We are very sad to announce that given the current rise in the number COVID-19 infections in Victoria and NSW and the restrictions that are likely to remain in place now for some time all over Australia, we are cancelling this year’s Mountaingrass festival.
While we are disappointed with having to cancel this year our primary concern is for the safety of everyone attending the festival and everyone involved in putting it on including staff at the George Kerferd Hotel. We also want to make sure that you are all in good shape for Mountaingrass 2021. Aside from this it would be very difficult for us to run a financially viable Mountaingrass 2020 if we are required to abide by social distancing rules that limit our numbers inside venues.
Performers: Offers made to performers made for the 2020 festival will remain valid for 2021.
Memberships: Any ABOTMA memberships renewed since Mountaingrass 2019 will be rolled over to 2021.
Accommodation bookings: If you have booked accommodation in Beechworth and you no longer need it, please contact the provider asap so that they can fill the rooms or camp sites.
However, we are hoping that if things have improved by November that it may be possible to have in weekend in Beechworth anyway to catch up with friends, have a pick, and enjoy a weekend exploring the region. Let’s hope so!
In any case we hope to see you all back at Mountaingrass 2021!
Please stay safe everyone.
The 2020 Mountaingrass Team
July 21, 2020
✭Listening Through the Lens review of Mountaingrass 2019✭
Reviewed by Kimberley Wheeler
✭A huge thank you to all the people who proudly brought you Mountaingrass in 2019✭
ABOTMA Executive committee
Evan Webb, Linda Maxwell, Susan Boothroyd and Helen Ludellen
Mountaingrass Festival Organiser
Cole Clark Guitars – Miles Jackson
Alexander Bell Sound Studios
Other Sponsors and supporters
Gerald Pink picks, Chip Bragg, Madam PC, Big Tree T Shirts;
Australian Bluegrass.com; Comedy Hypnotist Gerard V; PBS-FM.
Raffle Prize Donors
Cole Clark guitars for the guitar for 1st prize, and Chip Bragg for the hand-made guitar the guitar; John Boothroyd for the pack of CDs; Evan Webb for Rocket U87 Condenser Microphone; Jenine Arbarbanel and the team at Kiwigrass for the double pass to next year’s Kiwigrass festival; and Gerald Pink for the banjo picks and home-made beef jerky.
Programming and program schedule
Mark Pottenger, Evan Webb
Print program layout
Midnight Skyracer (UK); South Carolina Broadcasters (USA); Mike & Ruthy (USA); Sonoran Dogs (USA); Jenny Lester (Canada); Seventh State (NZ); Whoa Mule (NSW); Willing Ponies (NSW); Nine Mile Creek (VIC); Strzelecki Stringbusters (VIC); The Stetson Family (VIC); The Cherry Pickers (SA); Jammalong (ACT); Slim Dime (VIC); Greater Glider Stringband; New Holland Honeyeaters (TAS); Crooked Road (SA); Crow Mountain (NSW); The Lyrebirds (NSW); The 3 Jimmies (NSW); The Burning Bridges (VIC); The Kissing Cousins (VIC); Bluegrass – Made in Taiwan; Jose & the Amigos (VIC); John Boothroyd (VIC);
Nigel Lever: Bluegrass Mandolin – Beginner
Jackson Cunningham: Old Time Mandolin – Intermediate
Peter Somerville: Old Time Banjo – Beginner
Tony O’Rourke: Bluegrass Guitar – Beginner
Miriam & Naomi Jones: Old Time Fiddle – Beginner
Evan Webb: Ragtime & Blues Mandolin
Charlotte Carrivick: Bluegrass Guitar – Intermediate
Isabel Grundy/Bec Humphreys: Twin Fiddle in Bluegrass
David Sheppard: Old Time Guitar
Laura Carrivick: Dobro
New Holland Honeyeaters: Shape-Note Singing
Jenny Lester: Vocal Harmony
Ian Alexander: The Banjo of Wade Ward
Ruth Ungar: Old Time Fiddle – Intermediate
Mike Merenda: Travis-picking Style for Guitar
Eleanor Wilkie: Double Bass
John Boothroyd: Two-finger Banjo Style
Tabitha Agnew: Bluegrass Banjo – Intermediate
Mark Miracle: Bluegrass Mandolin – Intermediate
Pete Denahy: Bluegrass Fiddle – Intermediate
Ivy Sheppard: Old Time Banjo – Intermediate
Dick Brown: Bluegrass Banjo – Beginner
Willing Ponies: Bluegrass Ensemble Playing
Sunday morning Gospel Concert co-ordinator and MC
Walk-up Stage Manager
