Lake photo by Lola Sherstobitoff
Nestled in the pines on the shores of Medical Lake, Washington, the Blue Waters Bluegrass Festival is quite possibly the best summertime bluegrass experience in the Northwest. Since its inception in 2002, Blue Waters has brought some of the biggest names in bluegrass music to the Inland Northwest. With it's pristine location, warm Eastern Washington summer weather, stellar lineup of world-class and regional bands, and bargain-basement price, it's no wonder folks all over the Northwest Bluegrass scene are buzzing about us!!
Blue Waters is an inclusive and family-friendly event. Children under 12 are free with parent or guardian!
Blue Waters is a 501(c)-3 nonprofit organization run entirely by volunteers. Our budget is small and depends heavily on the contributions of sponsors and individuals. By becoming a "Friend of the Festival" you can help us keep the cost affordable for other festival-goers and the entertainment quality high for future festivals. Just click the button below to get started.
If you would like information about becoming a corporate sponsor, please contact us at bluewatersbluegrass at gmail dot com.
Saturday - 9:00pm, Sunday - 4:00pm
(FRONT): Jan Purat: fiddle, AJ Lee: mandolin, Scott Gates: guitar
(REAR): Chad Bowen: bass, Sullivan Tuttle: guitar
AJ Lee & Blue Summit are the new bright stars of the West Coast bluegrass scene. The band made their first appearance in Santa Cruz in 2015, and since then have received awards from the Northern California Bluegrass Association, the FreshGrass Festival, and most recently, a momentum award from the International Bluegrass Music Association. Led by singer, songwriter, and mandolinist, AJ Lee, the bluegrass band has performed all over the world, but finds home in California’s Bay Area.
The latest full length project, I’ll Come Back, debuted August 2021 - with national touring in support of the record ongoing. Although falling loosely under the bluegrass label, AJLBS generally plays sans banjo, with Sullivan Tuttle and Scott Gates on steel stringed acoustic guitars, AJ on mandolin, Jan Purat on fiddle, and Chad Bowen on upright bass - a configuration effectively used to create unique space and texture in the arrangements not as commonly found in the music of their peers. Drawing from influences such as country, soul, swing, rock, and jam music, the band uses the lens of bluegrass as a vessel through which to express and explore the thread that binds and unifies all great music.
Friday - 9:00pm, Saturday - 3:30pm
Tony Furtado: banjo, slide guitar, vocals
Luke Price: fiddle
Sam Howard: bass
Very few musicians of any stripe so personify a musical genre as completely as Tony Furtado embodies Americana roots music. Tony is an evocative and soulful singer, a wide-ranging songwriter and a virtuoso multi-instrumentalist who mixes and matches sounds and styles with the ﬂair of a master chef (he’s also an accomplished sculptor, but that’s another story).
”A native of Pleasanton, California, who now makes his home in Portland, Oregon, Tony Furtado took up the banjo at age 12, inspired by the Beverly Hillbillies television show and a sixth-grade music report. He ﬁrst attracted national attention in 1987, when he won the National Bluegrass Banjo Championship in Winﬁeld, Kansas. He won again in 1991.
In 1990, Tony signed a recording deal with Rounder Records, recording six critically acclaimed albums for the label, collaborating with such master musicians as Alison Krauss, Jerry Douglas, Tim O’Brien, Stuart Duncan, Kelly Joe Phelps and Mike Marshall. Tony has performed throughout the world at top venues and appeared at such prestigious music festivals as the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Strawberry Music Festival, Winnipeg Folk Festival, Sisters Folk Festival, San Jose Jazz Festival and countless others.
Saturday - 8:00pm, Sunday - 3:00pm
Caleb Klauder: guitar, mandolin, vocals
Reeb Willms: guitar, vocals
Caleb Klauder and Reeb Willms are known to roots music fans across the globe for their soulful harmonies, driving dance tunes, classic original songs, and commitment to the raw truth of rural American music. They have been foundational to the exceptional Pacifc Northwest old-time and country music scene with the Caleb Klauder Country Band and their membership in the Foghorn Stringband, in which Caleb was a founding member. Charismatic performers, they bring their unique set of talents to the stage with an eye towards good times and an ear towards the deepest songs and tunes.
