JoeVember hoping to launch in 2018

By now most of us are familiar with the use of crowdfunding sites to raise money for all sorts of uses. In the music world, we see artists and bands create campaigns to fund new recordings, tours, and even travel vehicles. People have also used them to set up financial assistance accounts for family members, friends, or notable folks in the community who have medical needs, and these sorts of sites have been generally accepted as a means of raising money online.

But today we learned of a new use for this platform, to gauge interest and raise funds to launch a bluegrass weekend event in the Boston area later this year.

Set to be billed as JoeVember, this would be a three-day indoor “non-festival” at the Sheraton Inn in Framingham, MA which hosts the annual Joe Val Bluegrass Festival each February. Organizer Tony Watt is calling it a non-festival since it will be totally focused on jamming and instructional workshops for pickers, with no accompanying stage show.

Tony is a prominent bluegrass instructor in Boston, and a long time Board member of the Boston Bluegrass Union, which manages the Joe Val festival. He has also served as the Education Co-Director for Joe Val, which offers many instructional opportunities in connection with the festival, and has hosted a number of similar “no-concert” workshop weekends in the region.

While JoeVember won’t be officially operated or endorsed by BBU, it also takes inspiration and its name from the great Joe Val, perhaps the northeastern United States’ most prolific and highly celebrated bluegrass artist. 

Tony has set up a crowdfunding campaign page at Indiegogo to offer early pre-registration for the first JoeVember weekend, with the understanding that if they don’t raise the projected $7,000 for their goal, no one will be billed and the event will not go forward. But with nearly $1,400 raised already, and the campaign running through the Joe Val festival weekend ending February 18, it seems likely that they will hit their goal and hold the first jamming and workshop weekend just before Thanksgiving 2018 (November 16-18).

The early registration offer can be redeemed for a $50 pledge, with other options like adding a t-shirt or a donation to their scholarship fund also available. They even have a chance to attend a VIP dinner during JoeVember ’18, or to purchase a sponsorship package in the various choices at Indiegogo.

Watt put this video together to explain the concept and request pledges and donations.

This sounds like a fun weekend for pickers and fans alike, and a great way to bit a fond farewell to the bluegrass season and  head into the holidays each year.

See all the details at

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.