Berkshire is a community of around 1,400 residents that’s the perfect location for launching a low-key New York adventure. The town’s location within the Finger Lakes Region offers visitors easy access to a variety of outdoor activities, water sports, State and National Forests, and more. Whether you're taking part in one of the town's great community events or trout fishing on Owego Creek, Berkshire is ready to deliver an unforgettable vacation experience.
The Busy Bird Bluegrass Festival has been showcasing some of America’s finest Folk and Americana Music for the last 14 years. The event will take place July 6-9, about three miles southwest of Downtown Berkshire. The event is a family-friendly music experience offering a comprehensive lineup of the some of America's leading bluegrass, folk, and Americana performers including Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice, Sweetwater String Band, and Flatt Lonesome. Attendees can meet and greet as well as play a few songs with some of the performing musicians at a series of workshops. The festival has some great activities for kids as well such as scavenger hunts, face painting, games, and music workshops catered to children. We got the opportunity to interview Tim Gwardyak, a representative of the event, to talk about this unique music experience.
RAL: Tell me a bit about the event.
TG: The Busy Bird Bluegrass Festival specializes in traditional and progressive Bluegrass as well other Folk and Americana music. We offer free camping to those with a weekend pass, and onsite amenities include clean permanent restrooms as well as clean hot showers. We are handicap accessible, and family and volunteers run the event entirely.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
TG: The Busy Bird Bluegrass Festival is celebrating its 14th year.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
TG: We draw around 2,000 people throughout the weekend (500 per day).
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
TG: We attract everyone from families with young children to retired folks.
RAL: What makes this event unique?
TG: We take pride in the fact that we are a family oriented event. Our motto is “Once a Busy Bird, Always a Busy Bird” and “Welcome to the Busy Bird Family”. We treat people like they are family.
RAL: Take me through a day at the event.
TG: The event will have music all four days starting with a kickoff party on Thursday featuring the area’s top acoustic artists and groups. It's our night to present music other than bluegrass. The Bluegrass begins on Friday and continues until Sunday afternoon.
We have Music Workshops which are hosted by various band members, offering fans a chance to meet their favorite musicians, play along with them, and possibly learn a thing or two. There is also a Jam Tent for players who wish to play with others, but do not have the confidence to join in otherwise. These jams are hosted by various bands that are scheduled to play.
We have children's activities throughout the weekend including, but not limited to, scavenger hunts, water balloon tosses, face painting, music workshops designed for children. We will also set up a Kids Camp tent with various games and coloring books for the younger kids.
RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?
TG: We boast some of the best Bluegrass in the business. Male Vocalist of the Year winner Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice headlines the Friday program and multi-award winning Flatt Lonesome headlines our Saturday night. There will also be 21 local and regional acts performing.
RAL: What will attendees find for dining options?
TG: We have a full-service kitchen onsite serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This year we will feature New York’s famous Spiedie Sandwich. There will also be a Pork BBQ on Saturday. Our prices and very affordable, in fact, most returning guests pack light due to our prices and quality.
RAL: What will attendees find for lodging options?
TG: There are lodging options in nearby Newark Valley (Good Shepard Bed and Breakfast) and Owego (Holiday Inn, Treadway Inn). All usually have competitive rates and vacancies during the festival.
RAL: Does the event support a particular cause in the community?
TG: The Busy Bird is active in supporting numerous other events and charities in the community. The Newark Valley Wrestling Club sets up a booth at the festival to help raise money for their youth wrestling program.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
TG: It’s not just an event -- it’s a destination! We make it our mission to ensure that each guest enjoys their stay. We consider each detail and double check to ensure the activities, bands, and the overall weekend, proceeds flawlessly.
For more information about The Busy Bird Bluegrass Festival, please visit the event website.