Washington County Bluegrass Festival

The 19th Annual Bluegrass Festival will be held on Saturday, September 11 from 2-6pmBluegrass Festival returns in 2021! Saturday, September 11, 2-6 p.m.
Lake Elmo Park Reserve, South Pavilion

Please Note: Capacity will be limited and concert access will be available on a first come first serve basis.


2:00 - 2:50 p.m. - Gentlemen Dreadnought
3:00 - 4:10 p.m.- Blue Groove Bluegrass
4:30 - 6:00 p.m. - The Barley Jacks 

The annual Washington County Bluegrass Festival fuses community, the great outdoors, and homegrown bluegrass music. It’s our way of celebrating a successful summer season and giving thanks to everyone for supporting Washington County Parks.

The festival backdrop is beautiful Lake Elmo Park Reserve, a 2,165-acre parkland, 30 miles east of the Twin Cities metro area. As a park reserve, 80% of the parks total land will be restored to pre-settlement, native vegetation. It’s a great place to recreate, camp, and enjoy nature.

The Bluegrass Festival is free for annual park permit holders and available to all visitors for the price of a daily or annual permit. Please, no animals or alcohol at the festival. Supported by the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association (MBOTMA).

Band Bio's

Gentlemen Dreadnought  is the combined effort of Clint Birtzer and Derek Johnson. In 2006, after years of playing rock-n-roll, Derek Johnson helped form the bluegrass band The High 48’s. Derek went “full throttle” in 2011 when he joined Monroe Crossing where he maintains a very busy schedule performing throughout the USA, Canada, and Europe. All the while the young guitar slinger, Clint Birtzer, was winning flat picking guitar contests and performing, as a teenager, in the traditionally minded Sawtooth Bluegrass Band. As the boys grew to men they established a more progressive and original sound as the Sawtooth Brothers. In 2018 the circle became complete when Clint took over Derek’s old guitar and vocal duties in The High 48’s. 

Blue Groove Bluegrass is a multiple award-winning bluegrass band that hails from Minneapolis/St Paul. The band maintains a regular performing schedule, appearing at festivals and special events throughout Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin. The band covers a number of past and current contemporary bluegrass artists, and presents a few originals as well. A Blue Groove show features songs from Alison Krauss or Rhonda Vincent as well as traditional bluegrass (Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs) with all of its drive, improvisation and harmony singing! Members of Blue Groove bluegrass band include Adelle Hyrkas, lead vocals and rhythm guitar; David Smith, banjo and vocals; Bob Doe, lead guitar, dobro, and vocals; Tom Erickson, upright bass and vocals, Tom Wadzinski mandolin and vocals; and special guest fiddler Richard Kriehn.

Barley Jacks sing original vocals and play jaw–dropping instrumentals in a spirit of excitement and fun. They are masters of the fiddle, guitar, bass and drum who meld their divergent backgrounds of blues and bluegrass, classical and Celtic, R & B and bebop to inspire each other and create something entirely new. Front–man and fiddler Brian Wicklund is joined by Mike Cramer–guitar, Keith Yanes–bass, and Joel Arpin–percussion. Their 2010 debut recording Either Side of Night and 2011 recording The Lighthouse has been met with great praise by reviewers. Virtuosity, magic and a little danger combine to make every performance unique. Audiences are struck with how much fun the Barley Jacks have when they perform. These Minnesota-based veterans of years in the musical trenches enjoy making music together so much that they sometimes giggle like little kids!

Take a look at the 2018 Bluegrass Festival below.