Blue Waters Bluegrass Festival

The water is blue. The grass is too.

August 9-11, 2024

Lake photo by Lola Sherstobitoff

About the Blue Waters Bluegrass Festival

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!

Friends and Sponsors

Become a Friend of the Festival

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.


Proud Sponsors of the Blue Waters Bluegrass Festival

If you would like information about becoming a corporate sponsor, please contact us at bluewatersbluegrass at gmail dot com.

Northern Quest Casino
Inland Northwest Bluegrass Association
Spokane Public Radio

2024 Lineup

New Dangerfield

Tray Wellington (banjo, guitar), Kaia Kater (guitar, banjo), Nelson Williams (bass), Jake Blount (fiddle)

Saturday - 9:15pm, Sunday - 2:15pm

A century of forgetfulness and erasure has led to diminished public awareness of the Black string band tradition - and similarly diminished numbers of Black string bands. As of 2023, a new Black string band has risen to carry the torch: New Dangerfield.

New Dangerfield was originally conceptualized by award-winning banjoist Tray Wellington, who enlisted three other acclaimed Black roots musicians: multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Kaïa Kater, bassist Nelson Williams (Chris Jones & the Night Drivers), and fiddler and singer Jake Blount.

The members of New Dangerfield cut their teeth at fiddler’s conventions and folk festivals, and in the jazz bars of New Orleans. Community and tradition are the roots of their creative practice - but the branches have spread wide, and are yet unfolding. Embodying the innovative aspects of the Black string band tradition, Wellington, Kater, Williams and Blount are well-acquainted with the contemporary, the experimental, and the speculative. Deploying groove, technical skill and historical knowledge in the revolutionary spirit of their namesake, Dangerfield Newby, New Dangerfield is on a mission to liberate the Black string band tradition.

Full Cord

Friday - 9:15pm, Saturday - 1:30pm

Eric Langejans (guitar), Ricky Mier (banjo), Todd Kirchner (bass)
Brian Oberlin (mandolin), Grant Flick (fiddle)

When it comes to movers and shakers in the bluegrass world, Full Cord is a super-group on the rise. After winning the prestigious 2022 Telluride Bluegrass Band Competition in Colorado, the Michigan-based group followed that with another much-coveted honor when the International Bluegrass Music Association named Full Cord its "Momentum Award Band of the Year." While mandolinist Brian Oberlin notes the band’s music "is new and fresh to the ears of seasoned bluegrass fans," the bluegrass traditions in Full Cord have deep roots.

The group’s members – Oberlin, guitarist Eric Langejans, bassist Todd Kirchner and fiddler Grant Flick – boast decades of musical artistry, with experience in popular performing bands from Michigan to Oregon. And with the recent addition of award-winning, Colorado-based banjoist Ricky Mier, Full Cord is poised to take the next step in its journey as a bluegrass powerhouse. Oberlin insists the band is "just hitting its stride" – ready to follow in the footsteps of fellow Michigan bluegrass icons Billy Strings and Greensky Bluegrass as yet another star in the making.

The Jacob Jolliff Band

Saturday - 8:15pm, Sunday - 3:30pm

Jacob Jolliff was born into a musical family in Newberg, OR. His dad started him on the mandolin at age seven and required him to practice ten minutes a day. But after six months of practicing this minimal amount, something clicked, and almost overnight he started putting in several hours of intense practice daily. And this hasn't really changed in the last 20 years.

When he was 18, Jacob was awarded a full scholarship to The Berklee College of Music in Boston. He moved to Massachusetts to start school in 2007, along with a lot of the other young musicians he had grown up with. In 2008, during his sophomore year of college, he joined the New England based roots music band, Joy Kills Sorrow. Over the next few years the group toured extensively throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe, playing hundreds of clubs, theaters, and festivals. In 2012, he won the National Mandolin Championship in Winfield, Kansas. After JKS went on hiatus, he joined the Yonder Mountain String Band, with whom he played until 2019.

