FLORIDA BLUEGRASS FESTIVALS

By  Mike Miller  Updated January 20, 2023

Bluegrass music touches the heart and soul of people from all nations and origins.

It is based on the folk music brought to America by our earliest settlers from Northern Ireland, Scotland, Ireland and England.

Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys at the Florida Folk FestivalBill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys at the Florida Folk Festival

These settlers over the years moved into North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

Many formed small isolated communities in the Appalachian Mountains. 

They brought songs of their heritage along with them, and created new ones as well.

Early Group Inspired Bill MonroeEarly Group Inspired Bill Monroe

The music evolved over the years to incorporate the sounds of gospel music, African blues, and folk songs from other cultures.

Mainstream America quite often derided this music as mountain music or hillbilly music.

Bill Monroe is considered the godfather of bluegrass music by most of its fans.

Lester Flatt and Earl ScruggsLester Flatt and Earl Scruggs

He first appeared on the Grand Ole Opry in 1939 and after Earl Scruggs joined his group in 1945, the music took on the distinctive sound we now call bluegrass.

Bill Monroe's instrument was the mandolin, and he was accompanied by expert banjo, guitar, and fiddle players.

For many years I have attended the annual Florida Folk Festival at Stephen Foster State Park in White Springs.  This was my introduction to bluegrass as it is enjoyed in Florida.

Over the years hundreds of bluegrass groups have formed in Florida and it is getting easier each year to find a place to enjoy listening to this magic music form.

When I lived in heavily urbanized South Florida some years ago I was surprised at how many weekend bluegrass events there were down there.

There are also many restaurants and bars that now feature bluegrass as their entertainment.

Concert at Florida Folk FestivalConcert at Florida Folk Festival

Many communities in Florida feature bluegrass music festivals in local parks where you can bring your lawn chairs and just sit and enjoy the music.

Many fans bring their smart phones and other mobile devices to record the music performances. A lot of these local videos show up on Youtube.

You can enjoy a local group jamming at Fort Christmas in the video below.

The Florida State Bluegrass Festival is held each year in Perry, Florida.

It is a three day event that features hundreds of bluegrass groups entertaining thousands, many who bring their entire family and come as campers.

There are dozens of events in Florida that take place at scheduled times, many on an annual basis. Some examples are:

  • Sertoma Thanksgiving Bluegrass Festival, Dade City
  • Florida Bluegrass Classic, Brooksville
  • Everglades Bluegrass Festival, North Miami Beach
  • Rodeheaver Boys Ranch Festival 
  • Honeymoon Island State Park Bluegrass Festival
  • Spring Palatka Bluegrass Festival, Palatka
  • Withlacoochee River Spring Festival, Dunnellon
  • Suncoast BBQ & Bluegrass Bash, Venice

There are many event websites devoted to Florida Bluegrass festivals and events.  Here is one you will find useful. 

Bluegrass County Festival Calendar

SOME FLORIDA BLUEGRASS BANDS

There are many good bluegrass bands in Florida that the whole family can enjoy.  Most of their websites have photo galleries and sample videos.

Here are a few of our favorite Florida bluegrass bands:

Alligator Alley, Hollywood

Andy Burr & Friends, Winter Garden

Banjo Cats, Jacksonville

Brad Edwardson Music, St. Augustine

Cassia Community Club, Lake County

Florida Flatlanders

Florida State Bluegrass Band

Gypsy Wind, Largo

Penny Creek Band, Melbourne

Rambling String Band, Hollywood

Remedy Tree, St. Augustine

Sandy Back Porch, Orlando

Shade Tree Pickers, Boca Raton

Wireless Bluegrass, Port Orange


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