11th Moniaive Michaelmas Bluegrass Festival

Bluegrass, old time, americana and gospel music concerts over the weekend in beautiful Moniaive.
Instrument workshops, jamming sessions on the campsite and in hotels and a whole lot more besides.
Watch this space to see when tickets can be purchased.
When: Fri September 27 7:30 pm - Sun September 29 11:30 pm

Past Events

Reed Island Rounders & Sarah Jane Scouten in Concert

The Reed Island Rounders have long been known for not being your typical string band. Drawing from the lonesome hollers of West Virginia, the lively traditions of Kentucky’s fiddlers, their local Blue Ridge Mountains styles, and now the North Carolina sounds from Round Peak to the Piedmont, they weave archaic with sophisticated, soulful with foot-stomping, romantic with down-to-earth. The resulting tapestry is alive with texture and color, making for an invigorated dance hall, or a lively and enlightening concert.

Each a veteran of festivals, music camps, and dance circuits, Betty, Billy & Kirk choose the tunes and songs they love the best, adding a bass for dances, and bringing a unique variety of sounds to each venue.
Betty Vornbrock’s fiddle bow brings energy to dance tunes, emotion to waltzes and listening tunes, and imagination to her twin fiddle harmonies with Kirk.
Billy Cornette keeps his rock solid beat and fanciful bass runs on guitar, and is the vocal lead. Kirk Sutphin, adept in different banjo styles, frails or fingerpicks, complementing each number. His fiddling evokes his Round Peak roots, as well.

Sarah Jane Scouten
"Drawing upon traditional melodies that almost biologically are instantly singable, but combining them with emotions, sentiments and stories that are relatable even now. 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."
- Tom Power, CBC q

When: Sat February 23 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Vera van Heeringen In Concert

It's unusual to find someone who's as good a songwriter as an instrumentalist. Vera van Heeringen is that person. A consummate guitarist, highly acclaimed by her contemporaries, she brings the instrument to life in way that is entirely her own. Vera also writes songs and tunes which deliver straight to - and from - the heart. Firmly rooted in Transatlantic traditions, her original contemporary Americana showcases both these skills: firebrand instrumental virtuosity and poignant, emotionally astute songwriting.

An early starter, raised in the acoustic music scene in her native Holland, Vera has been performing from the age of 16. Vera's debut album, Standing Tall, was released in 2012 and marked a change of direction after nearly five years of touring as part of the brilliantly comedic New Rope String Band. In 2015, Vera released her second album, Proper Brew, which features a roll call of top-drawer musicians who share her musical aesthetic – amongst them Tim O'Brien, Dirk Powell, Rayna Gellert and Kris Drever. Vera's currently working on her third album.

When: Sat March 2 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

The Dirty Beggars in Concert

Spring into Spring Bluegrass weekend featuring The Dirty Beggars.

When: Sat March 30 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Pharis & Jason Romero in Concert

Talented craftspeople as well as musicians, Pharis and Jason also have a personal story that would make for a gripping feature film. Having met in California where Jason originally started his banjo-building business, they moved some years ago to Pharis’ tiny backwoods hometown of Horsefly in British Columbia, Western Canada. There they established the latest incarnation of the J Romero Banjo Co workshop on their rural homestead, working together to create an increasingly sought-after line of beautifully crafted artisan banjos. One night in June 2016, the workshop burned to the ground, turning their business, several newly built instruments and the couple’s own collection of priceless old guitars to ashes. The fire also consumed the nearby cabin where Pharis and Jason were sleeping while the adjacent house was being renovated. They escaped with their lives and their two small children. With their home and business now rebuilt, chief songwriter Pharis seems to have drawn renewed inspiration from the couple’s frontier lifestyle and supportive network of family and friends, and the new album Sweet Old Religion was recorded at their home in Horsefly.
Tickets £10 on the door or from:
When: Tue April 30 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

