Charm City Folk & Bluegrass Festival
With four annual installments now under its belt, Charm City Folk & Bluegrass Festival has continued to bring the cream of the crop to the one and only Baltimore, MD. With past lineups including the likes of Tim O’Brien, The Wood Brothers and Jerry Douglas, 2016’s lineup was arguably its best yet, featuring headlining sets from Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder and Keller Williams & The Travelin’ McCourys. Both of these headliners absolutely crushed their sets, as more than 5,000 attendees braved the threat of rain to soak in their fill of pickin’. It came pretty darn close, but the bluegrass Gods prevailed and allowed us to leave Druid Hill Park mostly dry. Aside from the headliners, Charm City enjoyed the not-your-average-bluegrass act of Cabinet, as well as Baltimore’s own Cris Jacobs, who has played every installment of the festival since its inception. Steep Canyon Rangers also made their presence known, as did Charm City Bluegrass veteran Sierra Hull.
While I still consider myself new to Baltimore, this event embodies everything that I have witnessed about the city thus far. A focus on local businesses, including food, beer, crafts and radio stations provides the foundation for one of the oldest cities in America. Locals come together for more than just the music, but for pride in their city, and they welcome those who come from across the country to join them in celebration.
Charm City Folk and Bluegrass Festival is the brainchild of two Baltimore locals who also embody this same spirit in their daily lives. Jordan August and Phil Chorney have managed to provide an extremely family friendly environment, while not taking away from the experience of those looking to take their good times a little further. The park stayed well-lit and never once felt unsafe. It was truly refreshing to see such an amazing event occurring in the heart of my new Home. I believe that going forward, this festival will continue to be a flagship of my association with Charm City, perhaps one day even graduating from the slopes of Druid Hill Park and on to new heights. I, for one, am already filled with anticipation for next year’s Charm City Folk & Bluegrass Festival. Hope to see you there!
Words and Photos by "Ragin'" Randy Harris