Caleb Klauder and Reeb Willms both originally hail from Washington State: Caleb from the coastal islands, and Reeb from the high desert plateau. The two have come together in music and are hailed as some of the most compelling musicians making country roots music in America today. When these two sing together, their honest incantations leave us spell-bound and smiling. Their repertoire is made up of original songs and tunes as well as gems from American roots repertoires. Music is clearly in their blood. Caleb and Reeb’s originals and interpretations of songs have been covered and recorded by many performers and their musical presence reaches into a diverse and loyal fanbase, giving creedence to the impact that this duo has on their listeners. Pillars of the Northwest music scene, they carry the torch of their music around the world, and can be found touring as a duo, as well as with the Foghorn Stringband, and the Caleb Klauder Country Band. Their fans exude admiration for the timeless sound that these two produce, capturing the essence of American roots music.
Friday - 8:00pm, Saturday - 7:00pm
(Left to right):
Ryan Drickey: fiddle
Jordan Ramsey: mandolin, vocals
Mike Finders: guitar, vocals Aaron Youngberg: banjo, pedal steel
Erin Youngberg: bass, vocals
For over 13 years, the same five influential roots musicians of FY5 have conspired to create original bluegrass, folk and country music in the studio and on the roads. One reviewer called it "Greg Brown meets Hot Rize", which is a fitting description of the combination of Mike Finders' insightful, descriptive and earthbound songwriting and the tight musical chemistry of five long-time friends playing music together.
FY5 has toured coast to coast in America, showcased at Folk Alliance and the International Bluegrass Music Association conventions, and shared the stage with countless other contemporary acoustic artists. Their show is energetic, thoughtful and endearing, having gained thousands of fans all across the country. In 2023 they are releasing new music, and honing still new iterations of their impactful compositions and rootsy sounds.
"This type of music would be comfortable at the Grand Ole Opry, Austin City Limits and they wouldn’t get
kicked off that old fogey classic Lawrence Welk Show either. It’s that diversified, satisfying and most importantly good."
- John Aspice, No Depression
Friday - 7:00pm, Saturday 4:30pm
Don Thomsen: dobro
Less Panther: mandolin, vocals
Terry Ludiker: bass
Bob Asbury: guitar, vocals Chris Prumers: banjo, vocals
Custer's Grass Band is one of the Northwest’s premiere bluegrass bands. Formed in 1976, the band has the distinction of recording the first bluegrass album originating from the Pacific Northwest. The album included special instrumental contributions by Grammy winning northwest fiddler Mark O’Connor, who was still in his teens at the time. Over the last three decades the band has appeared at dozens of colleges, festivals, and music venues throughout the greater Pacific Northwest.
Today the original band is still mostly intact, minus the unmistakable presence of the late Dave Hackwith on bass (a longtime Blue Waters friend and faithful volunteer). Bob Asbury on guitar, Chris Prumers on banjo, Les Panther on mandolin are still delivering the same crisp instrumentation and high lonesome harmonies they had way-back-when, and are joined by newer members Terry Ludiker on bass and Don Thomsen on dobro.
Sunday - 2:00pm
Hannah Siglin: guitar, vocals
Jenny Anne Mannan: fiddle
Eugene Jablonsky: bass
The granddaughter of Yellowstone National Park’s former chief ranger, guitarist and songwriter Hannah Siglin was raised with a particular appreciation for the natural world. Hannah loved singing from an early age and began taking guitar lessons to accompany her voice. She grew up playing music with her family in the church, and after high school, she became one of just a few women in Berklee College of Music’s expansive guitar department.
Towards the end of her tenure at Berklee, Siglin teamed up with engineer and producer Loren Dorland to record her debut album "Seeds”, an eight track exploration of Siglin’s coming of age into heartbreak and a world of her own making. Joined by Julian Pinelli on fiddle, Noah Harrington on bass, Alex Formento on mandolin, and Jobi Riccio and Mike Skriloff on backing vocals, the album was recorded over four days almost entirely live.