Now in 2024, the mandolinist’s main focus is The Jacob Jolliff Band. This ensemble is a group of virtuosic pickers that play Jacob's original instrumentals, as well as showcase his singing. They tour nationally in the US and have also travelled to Scotland and Australia to perform.

In 2022, Jacob was called on by world famous banjo player, Béla Fleck, to tour as part of My Bluegrass Heart. He performed around the country alongside Béla and some of the very best musicians in the genre: Bryan Sutton, Cody Kilby, Justin Moses, Mark Schatz, Michael Cleveland, Stuart Duncan and Billy Contreras.

Blue Waters Tribute Set #6: "The Roots of Bluegrass"

Saturday - 7:00pm

The Blue Waters Tribute Series has become one of the most beloved features of our festival. For 2024, instead of paying tribute to a single artist, the 6th installment of our series will be a special tribute to the Roots of Bluegrass -- the varied musical influences that went in to making this beloved form of music.

In the mid 1940's when Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, Lester Flatt, Chubby Wise and Howard Watts crystallized the sound that became known as "bluegrass", they were standing on the shoulders of many musicians and influences that came before them. The banjo was an instrument that came to America with the enslaved peoples of West Africa and soon spread to the wider population and into the hands of innovators like Earl Scruggs. The Scotch/Irish fiddle tunes of Bill's Uncle Pen (Pendleton Vandiver) and blues guitar of Bill's African-American neighbor, Arnold Shultz, are well-known to bluegrass fans as primary sources. Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family gave early country musicians the songs and stylings that soon became standards. Together all these influences wove together to form a musical family tree that is as rich and diverse and colorful as it is broad and deep and wide.

Following the format used in our previous tributes, music will be provided by artists from our 2024 lineup: New Dangerfield, The Jacob Jolliff Band, Floating Crowbar, Rock Ridge, True North Duo, and Dry & Dusty. Between songs, the story will be told by Blue Waters Music Director Kevin Brown.

You won't want to miss this set!!

Rock Ridge

Friday - 8:00pm, Saturday - 3:30pm

Josie Grant (guitar, vocals)   Suzanne Adkins (bass, vocals)
Josh Adkins (mandolin)   Dale Adkins (banjo)

Based in Sisters, Oregon, Rock Ridge specializes in bluesy vocal-based deep-groove bluegrass music with a solid traditional approach. They perform traditional & contemporary bluegrass, featuring original material as well as traditional country duets. Each of the Rock Ridge members is a veteran musician having played in some of the best bands on the west coast.

Josie Grant is a bluegrass powerhouse, wowing audiences with dynamic, powerful singing and driving guitar playing. Originally from Southern CA, she fell in love with bluegrass in the 1990s and has performed with Hiway 99 and Borderline Bluegrass Band in Northern California. Multi-instrumentailist Dale Adkins is a longtime Northwest legend who Flatpick Guitar Magazine called: "a major force!" As a part of Grammy nominee Kate MacKenzie's touring band, Dale performed across the U.S. and Europe in the 1990s. Josh Adkins epitomizes the classic saying “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. He applies his considerable intelligence and talent to a certain creative mastery of any instrument he tackles whether it is guitar, bass, mandolin or ukulele. Suzanne Adkins has been a stately, rock-solid bassist and vocalist in many Northwest groups over the years. She has held down the beat for groups including True North, Knott Bros, McKenzie Crossing, and Adkins Family Band.

True North Duo

Saturday - 2:30pm   Sunday - 1:00pm

True North Duo is the backbone of one of the Northwest's most acclaimed songwriting bluegrass bands: Kristen Grainger & True North. Whether performing as the full band or as a duo, singer-songwriters Kristen Grainger and Dan Wetzel’s performances resonate deeply with audiences listening for well-crafted songs, skillful instrumentation, and gorgeous vocals. The alchemy of their interlocked voices with the warm, spare loveliness of Dan’s handmade guitar deliver the goods — that indescribable feeling that is part joy, part longing; a deliciously sweet ache haunting the darkest corridors of the heart.