Acoustic Concert Manager
Jammalong – Jamming for Beginners
Jammalong ACT – Dianne and Michael Porter
Harold Whittaker Room: Mark Woods
Bijou Theatre: Bruce Packard
MHAS Concert room: Keith and Carla Rea
Arbor Bar & Restaurant: Andrew Clermont
Video: Ricky Pannowitz
Photographer: Ian Fisk
Matt Nagle, Anne-Maria Plevier, Ross McInnes, Patricia Glazier, Sue Webb, Roy Webb, Sigrid Christiansen, Ray Lakeman, Keith Lugton, Linda Harrison, Max Amos, Judy Roesbery, Laurie and Linda Grundy, Lindsay Clapperton, Jenine Arbarbanel, Stephen Mills, Marilyn Chipperfield, Jim Chipperfield, Deborah Peter, Stephen Peter, Vanessa Roche, Philip Flanagan, Debbie Griffiths, Patrick Griffiths, Geoff Wright, Judy Wright, Irma Lachmund, Lee Goodall, Beth Perry, Andrew Ryan, Ingrid Jenkin, Loretta Waters, Andy Paterson, Rud Nielsen, Gurli Nielsen, Anne Baker, Marion Kaiser, Julie Cain, David Williams, Leonard Cohen, Peter Jackson, Michael Whelan, Mary Whelan.
Registration Desk and Merchandise
Karita Brokenshire, Michelle Wilton
Luthiers and stall holders
Laurie Grundy, Ray Black, Joe Gallagher, Chip Bragg, Alan Funk
George Kerferd Staff
Chris Nuck and the rest of the staff.
Mayday Hills Art Society
Christine Cansfield-Smith and Wendy Stephens.
From the local community
George Fendyk, Geoff Brown from Asylum Ghost Tours, and Chris and Tim from Wangaratta Sound and Lighting and the Mayday Escape Rooms.
Jen Land: graphic design and assistance with the website.
PBS 106.7 – Jan Dale – Southern Style
Linda Maxwell – newspaper and radio
If we have missed mentioning you on this list, please accept our humble apologies. But, do drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know so that we can acknowledge you.
photo of Midnight Skyracer thanks to Steve Errol
✭Winner of the ABOTMA Young Performer Grant (2019): Amy Ryan✭
Amy attended Mountaingrass 2018 with her father Andrew, following up on her musical experience at the Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass Festival, where she hung out and played songs with Rhodeworks (last years recipients of the grant).
Here are a few of the musical milestones achieved by Amy in the past year.
December 2018 – performed at “Bluegrass Sunday” – an event held the family property in Chambers Flat, QLD, along side The Sonoran Dogs, The Nahuysen Brothers Band and Russ and Glen Carson.
December 2018 – The Australian Bluegrass Conference, Amy was the Youngest student to Ever attend The Conference. The faculty was so impressed with Amy during the workshops that she was invited to Perform up on stage and close out the final night concert with them all. They placed her centre stage on top of an amplifier and she led, playing guitar and singing with, Mustered Courage, Peter and Mark Nahusen , The Sonoran Dogs, Russ Carson (Ricky Skagg’s banjo player), his father, Glen Carson, with Bruce Packard from Victoria.
January 2019 – Amy competed at Tamworth in the Battle of the Bluegrass in Tamworth Town Hall against the likes of Paddy Montgomery and Tommy Chandler. Then she made it through to the Final of the Coca Cola Battle of the Young stars, performing Kristy Cox’s bluegrass song “Right Where You Left It”. At Pete Denahy’s Bluegrass Breakfast, Amy played and sang with Pete, Aron and Montz, then after being called back, did a solo performance.
Whilst at Tamworth Amy Spent time Jamming with, Paddy Montgomery, Tommy Chandler and Daniel Watkins. [ She was So Happy ]. Amy was also very fortunate that after connecting with Kristy Cox and her Band, [Dave Pendley and Griff Martin] that they travelled to Queensland to Amy’s home. There was many a Jam Session in the following days. The highlight came when Amy was asked to come up and sing with Kristy during a house concert. Kristy has since invited Amy and her family to stay at her home in Nashville, TN. She would like to show Amy the town and take her to some bluegrass Events.
April 2019 – Amy Joined the Redlands Modern Country Music Club and commenced practicing with the Redlands Bluegrass Boys at their social events.
