The festival is called the Down Home Up Here Bluegrass Festival. Passim's support of a full weekend festival is a true testament to the vibrant bluegrass/string band scene in the greater Boston area and the communities ongoing passion for the music that has roots with Joe Val, the Boston Bluegrass Union and the famed Hillbilly Ranch.
Club Passim presents Down Home Up Here, a new kind of bluegrass festival. Fourteen different acts will perform during the two-day festival. Attendees will enjoy a wide range of bands and musicians drawing on the traditional sounds and instrumentation of bluegrass while witnessing as the genre’s innovative future takes shape.
Down Home Up Here draws in large on a local string scene rich with talent, showcasing many students, alumni, and faculty from the Berklee College of Music, including Joe Walsh of the premiere bluegrass band The Gibson Brothers. Two-time Juno winner Old Man Luedecke will make a rare Boston-area appearance as part of Down Home Up Here. Other performers include Jenni Lyn Gardner of noted Boston bluegrass band Della Mae in a duo with Flynn Cohen of the Deadstring Ensemble, Joe Lurgio of the New England based Three Tall Pines and banjo-playing singer-songwriter Mark Whitaker, who appears both with his own band and as part of the Whiskey Boys. In addition, as part of the festival weekend, the Passim School of Music will present instrument-focused workshops, a guitar workshop led by Stash Wyslouch of The Deadly Gentlemen, and a mandolin workshop led by Jenni Lyn Gardner, Joe Lurgio and Ben Pearce of The Southeast Expressway.
Club Passim first opened as a jazz venue in 1958 under the name of Club 47. Shortly after it opened, the club was shut down by the Cambridge police due to local blue laws that prohibited more than three stringed instruments from being played in a place that served food and beverages. In order to return to making music, the venue obtained a non-profit educational charter and reopened as a private club where patrons became members at the door. Its reputation as an integral part of the Cambridge folk scene began when a friend of the then unknown 17-year-old Joan Baez rented the Club to give Baez a chance to get on stage. Baez quickly built a strong following and became featured regularly. It was at Club 47 that she would introduce Bob Dylan, and he would play between acts.
The Club has been a special place for both artists and audience members though the years. An intimate room that seats no more than 102 people, this space is the place where musicians like Joan Baez, Tom Rush, Peter Wolf, Patty Larkin, Regina Spektor, Josh Ritter, and Suzanne Vega started out before they began playing at larger venues. The bluegrass community is excited about the landmark folk clubs support of the music and hope to see it grow over the coming years.