Kristen continues to earn national recognition for her songwriting, most recently showcasing at SXSW on the USA Songwriting stage. She was named, alongside Brandi Carlile and Dolly Parton, as one of the Women Who Wrote Our 2020 Soundtrack by The Bluegrass Situation. She has won or been a finalist in national songwriting contests at Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Wildflower, Merlefest, and Kerrville Folk Festival.

We are excited to have Kristen & Dan back to Blue Waters for two intimate duo sets on Saturday and Sunday!

Floating Crowbar

Saturday - 4:30pm

Morgan Andersen: fiddle   Don Thomsen: banjo, mandolin
James Hunter: pipes, whistle and flute   Rick Rubin: guitar

In 2010, multi instrumentalists Don Thomsen and James Hunter joined forces with guitarist Rick Rubin and fiddler Morgan Andersen in the configuration known as Floating Crowbar, fast becoming known as the best traditional Irish band in the area. Playing pipes, flute, whistle, banjo and mandolin as well as fiddle and guitar, Floating Crowbar create a high energy mix of Irish instrumental music and songs drawn from traditional and contemporary sources. Coming from a wide variety of backgrounds and musical interests, they bring together their common passion for Irish music, good humor, mutual respect and friendship into a show that will be enjoyed by any roots music fan. They now have five studio recordings and have just released a retrospective collection on vinyl, Old Favourites.

In addition to their Saturday afternoon set of Irish music, Floating Crowbar will also be participating in our Roots of Bluegrass Tribute set on Saturday evening, helping us tell the story of the Scotch/Irish influence on bluegrass music.

Dry & Dusty

Friday - 7:00pm Sunday - 12:00pm

Dry and Dusty is an oldtime sister duo from Spokane, WA. Ruthie and Sally Jablonsky grew up playing music with their parents, hiking around in the desert singing cowboy songs, and learning the old tunes from their extended family at fiddle festivals. As well as being firmly rooted in the Appalachian fiddle tradition, the sisters write new country songs that are crooked and lonesome and true. Dry & Dusty has toured the west playing music together but much prefer playing close to home.

The sisters are joined by Ru's husband Ben Feldman, a guitar noodler/pedal steel wiz kid from California.

Sally Jablonsky: guitar, fiddle, vocals
Ruthie Jablonsky: mandolin
Ben Feldman (not pictured): dobro, pedal steel

Monroe Bridge

Friday - 6:00pm

Jean Ballhorn: fiddle   Noel Taggart: mandolin, vocals
Dan Gore: bass   Kent Riggs: guitar, vocals   Karen Riggs: guitar, vocals

Monroe Bridge is a group of bluegrass veterans who have been playing music together at shows, festivals, and fairs throughout the Pacific Northwest. They share a deep love of the traditional bluegrass music of Flatt & Scruggs, the Stanley Brothers and, of course, Monroe. Individually, the members are experienced musicians and have played bluegrass and country music in bands throughout the land before coming together in the Inland Northwest in 2018. Today they perform a finely honed blend of traditional, contemporary, and original bluegrass, country and gospel music. With tight vocal harmony and dynamic instrumentals, we think you’re sure to love this band. Whether you're young, old, or in between, you’ll have a great time listening to Monroe Bridge! Noel Taggart on mandolin has gained a reputation as one of the finest lead vocalists around. Kent & Karen Riggs are on guitar, singing lead and harmony vocals. Jean Ballhorn on fiddle is a veteran of the Colorado bluegrass scene and has performed and recorded with Charles Sawtelle, Open Road, Camptown and many others. Dan Gore is a versatile multi-instrumentalist. He has played mandolin and guitar in several bluegrass bands in the region and has produced the annual Spokane Mandolin Congress. Dan is playing bass fiddle for Monroe Bridge.

Schedule (2024)

All performances will take place rain or shine!

