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Line-up for this year's SpringGrass Bluegrass Festival announced!

22 Mar 24
by Nathon Jones

Sarah Jane Scouten performs on Saturday 18th May

Over 17th-19th May 2024 we welcome the very best in UK & International bluegrass acts for the 3rd annual SpringGrass Bluegrass Festival at The Vault Arts Centre, Newton Stewart, and what a line-up it is this year featuring The Black Denims, Rain of Animals, Sarah-Jane Scouten and The Often Herd!

Throughout the weekend there will be exhilarating concerts, workshops and tuition facilitated by the performing artists and a weekend of picking and jam session opportunities.  We'll also be adding some new features to the programme this year including an acoustic open stage afternoon so you can perform to this year's audiences.

The Black Denims
The Black Denims are Scotland’s newest country supergroup. With an expanse of 8 members, hailing from disparate musical backgrounds, the band manages to blend the disciplines of Jazz, Blues, Bluegrass, Folk, and Country into their story telling lore. Each member brings their own set of skills and accolades, with some stretching as far as winning the prestigious ‘BBC’s Young Musician of the Year’ award, to studying and then teaching at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. The band also were awarded BBC’s ‘Single of the Week’ for their latest release ‘Ain’t All Roses’ which features a string quartet arrangement by Liam Shortall (corto.alto). Their main focus is songwriting and dipping their toes into untrodden musical paths. The dirtier the path, the better.

Their first extended play release ‘Grateful For Small Mercies’ debuts on 5th March and is one third of 3 acts set to be released this year.
With traditional bluegrass instrumentation, alongside jazz piano accompaniment, the band have a very diverse sound, which is present in their enigmatic and energetic live performances.

Rain Of Animals
Rain Of Animals is the euphonious collaboration between Pepita Emmerichs (Oh Pep!) and Theodore Barnard (Wire & Wool) and their love of all things mandolin, fiddle, guitar, harmony vocals, bluegrass, oldtime, swing, tunes and songs. Spanning originals to arrangements of classics and gems of rarities you wish you had discovered earlier, their sound is both new and old, unique in it's instrumental wizardry and musical integrity all at once.

The Often Herd
Bluegrass band The Often Herd transcend the traditional boundaries of the genre. Although they might resemble an American string band, complete with driving energy, tight vocal harmonies and dazzling instrumental interplay, their vibrant, transatlantic sound is deeply coloured by their surroundings; the striking natural and industrial landscapes of Northern England. This unique approach won them the title of “Best European Bluegrass Band 2018” at the prestigious La Roche Bluegrass Festival in France.Rupert Hughes (guitar) and Evan Davies (mandolin), write songs steeped in personal experience whilst drawing from a wide pool of influences ranging from old-time to psychedelia. American-born fiddler Niles Krieger and jazz bassist Sam Quintana add fiery instrumental skills to the mix, launching the band’s arrangements into the stratosphere. Together, their sound is both boldly contemporary and soothingly familiar, taking time-honoured traditions to new places with a fresh perspective.The band have an impressive number of festivals booked this Summer (including The Long Road, Broadstairs Music Week, Ely Folk Festival & Priddy Folk Festival) and have previously showcased at IBMA Bluegrass Ramble and Americana Music Week, Hackney. They released their debut album ‘Where The Big Lamp Shines’ in June 2022, recorded with producer Tom Moore (Slow Worm Records, Moore, Moss, Rutter).

“A study in virtuosity from a supremely talented group of musicians.” NARC

“Traditional, inventive, tight and sharp…  for those who think they don’t like bluegrass this could be the point they change their minds.” FolkWords

Sarah Jane Scouten
In March 2020, Canadian folk & country artist Sarah Jane Scouten was living in rural Scotland. With tours cancelled, days stretched endlessly, punctuated only by the steady unfolding of Scottish springtime, leaf by leaf, petal by petal. Growing up on the west coast of Canada, to her the flora of Dumfries and Galloway was a pageant of scent and colour, altogether new but still strangely familiar.