John Reischman and The Jaybirds featuring guest fiddler Annie Staninec

Like the powerful mandolinist and composer at its helm, John Reischman and the Jaybirds fashion a stylish take on bluegrass that seamlessly blends original songs and instrumentals with Appalachian old-time music for a truly unique band sound. Now in their 20th year, with seven acclaimed albums and two Juno nominations, the Jaybirds are simultaneously innovative and unadorned, sophisticated and stripped-down, happily old-fashioned and 21st-century contemporary.
TICKETS £12 U25's £4 from CatStrand Box Office 01644 420374
When: Sat May 4 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm

The Mairs Family Band & Longway in Concert

Longway, one of the UK’s top bluegrass bands, has played together for around 15 years, emerging from The Runaway String Band that formed in the 1980s. With powerful lead vocals, steam-engine solid rhythm and engaging stage presence these veterans of the UK festival and club circuit deliver high-energy sets that include material ranging from traditional golden era road-house standards to more recent crossover Americana. They have made several appearances at the Moniaive Michaelmas Bluegrass Festival and are Bob Stevenson (guitar), Robin Wallace (banjo), Ian Bain (mandolin) and Dougie Cairns (bass).

The Mairs family Band
All the way from Rutherglen, The Mairs Band is Alan, his wife Louise, their daughter Hazel plus some additional players. They are well-known on the Scottish Bluegrass scene for their musicality, strong vocal harmonies and wide range of material. From contemporary to trad the Mairs cover all of it.
Alan plays acoustic guitar, Louise plays double bass and Hazel plays dobro. Mandolin, banjo and fiddle can also be expected to be heard. In past times, the Band went under the name of Redwing then new Redwing to reflect line-up changes. Alan was a founder member of Old Hickory. In short, they have been around.
Formed in February of 2003, after a jam session showed them how this lineup seemed a perfect combination. They were knocked out (and somewhat taken aback) by the synergy that resulted in a hard-driving sound coupled with a bounce that we'd each individually been seeking all of our playing lives!

They have since played at most of the British Bluegrass Festivals and many Folk Club venues, as well as concerts, appeared on Radio shows and recorded two albums
When: Sat May 18 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Jason Titley & Leon Hunt

An evening in the company of Leon and Jason is a rare
treat, more a musical conversation than a rigid performance.
These old friends will most likely confound any preconceived
ideas you may be harbouring as to what these instruments
can (and should) do. As well as leaning heavily
on traditional music from the US and The British Isles, their
own compositions take on musical references from just
about everywhere else.
Tickets £10 on the door or from:
When: Wed May 22 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Lunch Special in Concert

Lunch Special is a London-based Country and Bluegrass band. Members Neala Hickey, Vivian Li, and Luca Serino have roots spreading across three continents. In 2016, the three met at a bluegrass picking in London pub, where they bonded over a passion for stringed instruments, harmony singing, murder ballads, chicken, beer, and all things American.

They play and sing traditional bluegrass classics, lesser known old songs, and also their own originals.

While they take inspiration from Appalachian music, bluegrass, and country, their diverse musical backgrounds bring together something that is their own sound.

The band has showcased for the Americana Music Association, played major festivals and recently recorded a debut EP in New Hampshire, USA.
Tickets £10 on the door or from:
When: Sat May 25 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Blue Summit (USA) in Concert

Blue Summit is a genre fluid bluegrass band that first formed in 2016. They are a remarkable group of young musicians who have grown up performing in the California bluegrass community. One of their latest achievements includes a CBA showcase at the IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) event held in North Carolina. They have been gaining traction with their unique sound, sharing their music all over the west coast. Later this year, they plan to travel overseas for the first time.

Lead vocalist and mandolinist, AJ Lee, has been recognized as NCBS (Northern California Bluegrass Society) Female Vocalist of the Year nine times. She began singing and performing on stage at the astonishing age of five. By twelve, she had begun writing her own songs and showcasing them nation-wide. AJ has traveled with many bands, including “The Tuttles with AJ Lee”, which had been featured at numerous festivals in an out of state. Now twenty-one, Ms. Lee is excited to share Blue Summit’s latest album consisting of all original material.

Jesse Fichman started playing guitar at the age of ten when he and his friends decided to form a bluegrass band. Since then, he has played in multiple bluegrass bands, multiple jazz combos, and a country band. Jesse graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in biology, and took a majority of the music classes offered there. He is a full time and original member of Blue Summit, and is studying and writing music on the side.