Throughout "Seeds”, Siglin showcases emotive indie-folk songwriting, precise and tasteful guitar arrangements and a breathy yet perfectly sustained voice which feels intimate and immediately draws the listener into her musical landscape.
Friday - 6:00pm, Saturday 2:30pm
Janet Dodd: guitar, accordion, vocals
Brett Dodd: guitar, mandolin, octave mandolin, banjitar, vocals
Brit Keeton: fiddle Kurt Yandell: various stringed things
Janet and Brett Dodd met 30 years ago over a casual conversation about mandolins and music. Shared passions in music, family and the adventures of outdoor recreation have fed their creative drive over the last 30 years. Janet brings years of experience as a classical pianist, music teacher, choir director and accompanist to her lifelong interests in folk and americana. With a deep passion for learning, she plays joyfully on multiple instruments including guitar, accordion, bass, mandolin, and anything else that falls into her lap.
Brett began his musical journey playing at contra dances, Grateful Dead inspired jams and bluegrass bands in Oregon in the early 80’s and adds songwriting to the fusion. He plays mandolin, guitar, tenor guitar and recently a banjitar made from a gourd (doesn’t everyone?).
The duo honed their craft as regular fixtures of the Inland NW music scene in the Spokane area playing multiple festivals and local venues. They are known for their unique blend of closely knit harmony on original and contemporary folk/americana as well as instrumentals from a variety of styles! Most recently they can be found wintering in the Patagonia mountains of S. Arizona where they play regularly at The Patagonia Lumber Company and La Mission as well as the Tucson Folk Festival.
Sunday - 1:00pm
Steve Allen - banjo
Larry Easterly: bass and vocals
Dan Howard - guitar and vocals
Brian Williams (not pictured): guitar
"Buck 99" is a Bluegrass group from the North Idaho Panhandle consisting of three players all from Post Falls. They first met in 2012 and have enjoyed playing music together ever since. Band members are Larry Easterly - Bass, Steve Allen - Banjo, Guitar and vocals and Dan Howard - Guitar and vocals.The group "Buck 99" was formed in December 2018. Their craft, in blending acoustic instruments and vocals to promote Bluegrass, Country and Gospel music, is impressive. When you hear them play, it's the kind of music you will enjoy because it is just so good. "Buck 99" loves to play at the jam every Friday evening at the Church of Christ at 4th and Hanley in Dalton Gardens..You can also catch them at some local events such as the Hayden Farmer's Market and the Coeur d' Alene Farmer's Market, various Senior Living facilities, private parties and local music venues. In the summer they enjoy attending and playing at various Bluegrass Festivals.
This year they will be joined at Blue Waters by Brian Williams who is a native of the Great Silver State of Nevada. He moved to Post Falls in 2020 and has enjoyed the friends and music he has made there. He grew up on Country and Gospel and about 10 years ago he added Bluegrass. He is an excellent Guitar picker and vocalist and adds a lot of energy and versatility to the group.
Sunday - 12:00pm
The Mountain Dew Boys is a band of long-time friends from the Spokane area. The band members include; Doug Davis (guitar & vocals), Greg Davis (mandolin & vocals), Larry Lowe (fiddle & vocals) and Jeff Renfrow (base & vocals) and occasionally Josh Robertson (guitar & vocals). They are known for their tight harmonies and A Cappella gospel. Their love for music has them playing traditional bluegrass, original compositions, instrumentals, and gospel music. However, their shows always include one Hank Williams number. You can find them playing at the Big Red Barn, the Cherry Pickers Trot, the Green Bluff Grange concert series, various churches, and retirement homes throughout the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene area and other locations.
All performances will take place rain or shine!
Sign up at the front gate on Friday after noon.
|6:00pm||Brett & Janet Dodd|
|7:00pm||Custer's Grass Band|
|9:00pm||Tony Furtado Trio|
|1:30pm||Youth Camp & Instructors|
|2:30pm||Brett & Janet Dodd|
|3:30pm||Tony Furtado Trio|
|4:30pm||Custer's Grass Band|
|8:00pm||Caleb Klauder & Reeb Willms|
|9:00pm||AJ Lee & Blue Summit|
Unless otherwise noted, workshops are held in the picnic shelter along the walkway west of the swimming area. Just follow the walkway past the bathrooms and you will find it near the 2nd ballfield.
