakers; Hare o’ the Dog, whose multi-instrumentalist members draw from old-time swing, bluegrass and gypsy jazz; Songs from the Road Band with Grammy Award–winner Charles Humphreys; the award-winning banjo plucking of the Barnes, Walsh & Gordy trio; and Grant Farm, featuring national flatpicking champion Tyler Grant.
Doors open Sunday at 10 a.m. Coolers are not permitted, although attendees can bring lawn chairs and blankets. Other attractions include artisan booths, food trucks and cool drinks, kids’ activities, festival souvenir merchandise and a Sustainability Village that invites festivalgoers to explore how to live a more naturally balanced lifestyle.
Advance general and VIP admission tickets to weekend events and Sunday’s all-day main event are available for advance purchase online at baygrassbluegrass.com.
Festival proceeds fund high school art, music and dance programs and scholarships as well as Islamorada Community Entertainment’s community mission.