Schedule Page

Stay Tuned as we update the 2018 Schedule.  If you have a question or comment about the schedule please e-mail us at mail@shepherdsford.com

Monday September 17

The park is closed to all campers on Monday September 17 only. Park will let people into the Festival starting at 9 am Tuesday morning.
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Tuesday Sept. 18

9 am Park opens The Park will begin letting people into the Festival starting at 9 am Tuesday morning.
 Early arrival camping in the park
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Wednesday Sept. 19

Early arrival camping in the park.
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Thursday Sept. 20

4:00-4:45 pm Johnny Bluegrass and the Porta-John Pickers Main Stage: Winners of the “2017 Watermelon Park Fest Band Contest more info T.B.A
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5:00-6:00 pm The Plate Scrapers Main Stage: The Plate Scrapers originated in 2014 in western Maryland the way any good bluegrass band does: from a bunch of fellers pickin’ around in a circle, surrounded by delicious plates of food, strong libations, and good friends.
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6:15-7:15 pm The Eastman String Band Main Stage: Soaring harmonies, high energy instrumentals, and heartfelt originals punctuate each performance of the Eastman String Band. Tim and Savannah Finch began playing music together at the Friday night jams once held at Tims’ music store, “Good Deale Bluegrass” in Deale, Md.
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7:30-8:30 pm Richie and Rosie Main Stage: Before joining forces, Richie and Rosie were well-established within the old-time community. Rosie has toured with multiple bands, including an appearance while she was in high school with folk-rock band The Mammals.  Richie has performed internationally with bands like Bela Fleck, Pete Seeger, David Byrne, Billy Bragg & Wilco, Old Crow Medicine Show, and Joan Baez. He is the President of the iconic GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance.
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9:00-10:30 pm Billy Strings Main Stage: The reaction to Billy Strings tends to come in two varieties: “Who is this guy?” and “That kid can play!” Raised in Michigan and based in Nashville, Strings — real name William Apostol — learned music from his father, who had learned it from his father, and his father before him. Maybe that’s why at 24, Strings’ songs, his articulation, his entire approach, sounds so authentic and steeped in tradition.
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10:30-midnight pm The Woodshedders Dance Tent: “The Woodshedders bring the influence of vintage American music forward in its songwriting. The band is known for fun, dance-able shows that swerve between different genres to create exciting original sounds.”
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Friday Sept. 21

