Following the success of its inaugural year, the Coastal Virginia Bluegrass & Brews Festival will return to The American Theatre in Hampton, Va. Jan. 25-27 for a weekend featuring the some of the nation’s biggest bluegrass groups, including Richmond’s own Jackass Flats, and a variety of local beers that represent the region’s growing craft brewery scene.
Opening the festival Friday night is the Los Angeles based band Dustbowl Revival. This eight-piece group that has been making a name for itself over the last 10 years with a vibrant mix of vintage Americana sounds. Since Signature Sounds released their last album, With a Lampshade On, the Dustbowl Revival has been out on the road, winning over audiences with their free-flowing, joyous live performances. The Dustbowl Revival found a bigger audience when the ensemble release With a Lampshade On in 2015. The video for “Never Had To Go,” starring band fan Dick Van Dyke, became an Internet sensation.
Rolling Stone’s Rob Sheffield hailed them as a great band “whose Americana swing was so fun I went back to see them again the next day,” and the L.A. Times said their “upbeat old-school, All-American sonic safaris exemplify everything shows should be: hot, spontaneous, engaging and, best of all, a pleasure to hear.”
On Saturday, the Grammy Award-winning Steep Canyon Rangers return to The American Theatre for the second night of the festival. Formed in 2000 while students at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, the group gained wider recognition in 2009 through their collaboration with comedian Steve Martin. The group has released two albums with Martin in addition to nine solo albums.
Of their latest, Out in the Open, NPR’s Jewly Hight said “Rather than idealizing memories of people and places as an abiding source of comfort, the songs illustrate how the passage of time, accumulation of experience and changing of perspective can alter a person’s relationship to the familiar.”
Closing the festival Sunday afternoon is Richmond’s Jackass Flats, a crowd favorite on the bluegrass, Americana, and world music scenes. The award-winning group boasts a repertoire of original music and covers ranging from Bill Monroe, Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson to the Grateful Dead and The Rolling Stones.
Stacey Zering of the quarterly music journal No Depression said the group “radiate a somewhat quirky vibe that echoes the clash of classic country and world music.” Of their 2011 album Rusty Feeling, the Zering said the group is “simultaneously faithful to their bluegrass while subscribing to an indie aesthetic which allows them to reel in both the young and old.”
Local libations will be provided by Bull Island Brewing Company, The Oozlefinch Craft Brewery, St. George Brewing Company, Sly Clyde Ciderworks, and Caiseal Beer & Spirits Company.
Tickets for the Coastal Virginia Bluegrass & Brews Festival are $35 and can be purchased online at theamericantheatre.org or at the American Theatre box office located at 125 E. Mellen St., Monday through Friday from 10am to 2 pm. Tickets can also be purchased at the Hampton Coliseum box office, Monday through Friday, from 10am to 5pm.
Located in Hampton’s historic town of Phoebus, The American Theatre is easily the coziest, most intimate venue in Hampton Roads. With a capacity of 388, there isn’t a bad seat in the house. The 111 year old theatre offers patrons a chance to witness a diverse array of award-winning, highly acclaimed artists in an up-close-and-personal setting at a price that is almost too good to be true.
Festival at a glance:
Friday, January 25, 2019 | 8pm
Steep Canyon Rangers
Saturday, January 26, 2019 | 8pm
Sunday, January 27, 2019 | 3pm