Workshop schedule is subject to change! Check back regularly up until festival weekend for possible updates.
|11:00am||BANJO with Tony Furtado and Aaron Youngberg|
|12:00pm||FIDDLE with Luke Price and Ryan Drickey|
|12:00pm||SLOW JAM with LaVona Reeves & Phil Kleinman. The slow jam is held under the picnic pagoda near the main gate, and all levels are welcome, especially beginners.|
|1:00pm||BASS with Keith Brush|
|11:00am||DUO SINGING with Caleb Klauder & Reeb Willms|
"Blue Camp" is a two day music workshop offered by the Blue Waters Bluegrass Festival to youth ages 20 and under, regardless of musical ability. Students on any of the standard bluegrass instruments -- guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle and bass -- are welcome. Over the course of the two days the students will be instructed on some basic tunes and bluegrass jamming conventions and etiquette. Blue Camp culminates with an onstage showcase opportunity. Participants work with top notch, inspiring bluegrass musicians who give them something new and exciting to take away from their experience.
To register or learn more, click the link below to go to the online registration form:
Weekend camping passes are only $45, and are available online or at the festival gate. Please note that a weekend festival pass is required of all campers!
Blue Waters offers two camping areas:
NEW to the area is a beautiful new RV resort at Northern Quest Casino; pool, lounge, 1-2 bedroom cabins and easy access to all the restaurants and services at the casino. There is also a Movie & Dinner theater with 8 screens! Visit WWW.NQRVRESORT.COM for more information and to reserve an RV spot or cabin. . Norther Quest is only 10 minutes away from Waterfront Park and the festival.
For those out-of-town guests who are not interested in camping, there are several quality hotels within a short drive of the festival. We encourage you to check out the establishments below. Several of these hotels have become friends and sponsors of our festival and we can wholeheartedly recommend their establishments.
Other nearby hotels:
You are welcome to bring your own picnic food, although we also have plenty of food vendors. There are picnic tables available near the back of the viewing area. Bring your own blankets and/or chairs for festival seating, but please do not bring high-back chairs or umbrellas or anything that might restrict the viewing of folks behind you.
Children under 12 are free with their parents.
Medical Lake, WA is located just west of Spokane, WA. Waterfront Park is on State Highway 902 just south of Medical Lake, WA, about 15 minutes west of Spokane, and about 3 1/2 hours east of Seattle. The park is enclosed by a canopy of tall ponderosa pines, providing cool shade for those warm and sunny Eastern Washington days.
Note to Travelers: The Spokane-Medical Lake area is on the dry side of the Cascades. A national magazine rated Spokane's summer climate as second best in the nation. Days are normally dry with temperatures in the 80's or low 90's. Nights are cool and you might need a light sweater for late jamming.
Northbound and southbound travelers should get onto I-90 and head East or West as the case may be and take the appropriate exit indicated above.
Washington State has closed the West Medical lake Resort and the area is fenced off; there is no camping or RV services anymore. Parking West Medical Lake will be limited to the main lot (which requires a Discover Pass permit) or along the roadside. We will continue to monitor and serve the area with golf cart transportation to/from the festival site.
Volunteers are an essential part of the Blue Waters Bluegrass Festival. We are so fortunate to have a large group of generous, enthusiastic, friendly, and hard working volunteers. The volunteers are the first to greet visitors when they arrive, and set the tone for a fun filled weekend.
If you are interested in being a part of our volunteer team, click the link below to download our volunteer form:
In addition to all the fine music during the weekend, folks can get some great eats and browse through our crafts vendor area. We limit the number of unique food vendors so each unit has a chance to do well for the weekend; craft vendors have prime space and all are welcome! All the vendors are outside the festival fence line, so anyone using the park has access which contributes to your success!
Vendors wishing to register should download the form below and use the button to pay the appropriate fee, or contact us for more information.