This is where Sarah Jane was initiated into herbal medicine – hawthorn, valerian, yarrow. The plants’ subtle power drew her onto an unexpected path. In May 2020 she applied to a professional programme in herbal medicine in the UK. Training in an entirely different field gave her perspective and space from a career in music which demands everything. It renewed Sarah Jane’s love of live performance, which had been diminished by life on the road. Studying herbs, and just as importantly people, gave her music a deeper dimension and she began to write again. Now for the first time this decade, she is releasing new music.

Sarah Jane Scouten’s upcoming fifth album Turned to Gold (Light Organ Records) is a road trip album, drawing on Tom Petty, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris and Christine McVie. Opening up the record, “Wanderlust” is a highway dream. “Wilder When I Was With You”, with its irresistible chorus, was co-written with Samantha Parton (BeGood Tanyas). “Rose and Carnations” is a tribute to John Prine and “The Great Unknown” reveals a family experience of medical assistance in dying (MAID). For the title track “Turned to Gold”, Sarah Jane revisits the impact of the sudden loss of her biological mother, exploring the theme of alchemical transmutation. Made in a heatwave in Vancouver, she collaborated with producer Johnny Payne (The Shilohs), Matt Kelly on keys and guitars (City and Colour), Leon Power on drums (Frazey Ford) and James McEleney on bass (Andrew Collins Trio).

Sarah Jane Scouten has been nominated for 4 Canadian Folk Music Awards, a Western Canadian Music Award and an International Folk Music Award. She has performed at Vancouver Folk Music Festival, MerleFest, Calgary Folk Music Festival, Salmon Arm Roots and Blues, Dranouter Festival, Maverick Americana Music Festival and more. She has opened for Corb Lund, William Prince, Ron Sexsmith, The Sadies and shared the stage with Martha Wainwright, The Strumbellas, Allison Russell, Martin Carthy, Mandolin Orange (Watchhouse) and more. According to CBC q’s Tom Power, "Stan Rogers was able to do it, Ron Hynes was able to do it, Kate McGarrigle was able to do it – and Sarah Jane Scouten is able to do it."

Friday 17th May 2024
2pm - Picking/Jam Sessions - The Vault Arts Centre
7pm - The Black Denims + Rain of Animals - Festival Marquee

Saturday 18th May 2024
12noon - Workshops (tba) - Festival Marquee & The Vault Arts Centre
2pm - Acoustic Open Stage - The Vault Arts Centre
4pm - Picking/Jam Sessions - The Vault Arts Centre
7pm - The Often Herd + Sarah Jane Scouten - Festival Marquee

Sunday 19th May 2024
12noon - Workshops (tba) - Festival Marquee & The Vault Arts Centre
2pm - Picking/Jam Sessions - The Vault Arts Centre

The weekend is family friendly (under 12s are free), musicians are very welcome and all ages and abilities are catered for so please make sure you don't miss one of the best bluegrass/Americana/old time festivals in Scotland and book today for a fantastic weekend in Galloway!

You can save £5 per person with a Weekend Pass:
SpringGrass Bluegrass Festival 2024 - Weekend Pass - £25 (over 25) / £20 (25 & under) / Under 12s Free

SpringGrass Bluegrass Festival - Weekend Passes

In Other News

Singing Session with Jim Bainbridge this weekend!

Join Jim Bainbridge and his wife Francie on Sunday 7th April at 2pm for an afternoon of songs from all genres and a chance for singers, accompanied or not to add to the welcoming musical tradition of The Vault Arts Centre!  

3 Apr 24
Charlie McAdam

Line-up for this year's SpringGrass Bluegrass Festival announced!

Over 17th-19th May 2024 we welcome the very best in UK & International bluegrass acts for the 3rd annual SpringGrass Bluegrass Festival at The Vault Arts Centre, Newton Stewart, and what a line-up it is this year featuring The Black Denims, Rain of Animals, Sarah-Jane Scouten and The Often Herd!  

22 Mar 24
Nathon Jones

Trust switching to Ticketsource

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22 Mar 24
Nathon Jones

Trad Music Trust

The 10th annual Newton Stewart & Minnigaff Traditional Music & Dance Festival takes place over the 12th-14th July 2024. It's an incredible achievement. The charity has created a viable, sustainable, event that continues to grow and develop, proudly celebrating the very best in traditional Scottish, Irish and World music. Make sure you book early for what is shaping up to be the biggest event yet!

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