Sullivan Tuttle started to have an international following when he was just ten years old with a YouTube video of El Cumbanchero, which he played with his brother and sister - it now has over 1.6 million views from around the world. His musicianship was impressive at that young age and just keeps getting better. Over the last few years, Sullivan has developed a reputation for his songwriting and contemporary singing style, as well as his blazing guitar solos. He has appeared at major bluegrass festivals across the US, Canada, and has toured in the United Kingdom.

Born and raised in Northwest Ohio, Chad Bowen has been with Blue Summit since May 2018. A hardworking musician, Chad has been playing bass with numerous bands in the Bay area for almost 10 years. Music has always been a huge part of his life. Growing up he played piano, guitar, and sang in choirs. Eventually he gravitated to the double bass where he finds himself today smiling big, holding down the low end and those sweet harmonies.


When: Sun June 2 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Man About A Horse in Concert

There are all sorts of technical terms for good bluegrass music that I can’t really describe. But what I am certain about is that it’s not all good, so when I find bluegrass that gets to that “next level,” it’s really great. Man About a Horse is one of those contemporary bluegrass bands that seems to reflect the best of the old school genre. They breath new life into a classic art form.

It seems like oftentimes bluegrass vocalists feel the need to sound like Bill Monroe. Instead, the vocalists in Man About a Horse sound like people living in the 21st century. The art just feels real. “It’s my heart I don’t need if I don’t have you…” It’s a timeless sentiment delivered wonderfully.

When: Sun June 30 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Summer Instrument Workshops & Concert

This year’s Summer Workshops will be led by the highly talented and immensely popular Bluegrass Band The Often Herd , winners of the 2018 European Band contest at the La Rochel Bluegrass Festival , plus Bertie Armstrong of Holly & The Reivers

The Often Herd will also perform in Concert on the Saturday evening.

For further details and tickets:
When: Sat July 13 10:30 am - Sun July 14 4:30 pm

Tim Eriksen in Concert

The former frontman of the prophetic groups Cordelia's Dad (folk-noise), Northampton Harmony (shape-note quartet) and Zabe i Babe (Bosnian folk and pop), Tim Eriksen is the only musician to have shared the stage with both Kurt Cobain and Doc Watson, and his media appearances have ranged from Prairie Home Companion to the Academy Awards. Having graduated from early shows at punk mecca CBGB, Tim's more recent performances have included his Carnegie Hall debut as a soloist in Even Chambers' symphonic work "The Old Burying Ground" and two week-long stints at the Blue Note Jazz Club with Omar Sosa. In the studio, he has worked with producers including Joe Boyd, T-Bone Burnett and Steve Albini.
TICKETS: £10 on the door or from:
When: Sun August 11 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Bill & The Belles

With their enchanting debut album, Dreamsongs, Etc., Bill and the Belles have captured the freewheeling, lighthearted approach to music that has endeared them to listeners of every generation. With a spirited sound that falls somewhere between old-time country and vaudeville, the group puts its own spin on a golden era of music, specifically the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.

“We like old music and some of us are consumed by it,” says lead singer and guitarist Kris Truelsen with a knowing laugh. “But we don't have a desire to copy it. We want to sound like ourselves and tell our story.”

As a result, a majority of the material on DreamSongs, Etc., is original, from the upbeat number, “Wedding Bell Chimes,” through the yearning ode to youth, “Back to My Childhood Days.” While Truelsen’s distinctive tenor anchors the project, the Tennessee-based band’s trio harmonies gleam against a backdrop of banjo, fiddle, accordion, ukulele, and clarinet.

“The title seemed appropriate in that a lot of the songs are about dreaming for something better, better days, better lovers, better whatever it may be,” Truelsen says. “Not to mention many of the songs we chose to sing are about the sentimental dreamer.”

The band takes its name from Bill and Belle Reed, performers from the 1920s who recorded the songs “Old Lady and the Devil” and “You Shall Be Free” in Johnson City, Tennessee.
When: Sun August 25 7:30 pm - Fri August 23 10:00 pm