April 2019 – Amy was invited by the Convener of the Boyne Valley Country Music Campouts to perform at their event in Ubobo, Central Queensland, with the Owl Valley Bluegrass Band -the headline act. The whole event went very well and Amy was asked to perform a second time. This was filmed by the CAMPR outdoor television Program and features Amy in their production.
April 2019 – Invitation received to return and perform as a paid artist at the 2020 Boyne Valley Country Music Campout.
May 2019 – Performed with Allen and Tom, [RBGB] at the Redlands Modern Country Music Festival,
June 2019 – received invitation from Don Jackson, from Bay FM Radio Station in Redland Bay, QLD, for Amy to record her first EP, in their studio, for free. This is part of a program run by the station to foster young talent.
June 2019 – Amy performed at the Australian Pedal Steel Convention With Hall of Fame Pedal Steelers, Paddy Long, Christchurch NZ, and Milton Quackenbush from Texas USA.
June 2019 – Amy played at a fund-raising event hosted by the comedian, Col Elliot. She once again joined Owl Valley Bluegrass on stage for this event.
June 2019 – Amy received an invitation to perform at the inaugural Australian ‘Dolly Parton’ Convention. This is scheduled for April 2020.
July 2019 – Amy opened for Catherine Britt, playing with Peter and Mark Nahuysen. Catherine then asked Amy to join her to play guitar with her for three songs during her show.
The last year has been very busy for Amy. To her credit, she has taken it all in her stride and is cruising along nicely. Amy is looking forward to reconnecting with the Sonoran Dogs this year at Mountaingrass The whole band are very good instructors and they have been an important influence in bringing Amy to where she is today.
Special mention must also be made of the Jammalong crew, who at last years Mountaingrass festival, were very kind and nurturing to Amy.
Their understanding and demeanour had a significant impact on Amy when she had doubts about going on the main stage for the first time.
ABOTMA is delighted to support Amy through the provision of the Young Performer Grant 2019.
✭2019 Mountaingrass raffle results✭
The first prize winner of the magnificent guitar from Cole Clark Guitars and guitar strap made by Chip Bragg was Heather Cuthbertson!
Our other winners were: 2nd prize: double season pass to Mountaingrass 2020: Ron Milton;
3rd prize: 10 CD pack: Peter Hale;
4th prize: Double season pass to Kiwigrass 2020: Angela Child;
5th prize: Condensor microphone donated by Evan Webb: Ross McInnes;
6th prize: set of banjo picks and beef jerky made by Gerald Pink: Phil Hamer.
Congratulations and a huge thank you to all of our donors and everyone who supported Mountaingrass by buying a raffle ticket!
✭Mountaingrass Tickets on sale August 1st✭
Tickets will be available for online purchase on the website from August 1st. There is a small increase in the price from last year due to increased costs in running the festival. I hope that will support us with your presence at Mountaingrass and enjoy the amazing music and ambience that we all love.
✭International Acts Mountaingrass 2019✭
✭ Midnight Skyracer (UK) ✭
IBMA Momentum Award nominated bluegrass band, Midnight Skyracer have been tearing up the UK bluegrass and folk scene since their inception less than two years ago. Their all star lineup and exciting live performances have sent them racing skywards at an astounding pace right from the start, with Leanne Thorose’s powerhouse vocals and driving mandolin; Tabitha Agnew’s sweet voice and virtuosic banjo playing; Eleanor Wilkie’s rock solid bass grooves; Laura Carrivick’s flair, being equally adept on both fiddle and dobro; and twin sister Charlotte’s agility on the guitar, with both sisters filling in the vocal harmonies.
“…these varied aspects of their musical personalities contribute to the greater good of a band playing for the song, for the singer, for the music.”
Alison Krauss & Union Station
In just over a year of performing they have racked up an impressive number of major festival slots including Cambridge Folk Festival and Fairport’s Cropredy Convention, completed a tour of Germany and Switzerland as well as two UK tours. In February 2018 they released their critically acclaimed debut album, Fire. Most recently, the band became the first UK band to gain recognition in the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Momentum awards with a nomination for best band as well as Tabitha receiving a nomination in the instrumentalist category.