Main Stage
4:00pm Open Mic!
Sign up at the front gate on Friday after noon.
6:00pm Monroe Bridge
7:00pm Dry & Dusty
8:00pm Rock Ridge
9:15pm Full Cord
12:30pm Youth Camp & Instructors
1:30pm Full Cord
2:30pm True North Duo
3:30pm Rock Ridge
4:30pm Floating Crowbar
5:30pm Dinner break
7:00pm "Roots of Bluegrass" Tribute
8:15pm The Jacob Jolliff Band
9:15pm New Dangerfield

The workshop schedule will be posted in early summer.

Blue Waters Youth Camp

"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:

Blue Camp Form .


Blue Waters offers two camping areas:

  • Upper camping - RVs only. Dry camping -- there are no RV hookups or services available.
  • Lower camping - Tents only.

Please note that a weekend festival pass is required of all campers! Weekend camping passes will be available online or at the festival gate.

Absolutely no campers, popups, etc. will be allowed in the lower parking lot or camping area! Sleeping in vehicles is allowed, but no camping activities are allowed in the lower lot. This is a city mandate which is out of our control. See the FAQ for additional information about camping.

Other Camping Options

For those that need a full service RV site, there are some other options nearby:

Other Lodging Options

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.

Directions to Blue Waters

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.

Westbound Travelers (from Spokane)

  • On 1-90 Take Exit #272 nine miles west of Spokane.
  • Turn right onto W. Medical Lake Rd. / Hwy 902 and continue for 5.6 miles into the town of Medical Lake.
  • Turn left at Lefevre (right by Denny's Harvest Foods) and follow for 1.5 miles to Waterfront Park.
  • The park and festival entrance will be on your right.

Eastbound Travelers (from Seattle)

  • On I-90 take exit #264 (Salnave Rd.) and follow Salnave / Hwy 902 north for 5.1 miles.
  • Turn left into Waterfront Park one mile south of Medical Lake.

Northbound/Southbound Travelers

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:

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.

Vendor Form

Pay Vendor Fee

  • Food vendor fee: $200 (3-days Fri-Sun); $175 (Sat/Sun only)
  • Craft vendor fee: $100 (3-days Fri-Sun); $75 (Sat-Sun only)

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What should I bring?
A: Lawn chair/blanket, swimsuit, sweater, sunscreen, bug repellent, sunglasses, food and drinks (no glass), instruments for jamming/workshop, money/credit card for Blue Waters/band merchandise and vendors, friends and family, and a smile. 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. Please do not bring high-back chairs or umbrellas or anything that might restrict the viewing of folks behind you.

Q: How early can we begin camping at the festival site?
A: Blue Waters RV camping begins on Thursday and your camping pass reserves your site through Monday morning. You may camp prior to Thursday, but for these nights camping fees must be paid directly to the City of Medical Lake. Tent camping is only available after 10am on Thursday as the City watering system will run through Weds night and the ground will be wet.

Q: Can camping sites be reserved?
A: Camping sites are available on a first-come first-served basis. We cannot reserve a site for you, however, every camping pass guarantees a site for you. We will not sell more camping passes than sites available.

Q: Will tent campers have their car at the campsite?
A: Generally no. The tent camping area is close to the lower parking lot. A few tent sites are adjacent to the lot, while others are a short walk. Golf carts can assist campers by helping to bring gear to the camp site.

Q: Is there shade?
A: Some of the tent camping sites are very shady, but the RV lot is not, especially after the damage from the 2023 wildfire. In the festival grounds the shade moves during the day. The shadiest areas are in the rear towards the pavilion behind the seating area.

Q: Are pets allowed at the festival?
A: Pets are not allowed within the festival grounds but leashed pets are allowed in the camping areas and Waterfront Park grounds according to City laws. Service animals are allowed inside the festival grounds.

Q: Do children need a festival pass?
A: Children under 12 are free with their parents.

Q: Do I need a weekend/day pass to watch the Youth Camp performance?
A: We hope fans of the youth camp are also fans of bluegrass so we would appreciate you supporting the festival and purchasing a ticket.

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