The Best Folk Music Festivals of 2017

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


It’s never too early to start thinking about which folk music festivals you want to attend in the coming year. Here are some of the best ones to put on your radar.


As the temperature warms and the days get longer, many Americans begin to feel the itch for adventure. For music lovers, this often means planning a road trip to attend one of the country’s many music festivals.

While there are plenty of festivals that cater to all genres of music, there’s something special about a festival that celebrates Folk music. This genre of music is often passed down through generations, telling stories of love, loss, and hope. Whether you’re a longtime fan of Folk music or you’re just looking to expand your musical horizons, check out our list of the best Folk music festivals in the country.

Newport Folk Festival

The Newport Folk Festival is an American annual folk music festival in Newport, Rhode Island, which began in 1959 as a counterpart to the previously established Newport Jazz Festival. The folk festival present concerts by socially conscious folk singers, songwriters, and musicians. It also features workshops, discussions, and other events on the history and tradition of folk music.


RockyGrass is an annualroots music festivalin Lyons, Colorado. The three-day event features a mix of traditional and progressive bluegrass music on seven stages, plus camping, food and drink vendors, and family-friendly activities. The festival takes place in the Rocky Mountains in late July, and has been running since 1974.

This year’s lineup includes Sam Bush Band, Infamous Stringdusters, Leftover Salmon, Yonder Mountain String Band, Greensky Bluegrass, Hot Rize Reunion, Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band, Elephant Revival, and many more. In addition to the music, there are also workshops and jam sessions taking place throughout the festival.

Old Settler’s Music Festival

Old Settler’s Music Festival is one of the most well-known and beloved folk music festivals in the United States. It takes place every year in Austin, Texas, and draws in music lovers from all over the country. The festival features a wide array of folk musicians, both well-known and up-and-coming, performing on multiple stages over the course of four days. In addition to the music, there are also plenty of food and drink vendors on site, as well as a variety of activities for kids and families.

Telluride Bluegrass Festival

The Telluride Bluegrass Festival is an annual bluegrass music festival in the town of Telluride, Colorado, USA. The festival is held the second full weekend in June in Town Park. It is considered one of the premier bluegrass festivals in the world. The four-day event features a lineup of leading bluegrass musicians, as well as competitions, camping and other activities.

Wind River Music Festival

The Wind River Music Festival is a three-day event held in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. The festival features a wide variety of folk music, including bluegrass, old-time, Celtic, Americana, and more. There are also workshops, dance classes, and jam sessions. The Wind River Music Festival is held the first weekend in August.

Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival

The Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival is one of the most highly-anticipated bluegrass festivals in the United States. It takes place every July in Oak Hill, New York and features some of the biggest names in bluegrass music. This year’s lineup includes The Infamous Stringdusters, Del McCoury Band, Sam Bush Band, Hot Rize, and many more.


Now in its sixth year, the WinterWonderGrass music and arts festival has become a can’t-miss event for bluegrass fans. The three-day event features more than 30 bands on three stages, as well as locally sourced food and drink, artisans and craftsmen, and a family-friendly atmosphere. This year’s lineup includes Greensky Bluegrass, Yonder Mountain String Band, Leftover Salmon, The Infamous Stringdusters, Sam Bush Band, and many more.


MerleFest, one of the most influential music festivals in the folk world, returns for its 31st year April 27-30. The four-day event celebrates the legacy of the late great musician and songwriter Doc Watson and features a diverse lineup of over 80 artists performing on 14 stages throughout the picturesque campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Founded in 1987, MerleFest has become known as a “roots music gathering” that attracts some of the biggest names in folk, bluegrass, country, Americana, and blues. This year’s lineup includes Greensky Bluegrass, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, The Travelin’ McCourys, Railroad Earth, Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas, The Wood Brothers, Elephant Revival, Sam Bush Band, hot new band Zephaniah OHora & The Vallulations, and many more.


So there you have it: our top 10 folk music festivals of 2017. Get your tickets early, pack your camping gear, and get ready for a summer of great music and good times. And if you can’t make it to one of these festivals, don’t worry – there are plenty of other great festivals happening all over the world. So get out there and enjoy the music!

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