Missouri, the heartland of the United States, boasts a rich musical heritage, particularly when it comes to bluegrass music. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, attending bluegrass festivals in Missouri is a fantastic way to experience this toe-tapping, soul-stirring genre of American folk music. This guide will walk you through the top bluegrass festivals in the state, along with helpful tips and links to make your musical adventure truly unforgettable.
- Silver Dollar City’s Bluegrass & BBQ Festival (Branson)
Held annually in May, the Bluegrass & BBQ Festival at Silver Dollar City in Branson is a must-visit event for bluegrass enthusiasts. This multi-day festival combines the best of bluegrass music with mouthwatering BBQ, making for a truly unique and delicious experience. With over 60 bands performing across several stages, there’s no shortage of fantastic music to enjoy. Visit the Silver Dollar City website (https://www.silverdollarcity.com/) for more information on the lineup, tickets, and accommodations.
- Plan to arrive early, as parking and seating can be limited.
- Bring a comfortable folding chair or blanket for outdoor seating.
- Wear comfortable shoes and sunscreen, as the event takes place mostly outdoors.
- The Old Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival (West Plains)
Taking place in June, the Old Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival in West Plains is a celebration of traditional Ozark culture, including bluegrass music. This free, two-day event features multiple stages with live music, workshops, and demonstrations of traditional crafts. Be sure to check out the festival’s website (http://www.oldtimemusic.org/) for information on the lineup, schedule, and nearby accommodations.
- Don’t miss the square dancing and clogging performances.
- Bring cash for the crafts and food vendors.
- Consider volunteering at the festival for a behind-the-scenes experience.
- Starvy Creek Bluegrass Festival (Conway)
The Starvy Creek Bluegrass Festival takes place twice a year, in July and September, in the picturesque town of Conway. This family-friendly event has been entertaining bluegrass fans for over 40 years and features a stellar lineup of local and national bluegrass acts. With on-site camping available, this festival is perfect for a weekend getaway. Visit the Starvy Creek Bluegrass Festival website (https://www.starvycreek.com/) for more information on tickets, camping, and the artist lineup.
- Reserve your camping spot early, as they tend to fill up quickly.
- Attend both the summer and fall festivals for a different lineup of artists.
- Bring your instrument for impromptu jam sessions around the campsite.
- Hootin an Hollarin Festival (Gainesville)
Held in September, the Hootin an Hollarin Festival in Gainesville is a three-day event that celebrates the Ozarks’ heritage with bluegrass music, folk dancing, and more. With a focus on traditional music and crafts, this festival offers a unique, family-friendly experience. Don’t miss the parade, the fiddle contest, or the various workshops on offer. Visit the Hootin an Hollarin Festival website (https://www.hootinanhollarin.com/) for more information.
- Check out the festival’s craft booths for unique souvenirs.
- Attend the fiddle contest to see some incredible talent.
- Bring a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated throughout the day.
- Pickin’ on Picknic (St. Clair)
Pickin’ on Picknic is an annual bluegrass and camping festival that takes place in July at the Lost Hill Lake Resort in St. Clair. This four-day event offers a mix of bluegrass, Americana, and roots music, along with a variety of workshops, food vendors, and recreational activities. With a beautiful lake as its backdrop, Pickin’ on Picknic is perfect for those who love both music and the great outdoors. For more information on tickets, camping, and the lineup, visit the Pickin’ on Picknic website (https://pickinon.com/pickin-on-picknic/).
- Book your camping spot early, as the prime locations fill up quickly.
- Don’t forget your swimsuit to enjoy the lake and swimming area.
- Pack insect repellent and sunscreen for a comfortable experience.
- Mountain Music Festival (Jefferson City)
Mountain Music Festival, held in September at the Binder Park in Jefferson City, is a weekend-long event that showcases a wide range of musical genres, including bluegrass, country, and folk. Along with live music, the festival offers family-friendly activities such as hayrides, a petting zoo, and a blacksmith demonstration. For more information on the Mountain Music Festival, visit their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/jeffersoncitymountainmusicfestival/).
- Bring lawn chairs and blankets for comfortable seating.
- Check the weather forecast and dress accordingly.
- Take advantage of the free parking available on site.
- Bluegrass in the Bottoms (Kansas City)
Bluegrass in the Bottoms is an annual two-day festival held in the historic West Bottoms district of Kansas City. This urban bluegrass experience features a lineup of top-notch bluegrass bands, local food trucks, and craft beer. With both indoor and outdoor stages, this festival offers a unique and intimate atmosphere. Visit the Bluegrass in the Bottoms website (https://www.bluegrassinthebottoms.com/) for information on tickets, the lineup, and nearby accommodations.
- Explore the West Bottoms district for unique shopping and dining options.
- Stay in nearby hotels or Airbnb accommodations to fully enjoy the festival experience.
- Be prepared for varying weather conditions, as the festival takes place both indoors and outdoors.
Missouri is home to a vibrant bluegrass music scene, with festivals that cater to a wide range of tastes and preferences. From intimate urban events to weekend-long camping adventures, there’s something for everyone. As you plan your visit, make sure to follow the tips provided in this guide and use the provided links to ensure a memorable bluegrass experience in the Show-Me State.