Kids Academy shines on final day of 2023 Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival

Grey Fox Kids Academy students prepare for their star turn – photo © Tara Linhardt

Sunday at Grey Fox is the day so many folks have been waiting for… especially those young pickers in the Bluegrass Kids Academy, and their families, since this is the day they take the stage following some of the big name acts. 

The kids and their teachers work all weekend long to learn and perfect songs they will perform on stage. There is the big main group, and also a “seniors group” made up of some of the older students who might have some fancier skills. 

The Kids Academies are a great way for young players to discover the fun of playing traditional music, as well as practicing in a group setting to perform on stage in a fun relaxed atmosphere. They exist around the country, and at some different times of year, but the summer season up and down the east coast seems to be home to many, with Grey Fox having one of the bigger programs I have seen. And a very well run one at that.

The students at Grey Fox are also encouraged to busk throughout the campground with the other kids as a fun way to practice, and get comfortable playing in front of people. This practice is popular with both the kids and the fans. Some of these students go on to become fine musicians, especially once they get that thrill of having played for people who dug it enough to clap, say nice things, and/or drop money in their bucket. 

Austin Scelzo prepared this nice list of a number of programs in the northeast region for anyone who would like to try one out.

The Dry Branch Fire Squad and Joe Newberry also performed sets on Sunday. Ron Thomason of Dry Branch and his hilarious stories have become part of the Grey Fox tradition over the many years they have been the host band of the festival. 

Joe Newberry also entertained the crowds with both his music and his humor on Sunday. Apologies to all for not catching the beginning of this lovely old-timey style rendition of a familiar TV show. I am pretty sure you will recognize it after you hear a bit. Hint: The original version was not old-timey at all, but Joe brilliantly makes it work. Love it.

After his set Joe also performed along with the Kids Academy as you can see in some of the photos below.