✭ Mike & Ruthy (USA)✭
When it comes to chemistry, Mike Merenda and Ruth Ungar have plenty to spare. Onstage, they are Mike + Ruthy, a husband-and-wife duo setting the indie-folk scene ablaze. Singers and storytellers, poets and parents, the two tour with their children in tow, embodying a down-home approach to Americana. Bouncing between festivals and intimate venues, these troubadours bring harmony-driven fiddle and banjo tunes to more than 100 shows a year. Road-tested material such as the pair’s celebrated reharmonizing of Woody Guthrie’s “My New York City” cement Merenda and Ungar’s status as a “national treasure,” according to peer Anaïs Mitchell. Merenda is a prolific songwriter, who’s recent crowd-pleasing piece, Sunshiner, was nominated for an International Folk Music Award for Song of the Year. It is an ode to renewable energy which simultaneously honors the past and looks to the future with the sing-along lyric, “Yes my Daddy was a miner, but I’m gonna be a sunshiner.” Ungar’s unique vocal style ranges from “a capella” balladry to earthy soul and country. She was raised in a folk music family and learned the fiddle at a young age. Her father is fiddler/composer Jay Ungar, best known for his composition Ashokan Farewell which she also enjoys performing.
✭ The South Carolina Broadcasters (USA)✭
“I’d like to think that if AP Carter had had more time to think about it and work things out, the Carter Family would have been singing like the Broadcasters.” — Tim O’Brien
The Broadcasters tour constantly through the Southeast. And with each release, they become tighter, somehow closer to reaching the heart of the music they obviously love. The harmonies are crisp. The playing is tight. The music is raw and raucous, heartfelt and beautiful. They are the South Carolina Broadcasters, and they are what is great about old time music.” — Dan Schram, Hopscotch Music Festival
The South Carolina Broadcasters are about as perfect an old-time trio as you’ll ever hear. And “Short Time to Stay Here” is a brilliant recording, with instruments providing luxuriant atmospheres for the trio’s riveting lead and harmony singing. ” — Jack Bernhardt, Raleigh News & Observer
The Broadcasters bridge their cross-generational gaps by course of talent – shared, divided, rehashed and revised – impelling some sort of experiential collision: through aching and dismay, transcendence and hope, noise and silence, body and soul, their interpretations seem to suggest that we are together, all of us, Southern children going forward at top volume. ”— Colton Wooten, Raleigh News & Observer
Clear, powerful playing. Great singing. Respect for the past, all the while setting the bar high for musicians of the future. Strong music.” — Joe Newberry
✭ Sonoran Dogs (USA)✭
Formed in 2011, The Sonoran Dogs have exploded upon the bluegrass scene! They have performed and headlined many festivals and concert venues in the Southwestern US, touring as far as Australia, from Melbourne to Brisbane and beyond. The “Dogs” are made up of seasoned veterans who have come together to enjoy bluegrass music and friendship, often times adding one or more “strays” on fiddle, dobro and even accordion! With every show, The Sonoran Dogs play with expertise, often improvising and showcasing original songs, traditional and contemporary music as well as an eclectic mix of Bluegrass, Folk, Americana, Celtic, and Newgrass.
✭Artists confirmed Mountaingrass 2019✭
✭ Strzelecki Stringbusters ✭
The Strzelecki Stringbusters (The Stringbusters) is a 13 piece string band featuring guitar, mandolin, banjo, ukulele, fiddle, double bass and harmonica. The group plays many styles of music from bluegrass and western swing to country and the blues. The band members live, work and play in the hills around the Strzelecki Ranges in Victoria’s Gippsland. They play a large number of local events in support of their wider community. The Stringbusters are also a regular feature at the Yinnar Hotel where they host a night of music and often feature local and visiting international acts.
✭ New Holland Honey Eaters (TAS) ✭
✭ Crooked Road (SA) ✭
PHILL PARKER (Guitar, vocals)
Phill has worked with many bands over the past 40 years playing acoustic guitar and singing harmony and lead vocals in the folk, country and bluegrass traditions. Recently Phill focussed on bluegrass, playing with Highly Strung in the 90s and then with Bridgeland Brothers Band and more recently Old South Bluegrass Band in the past decade. Crooked Road offers him the opportunity to do more song writing and contemporary acoustic music with a very fine group of musicians.
ANDREW HOOK (Mandolin, guitar, vocals)
Andrew immersed himself in the bluegrass genre in Melbourne in the late seventies, playing with The Rank Strangers and Paul Wookey. Since moving to Adelaide in the early nineties Andrew has focused on bluegrass and acoustic music, initially with Dingo Ridge and Grass Roots and most recently with Old South Bluegrass Band.
DAVE TAYLOR (Vocals, double bass)
Dave, born in the UK was fed a diet of Beatles, Stones, Pacemakers and all manner of 60s pop, before being musically awakened by the sounds of Daddy Cool, Chain, Axiom and their peers, following his migration Down Under. In 2007 he joined a community choir, and began playing and singing country/folk, bluegrass and retro pop. An invitation to join Old South Bluegrass Band laid out Dave’s musical path.
