Kiwigrass is New Zealand’s own national festival of Bluegrass Music. It is produced by the Kiwigrass Trust, a non-profit association of bluegrass musicians and supporters in New Zealand, with help and guidance from the Australasian Bluegrass and Old Time Music Association of Australia (ABOTMA). The festival aims to present performances of bluegrass music, related workshops, and opportunities for attendees to share with each other through jamming and picking sessions. The event is entirely run and resourced by volunteers.
In 2020, Kiwigrass will be held at Lake Karāpiro, at the Mighty River Domain in Cambridge, Waikato, from 31 January – 2 February, 2020.
Cambridge is close to Hamilton, an easy 2 hour drive from Auckland airport, and a 6 hour drive from Wellington. Kiwigrass encourages bluegrass musicians from all regions of New Zealand to apply to perform.
Here are the 2020 Kiwigrass artists:
|Lonely Heartstring Band (US)
AJ Lee and Blue Summit (US)
Bluegrass Parkway (AU)
Nine Mile Creek (AU)
Jean-Luc Leroux & Friends (New Caledonia)
Bluegrass & Beyond (NZ)
The Down Underdogs (NZ)
The Hamilton County Bluegrass Band (NZ)
|Hot Diggity (NZ)
Kaimai Express (NZ)
Melling Station Boys (NZ)
The Pipi Pickers (NZ)
Rhode Works (NZ)
Valley Bluegrass (NZ)
Wires and Wood (NZ)
You, Me, Everybody (NZ)
The festival is also hosting an Academy prograkm this year. This is a unique opportunity to take in the knowledge and experience of top international players.
The Kiwigrass Academy is modelled on examples like the RockyGrass Academy, which have proved so successful at the most popular festivals in the United States. For the first time, you can benefit from this level of instruction at a New Zealand festival without shelling out thousands of dollars for airfares.
You don’t have to be an advanced player, everyone will be alongside participants of similar experience. However, you will need to have a basic familiarity with your instrument to join the novice stream which will be separate from the other players.
Getting to meet, jam, and perform with other like-minded musicians over two full days will be one of the biggest rewards when you participate in the Kiwigrass Academy.
Academy Instructors for 2020 Festival are:
- Guitar: George Clements, Sully Tuttle, Jesse Fichman
- Banjo (3 finger Bluegrass): Gabe Hirshfeld, Paul Trenwith
- Mandolin: Maddie Witler, AJ Lee, Paul Duff
- Fiddle: Patrick M’gonigle, Jan Purat, Maria Duff
- Bass: Charles Clements