Upcoming DCBU Events
SAVE THE DATE! The 7th DC Bluegrass Festival will be held March 9 & 10, 2018, at the Tysons Sheraton Hotel. Visit dcbluegrassfest.org for tickets.
We’re pleased to announce that the lineup will include the Tim O’Brien Band, the Gibson Brothers, the Becky Buller Band, the Molly Tuttle Band, Jeff Scroggins & Colorado, Mile Twelve, Circa Blue, FY5, and Only Lonesome. Updates on the schedule and workshops coming soon!
Enter the Mid-Atlantic Bluegrass Band Competition and take the stage at the festival! Competing bands perform Saturday morning at the festival for a chance at $1300 in prizes, an afternoon set on the main stage, and free hotel rooms for Saturday night. All competing band members receive full Saturday admission with their entry. Click here to enter.
The Hazel Dickens Song Contest celebrates the life and muse of one of bluegrass music’s most beloved songwriters. From hardscrabble beginnings in West Virginia coal country in 1935, Hazel moved to Baltimore, MD as a young woman to find factory work and quickly connected with local musicians. She started performing throughout the Baltimore/Washington region and was soon recognized for her singular mountain singing style and her gift with a lyric.
Hazel wrote of coal miners, unionization, hard times, feminism and much more. She recorded several albums with duo partner Alice Gerrard in the 1960s and 1970s and went on to release four records as a solo artist. Among her best known songs are Won’t You Come and Sing for Me, West Virginia My Home, Few Old Memories, and Mama’s Hand. Hazel was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship in 2001 from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her life came to a close in 2011 following complications from pneumonia.
In honor of her legacy as a groundbreaking songwriter, the contest seeks to bring attention to the finest in original bluegrass songwriting. Top prize $500 and a performance at the 2018 DC Bluegrass Festival, 2nd prize $250, 3rd prize $100. The contest closed for entries on January 5, 2018; winners will be announced on February 15. For complete information and results, visit http://dcbu.org/hazel-dickens-song-contest/.
Congratulations to the winners of the inaugural 2017 Mike Auldridge Instrumtal Contest! Hear the winning songs at http://dcbu.org/mike-auldridge-contest/.
The winners are:
1st Place: Meet the Metro Gnome by Jim Millward, Washington, DC
2nd Place: Mysterious Eyes by Keith Arneson, Bowie, MD
3rd Place: Goodbye Lianne by Gina Clowes, Winchester, VA
Master musician and friend Orrin Star passed away on the morning of November 29, 2017. Orrin was a mainstay of the DC bluegrass community. Before that he was based in Brooklyn and earlier, Boston. Orrin was the 1976 national guitar champion and authored several highly respected flat picking instruction books and videos. He toured regularly across the US. Orrin was also a monster table tennis player and an avid contra dancer. We will miss his dry humor, hot licks and singular way of being in the world.
As of June 20, 2017, Bluegrass Country ceased broadcasting on 105.5FM in the DC area. The station can still be heard on 88.5FM HD channel 2 and streaming online at www.bluegrasscountry.org. The digital signal is both better quality and reaches a much larger broadcast area. Find out more about how to listen here.
What is the DC Bluegrass Union?
The DC Bluegrass Union is an all-volunteer, 501(c)3 non-profit organization serving Washington, DC and surrounding areas in much of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. It is an area historically rich in bluegrass music’s development, and we strive to help inform, educate, connect and broaden its very active community of performers, fans, venues and promoters. Resources for all of them are found on this website. Our other activities include open jams, performances, and our annual DC Bluegrass Festival. Learn more on this website, on Facebook, and on Twitter — and welcome!