‘Bluegrass From the Forest’ Returns as a Three-Day Outdoor Festival for Its 16th Year

Bluegrass From the Forest
Runaway Train Bluegrass Band jamming in the Campground. Photo credit: Megan White

Submitted by NW Event Organizers

Hosted by the Kristmas Town Kiwanis since 2004, Bluegrass From The Forest is returning to Shelton as an outdoor festival format September 10-12 to accommodate safe COVID protocols for attendees and performers. Camping, jamming, workshops, and national bluegrass bands have always been the hallmarks of this annual event and organizers are delighted to be gathering again in this new festival location.

Bluegrass From the Forest
Loggers Ben Booth and John Sells (about 1910) formed roots in the backcountry for Mason County’s Bluegrass from the Forest. Bluegrass bands often formed in rural areas as musicians came together to entertain for community events. Photo courtesy: Mason County Historical Museum, Shelton

Having canceled in 2020 and fearing similar indoor restrictions in 2021, organizers determined early on that, for this year at least, it was necessary to give a miss on the cushioned chairs in the Shelton School auditorium and head for more space to enjoy the event, outdoors!

“Since the event began in 2004 we have really appreciated the auditorium for main stage performances,” remarked organizer and Kiwanis member, Duane Wilson, “but to make it fun and safe for everyone it has been great to brainstorm creative additions in the new space that will make the event even better. We may decide to keep it as an outdoor event!”

The expanded camping with its forest backdrop hosts over 20 acres for families to find their own areas to enjoy the music and activities. With two stages areas, a beer and wine garden, workshops and family activities including Chick’s Kids Music Workshop, Midnight Hot Dogs and an all-ages country dance, there is plenty for everyone to do. This year the event will also have on-site dining from local food trucks as well as a breakfast, lunch and dinner menu served from the on-site kitchen.

Bluegrass From the Forest
There is plenty to do at the event as well as nearby. Consider an afternoon “riding the rails” with Vance Creek Railriders. Photo Credit: Cynthia Newman

Family Weekend Getaway

This is a fantastic event for a local camp destination with the family. Stay for one, two or all three nights of live performances and workshops and enjoy the surrounding areas like Hood Canal or the Olympic National Park and Forest during the day. Now that the roads and trails are quieter this is the ideal time to Explore Hood Canal! A weekend event pass for the whole family (two adults and up to 4 kids) is $110 and camping is just $15 a night. Camping is available Thursday through Sunday. Pack up your RV and camp chairs, you can’t get a better family weekend deal!

Bluegrass From the Forest
Chef Xinh Dwelley is renowned for her way with Northwest seafood. Xinh will be guest chef Friday at Bluegrass from the Forest. Photo courtesy: NW Event Organizers

Dinner and a Show

On Friday, September 10 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., celebrated local chef, Xinh Dwelley, will be joining the event with a fundraising dinner to support the Karen Hilburn Cancer Fund.  The meal includes barbecue plus sautéed Hammersley Inlet clams and dessert from Olympic Mountain Ice Cream. Guests can picnic in front of the stage with live music beginning at 6:30 p.m. Recently Xinh began her second cookbook she undergoes treatment for an aggressive form of cancer. Tickets are available on the Cook with Xinh website.

Bluegrass Bands From California to Montana Headline in Shelton

Main stage bands include Crying Uncle from California; True North, Kian Dye and Whiskey Deaf, and The Bar-K Buckaroos, all traveling to the festival from Oregon; Kentucky Sky from Montana; and local favorite Bluegrass band, Runaway Train. Afternoon and evening tickets start at $20 with special rates for kids and families. For a complete list of the bands visit the Bluegrass From the Forest website.

Kristmas Town Kiwanis will be following all COVID protocols in this outdoor facility. Masks are required when social distancing is not possible. Visit the Bluegrass From the Forest website for additional details or to book your tickets.

Bluegrass From the Forest
Winners of the 2018 Pickin’ in the Pines Band Contest i and selected by the International Bluegrass Music Association to perform at IBMA’s World of Bluegrass, Crying Uncle from are making waves in the bluegrass community. Crying Uncle performs Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Bluegrass from the Forest in Shelton. Photo credit: Crying Uncle
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