LEONARD COHEN (Vocals, dobro)
Leonard has played guitar and sung since his childhood in New Zealand. He sang in choirs, musicals and moved into folk and bluegrass in the 60’ when he began playing professionally with the Hamilton County Bluegrass Band before migrating to Australia. Leonard played solo and later with The Skillet Lickers before putting performance aside for some years. Joining Old South Bluegrass Band led him back to bluegrass, country and folk and Crooked Road gives Leonard room to experiment with creating an original vocal and instrumental sound.
✭ Slim Dime (VIC) ✭
“They also doff their hats to traditions and they clearly know and appreciate their musical antecedents….. Her voice is melodious and his playing very accomplished, making their work look effortless as do the best performers. The harmonies are sweet and nuanced, like the A.P. Carter vocal drift to and from the microphone that they use.” – Live Review Mountaingrass 2018 – Listening Through the Lens
“Slim Dime is a set of contradictions. It’s a 21st-century urban Australian hip duo whose musical choices are anachronistic & old-fashioned. Its instrumental work is simple yet produces alarmingly brilliant flashes. Sure, Jen & Chris have chemistry on stage but it’s reined in tight-until suddenly, passionately, it’s not. Contradictions. There’s a line Slim Dime tread when performing the sentimental and simplistic songs of the old-time repertoire; too straight and it would be cloying, too hip and it would be disrespectful. To make their live performances perfect would require only an audio overlay of the crackle, scratch, and clicks from an old 78 record. Or, you could do it in your head as you watch.”
– Leonard Cohen (2017)
Slim Dime are an acoustic duo featuring old-time mountain sounds, seamless harmonies and some mighty-fine pickin’. They make music that sounds as though it’s always existed somewhere on a mountaintop. Their material is both original songs and traditional songs made new. They reference the old time and bluegrass repertoire and write original compositions with mesmerising storytelling and precise musicianship with a broad emotional range. It’s music that makes you lean in and listen. Slim Dime are Jen Land on acoustic tenor guitar and vocals and Chris Taylor on acoustic guitar, banjo and vocals. Jen Land’s voice tells stories with nuance and emotion. Chris Taylor’s playing is intelligent and idiosyncratic. The songs talk of lives lived and lessons learned, of sorrows and of loss, but there is redemption too, and even joy. They journey through a country and folk music landscape of mountain shadows and careworn folks and beauty found in unlikely places.
‘Mary Jane’ included on the ABOTMA Women in Stringband Music Compilation CD – 2017
✭ The Lyrebirds (NSW) ✭
Banjo/Vocals: Jenny Shimmin
Fiddle/Vocals: Danielle Vita
✭ The 3 Jimmies (NSW) ✭
The 3 Jimmies consist of a Scot, an Englishman and a token Australian. Jimmy Rush and Nigel Lever had been playing for many years with the well-known bluegrass band Acoustic Shock when they met up with Quentin Fraser, who was part of the Wollongong bluegrass scene. All three players discovered a common love for playing fiddle tunes on guitar and could often be found at folk festivals picking until their fingers bled. At some point in time they decided that it would be a good idea to present bluegrass flat-picking guitar as The 3 Jimmies. Mandolin is occasionally ‘allowed’, as is the occasional Hank Williams song, and even some great Dobro. All three members of the band have been playing together in bluegrass lineups over the past 20 years, including Karen Lynne, Acoustic Shock, 3 Marketeers, The Willing Ponies… the list goes on. (Yes, we know there’s only one band member named Jimmy – a mere technicality).
✭ABOTMA Raffle 2018 Winners✭
First Prize – Mandolin made by Eastman valued at $2899 – Maureen Beggs
Second Prize – Zoom H2n portable audio recorder & APH-2n Accessory Package valued at $399 – Greg Tedder
Third Prize – Double season pass to next year’s Mountaingrass. Value: $300- Dave O’Doherty
Fourth Prize – Set of Gerald Pink picks and a couple of bags of Gerald’s famous beef jerky. Value: $100 – Kel Lain
A huge thank you to all of our non winners for supporting Mountaingrass.
✭Listening Through the Lens Review of Mountaingrass 2018✭
Listening Through the Lens, an online music magazine, promoting alt. country, blues, bluegrass, folk, americana, rock, gospel and soul reviewed Mountaingrass 2018, the move to Beechworth, some of the performances and gave an overwhelmingly positive verdict! All accompanied by gorgeous photos.
Images: Jim Jacob & Words: Rob Dickens