Noon- 1:00 pm Mike Ward slow Jam Dance Tent: T.B.C.  Let’s Pick, again! Check out this popular workshop and join Mike Ward in a jam session for players of all ages and skill levels, but especially geared toward beginners. Learn the unspoken rules of playing in an open circle jam. This workshop will focus on playing and singing classic bluegrass tunes at a moderate pace for all to enjoy.
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1:00-2:00 pm Pollinators Seed Balls w/ Stacey Sinclair Kids Tent: T.B.C.  Mix wildflower seeds into a ball that will be flung in the 4:00 Seed Fling.
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1:30-2:30 pm Mile 12 fiddle/ Banjo workshop Dance Tent: More info T.B.A
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1:30-2:30 Yoga with Jen Stone (Upper concert area) T.B.C., Jen has been teaching yoga since 1999 all ages, all abilities, all hearts. Enjoy her Hatha Yoga Flow class in the grass by the river, a Watermelon Festival treat. www.inner-sun-yoga.com
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2:00-2:30 pm Frazer Story Telling Time Concert Lawn: T.B.C.  Join Frazer for to hear and share stories
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3:00-3:45 pm  Barn Dance in the Dance Tent: Richie and Rosie and guest players provide the music, Kim Forry provides the calling, you provide the dancin’ feet. Let’s kick up some dust.
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3:00-4:00 pm  Mountain Ride Main Stage:  In just three years, Mountain Ride evolved from playing traditional bluegrass, to writing, recording, and performing their own original music. Eric Avey (guitar) and Kate Avey (bass) started Mountain Ride as a side project to cure their bluegrass bug. Once Scott Matlock (violin) and Corey Woodcock (banjo) joined the ranks, things started to sync up. When Chance Hurley (mandolin) jumped on board, there was no denying that they had something special.
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4:00-4:45 pm Bela Fleck Dance Tent: The recipient of Multiple Grammy Awards going back to 1998, Béla Flecks’ total Grammy count is 14 Grammys won, and 30 nominations. He has been nominated in more different categories than any instrumentalist in Grammy history.
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4:15-5:15 pm Kaia Kater Main Stage: African-Canadian roots phenom Kaia Kater couldn’t have come on the scene at a better time. As a new generation takes the reins, American roots music is needed more than ever to remind us of the troubled pathways of our own history. Born of African-Caribbean descent in Québec, Kaia Kater grew up between two worlds: one her family’s deep ties to Canadian folk music in her Toronto home; the other the years she spent learning and studying Appalachian music in West Virginia.
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5:00-6:00 Watermelon Jack-O-Melon Dave and Lisa Coe (Kids Tent) Kids are invited to come carve a Watermelon Jack-O-Lantern for their campsite. Carving tools and tea lights provided. Please note that watermelons will be provided for this event on first come, first-served basis. Feel free to bring your own watermelon to ensure participation in this event. This event is brought to you by Mountain Media Systems, LLC:
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5:45- 6:45 pm Mile 12  Main Stage:  Mile Twelve is a fresh, hard driving young band beautifully walking the line between original and traditional bluegrass. Fast gaining recognition for their outstanding performances in bluegrass and folk circles, Evan Murphy, Bronwyn Keith-Hynes, Nate Sabat, BB Bowness and David Benedict write captivating songs and daring instrumental pieces from diverse influences. Banjo luminary Tony Trischka says, “Mile Twelve is carrying the bluegrass tradition forward with creativity and integrity.”
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6:45-7:15 pm Kaia Kater Riverside Stage Stage: African-Canadian roots phenom Kaia Kater couldn’t have come on the scene at a better time. As a new generation takes the reins, American roots music is needed more than ever to remind us of the troubled pathways of our own history. Born of African-Caribbean descent in Québec, Kaia Kater grew up between two worlds: one her family’s deep ties to Canadian folk music in her Toronto home; the other the years she spent learning and studying Appalachian music in West Virginia.
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7:15-8:30 pm Bela Fleck Main Stage: The recipient of Multiple Grammy Awards going back to 1998, Béla Flecks’ total Grammy count is 14 Grammys won, and 30 nominations. He has been nominated in more different categories than any instrumentalist in Grammy history.
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8:30-9:00 pm Those 3 guys Riverside Stage: More info. coming
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9:00-10:30 pm Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives: Main Stage: For over forty years, the five-time Grammy winning multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, photographer and historian has been building a rich legacy at this very crossroads. His teenage years on tour with bluegrass legend Lester Flatt in the ’70s were followed by six years in Johnny Cash’s band during the ’80s and a chart-topping tenure as a solo artist in the ’90s.
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10:30-Midnight  The Way Down Wanderers Dance Tent:  Equal parts fast-paced and soulful, 5-piece modern-folk Americana act, The Way Down Wanderers, draw listeners in with energy, originality and soulful generosity. “The Way Down Wanderers combines folk with boy-band appeal: a quintet with gorgeous vocals, instrumentals, some dreads and a whole bunch of youthful energy.”
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Saturday September 22

 

