With so much to do, see, and hear, your average festivalgoer is liable to get overwhelmed (in a good way) at Huck Finn Jubilee — especially if you’ve got the family with you. At the end of the day, everyone’s experience will be different, depending on their tastes and energy.
The Huck Finn Jubilee organizers have begun to rollout the lineup and activities for this year’s festival, so here is an list of the must-see highlights so far.
Tickets & Preparation
If you have to buy only a one-day ticket to Huck Finn Jubilee, Saturday may the best (I’m really excited to see Ricky Skaggs—one of my favorite artists of all time!). But to really enjoy Huck Finn Jubilee, it’s best to experience the entire three-day adventure. The $125 price for the three-day pass may seem steep at first, but considering the sheer number of performances and attractions, it’s actually a great value.
I covered some Festival Dos and Don’ts in a prior post, so refer to those rules if you’re a live music neophyte. Print out a custom schedule and map before you leave home to maximize your enjoyment and minimize confusion. There will most likely be schedules available on site, but it helps to have a reference of who you want to see and when so you can be time-efficient.
The Must-See Acts
The music is the heart of the Huck Finn Jubilee, so start planning your itinerary based on the acts you want to see.
Sierra Hull – Friday, 2:45 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
As evidenced by performances like this one – Sierra Hull – Someone Like You, Sierra Hull aims to bridge the gap between modern pop music and bluegrass. She has the fresh-faced look of a pop star, but don’t be mistaken—this young girl has chops. If her soulful voice doesn’t blow you away, her mandolin playing certainly will.
Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn – Friday, 4:30 p.m.- 6:00 p.m.
Alone, these two artists are musical juggernauts. Together, their unique styles blend seamlessly to create gorgeous, almost haunting harmony. I’m looking forward to watching them share the stage on Night 1, just as the sun begins to set.
Del McCoury Band – Friday, 8:45 p.m.-11 p.m.
Wrap up the night by witnessing what any Del-Head could tell you will be one of the most ferocious displays of musicianship you’re ever likely to see. The man himself, along with his incredible band, will not disappoint.
Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen – Saturday, 10:15 a.m.-11:15 a.m.
Yet another example of the magic that can happen when intrepid young players and veterans collaborate, Dirty Kitchen has it all. I’ve seen firsthand what a thrilling show these guys put on, and I’m sure they’ll bring their A-game for Huck Finn.
Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder – Saturday, 2:45pm-4pm
Ricky Skaggs is one of my favorite bluegrass artists. Make sure to catch his set if you want to see a master class in mandolin, vocal performance, and sheer enthusiasm for bluegrass and country music.
Jeff Austin Band – Saturday, 6:30pm-8pm
Jeff is truly a mad genius. Watch in awe as he practically sets his mandolin on fire, making some of the most impassioned (and hilarious) faces and having the time of his life. It’s truly infectious.
Keller Williams’ Grateful Grass – Sunday, 4:30pm-6pm
Not just for Grateful Dead fans, Keller Williams’ energetic and loving tribute songs always get fans dancing and singing along. Get in the crowd and get moving!
Greensky Bluegrass – Sunday, 6:30pm-8pm
Long after the weekend is over, it’s this group’s unforgettable songs that you might find yourself humming. And they’re no slouches on the strings either.
Leftover Salmon – Sunday, 8:45pm-10:45pm
If the last set of Huck Finn ’15 is the weekend’s grand finale, there’s no better band to headline than Leftover Salmon. It won’t just be a concert—it’ll be a party. So make sure you save up some energy for one last hurrah.
The Early Bird Catches the Worm
Whether you want to pull yourself out of bed at 4 a.m. is up to you, but it’s definitely a good idea to arrive early. You’ll have to contend with traffic (both cars and people), you may have to pick up tickets (if you chose Will Call), you’ll want to stake out a good spot in front of the stage, and you’ll want to catch those early acts—that is, unless you value sleep over bluegrass!
Don’t Forget to Wander
The music is definitely the highlight of Huck Finn, but don’t glue yourself to the stage. Take a paddleboat ride or cast a fishing line in the expansive lake with the kids. And, keeping with Huck Finn Jubilee tradition, enjoy some old-fashioned fun like the pie eating contest or the tomahawk throw. Huck Finn Jubilee can be whatever you want it to be—a family-friendly adventure or a weekend with the adults. It’s all in how you plan it!
Photo Credit: huckfinn.com