11am- Noon  The Ingramettes Dance Tent. This will be the band you do not want to miss! Brought to you by the Virginia Folklife Program. More info. on Bands page.
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Noon-1:00 Fairbuilt Guitar and Eastman Mandolin Picking Contest (Side Stage) Enter to win a spankin’ new Eastman Mandolin, Cash, and a side stage slot during the height of the festivities! CLICK HERE for more details.
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Noon- 1:00 Yoga with Anna Billman T.B.C ( Main Stage Area, near the river) Take the opportunity to connect with breath, body, mind, and each other. All levels Hatha (physical) practice will include some awakening stretches, connecting breath to movement, and a creative flowing sequence, finishing with relaxation.
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Noon- 1:00 Flatfoot & Clogging Workshop with Jan Scopel T.B.C (Dance Tent) The award-winning, energetic and charming Jan Scopel is back sharing his skills flatfooting (a shuffling softshoe style) and clogging (powerhouse floor whacking). Get out those shoes and learn how dancing is done, mountain-style.
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Noon-2 Watermelon Boat Float Build Kids Tent. – Kids & adults; EVERYONE at the festival is invited to come eat & build a watermelon boat for this years annual boat float! Please note that watermelons will be provided for the kids then the adults on a first come first-served basis. Feel free to bring your own watermelon to ensure participation in this event. This event is brought to you by Mountain Media Systems, LLC.
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1-3 pm Band Contest Riverside Stage. Watch and vote for your faves as bands battle it out for the $1600 in prizes and brief Main Stage set from the winning band on Saturday night. CLICK HERE for more details
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2 pm Watermelon Boat Float Concert area. Float Plan on getting wet and being in the river to participate in this event. We will head to the river to launch boats at approx. 2:15 pm
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3:00-3:45 Molly Tuttle Dance Tent : Molly Tuttle is the 2017 winner of the I.B.M.A Guitar player of the year. A virtuoso multi-instrumentalist and award winning songwriter with a distinctive voice, Molly has turned the heads of even the most seasoned industry professionals. 
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2:30-3:00 Watermelon Tie-Dyed Shirts with Michael Duffy TBC (Kids Tent) Watermelon Tie-Dye Bring a white or light-colored tee shirt and make a work of art fit for the Fest.
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3:00-4:00 Hoot and Holler Main Stage. Hoot and Holler are the sum of two parts: guitarist Mark Kilianski and fiddler Amy Alvey. Each are songwriters dedicated to honing their craft, both equally influenced by wordsmiths like Gillian Welch and Townes Van Zandt as they are to authentic mountain musicians like Roscoe Holcomb and Ola Belle Reed. 
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3:30-4:00 Instrument petting zoo w/ Stacey Sinclair T.B.C (Kids Tent) Come check out all the string instruments w/ Stacey Sinclair of the Split String Soup band and see what strikes your fancy.
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3:45-4:20 Jeff Austin Dance Tent: Jeff Austin is a mandolinist and singer best known for being a part of the Yonder Mountain String Band. Come catch a few warm up tunes and tales before the main stage set.
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4:00-4:15 Announce the contest winners Riverside stage. Join Contest Coordinator Tara Linhardt as she announces the winners of the Band and  Eastman/Fairbuilt Guitar and Mandolin picking contests. Check the Schedule below to watch the winners perform.
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4:15-5:15 Furnace Mountain Main stage: Join the Host Band for an afternoon set, for some some fine Fiddlin, songs and Dancing as they will most likely be Joined by Megan Downes and the City Stompers. Band Consists of  Aimee Curl on bass and vocals, Danny Knicely on mandolin and fiddle, Dave Van Deventer on fiddle, and Morgan Morrison on guitar, bouzouki, and vocals. Come say hi after our set in the merch tent.
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5:15-5:45 Picking Contest Winners Riverside Stage: Listen as the winners of the Fairbuilt Guitar Contest and the Eastman Mandolin picking Contest team up for the first time (most likely) and demonstrate their hot picking skills.
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5:45-6:45 Molly Tuttle Main Stage: Molly Tuttle is the 2017 winner of the I.B.M.A Guitar player of the year. A virtuoso multi-instrumentalist and award winning songwriter with a distinctive voice, Molly has turned the heads of even the most seasoned industry professionals.
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6:45-7:15 Band Contest Winners Riverside Stage:  Come check out the winners as they show their stuff. Remember the name and come see them open up Watermelon Park Fest in 2019.
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7:15-8:30 The Jeff Austin Band Main Stage: Jeff Austin is a mandolinist and singer best known for being a part of the Yonder Mountain String Band. “Jeff Austin blew the crowd away with his standout, electro-driven bluegrass…Austin and his bandmates have reinvented Americana music in a way that moves the genre forward.” jambase.com “Jeff Austin blew the crowd away with his standout, electro-driven bluegrass…Austin and his bandmates have reinvented Americana music in a way that moves the genre forward.” jambase.com
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8:30-9:00 The Nessie Expedition Riverside stage. The Nessie Expedition was the one of the leading bluegrass music band in Tokyo area, formed in 1973. The Band believes “Solid and Hard driving beats“ with “High lonesome sound” led by Bill Monroe is the most essential in this music.
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9:00-10:30 Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder Main Stage:Ricky Skaggs is an eight-time CMA award winner with 15 Grammy wins who picked up his first mandolin at the age of five. By age 10, he had already shared the stage with bluegrass legends, Flatt & Scruggs.
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10:30-Midnight  Western Centuries Dance Tent:  It’s a sound whose defining sensibility is its reverence for American roots music in all its incarnations. With three principal songwriters, things could get a little disjointed, but it’s that shared passion that makes their forthcoming album Songs From the Deluge a captivating listen from start to finish.
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Sunday September 23rd

1pm- 2:30 The Chris Jacobs Band Dance Tent: Cris Jacobs’ 2016 album Dust to Gold snuck up on everyone, quietly announcing itself as one of the best roots-soul records in a year that also produced a new album from Sturgill Simpson. It’s the second solo LP from the Baltimore-based singer and guitarist, who cut his teeth as the frontman for jam band the Bridge before striking out on his own. He earned an opening slot with Simpson himself on the strength of his 2012 debut Songs for Cats and Dogs, and, though similarities between the two artists are hard to ignore, he has a singular voice all his own, one that should have him headlining his own gigs soon enough.-Rolling Stone_