Bluegrass at the Beach Festival Sep 12

September 10, 2015 by SoWal Staff

From seasoned Bluegrass veteran bands to contemporary twists on Bluegrass sound to sensational rising stars, the inaugural Bluegrass at the Beach produced by Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation (MKAF) will be a sizzling, family-friendly musical showcase that appeals to all ages.
As part of the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation (MKAF)’s 20th Anniversary celebration, the inaugural Bluegrass at the Beach one-day music festival will be held at the MKAF Cultural Arts Village in Destin, Sept. 12 from 11 am - 10 pm.                     

This family-friendly celebration of music and culture will feature seven award-winning bluegrass bands, youth crafts and music in the Kid’s Art Village with an interactive Pickin’ & Paintin’ area, and a diverse array of food and beverage offerings.

“We are excited to introduce the first Bluegrass Festival to the Emerald Coast,” said MKAF CEO Marcia Hull. “It is fitting tribute to connect with our roots for our big 20th Anniversary event. Local band Dread Clampitt was among MKAF’s early performances, and now they will be part of our first annual Bluegrass festival and join us in welcoming regional and national bluegrass artists to Destin.”

Bluegrass at the Beach will feature nationally-acclaimed artists as well as regional and local bands. The line-up includes headliner, Blue Highway, along with The Hillbenders, Run Boy Run, Willie Sugarcapps, Moore Brothers Band, Dread Clampitt and Dismal Creek. In addition, rising star, Danielle Yother, a 16 year-old singer, songwriter and musician who was recently featured in Flatpicking Guitar magazine will be making a special appearance.  


10:00 a.m. Danielle Yother
11:00 a.m. Dismal Creek
12:15 p.m. Dread Clampitt
1:45 p.m. Run Boy Run
3:15 p.m. Moore Brothers Band
5:00 p.m. Willie Sugarcapps
7:00 p.m. The Hillbenders
8:05 p.m. Blue Highway

In between music performances and throughout the daylong concert, attendees will be treated to Pickin’ & Paintin’ — a series of live performances, bluegrass-inspired artist demonstrations, lively storytelling sessions by professional actors and colorful folk art exhibits. Below is a list of some of the bluegrass-inspired things to do, hear and see for all ages.


Make & Do

Calling all young bluegrass pickers to create and craft away. Build your very own banjo or get into the spirit by painting a bluegrass-inspired picture.


Listen ‘N Learn

Music and art lovers can check the schedule of performances and demonstrations throughout the day.


Banjo Makin’ with John Lohr 

Experience the fine art and craft of fiddle making first hand with a live demonstration peppered with stories by seasoned instrument craftsman, music lover and life long learner John Lohr (Key West). 6:30 p.m.


Art & Jam by Eileen West Gallery & Franko “Washboard” Jackson  

Franko “Washboard” Jackson was born in Oklahoma and took up washboard in New Orleans in 1975 at the age of 25. While there he has played with many music legends including Professor Longhair. Come browse folk art pieces available for sale courtesy of the Eileen West Gallery and check out Washboard’s as he jams in between main stage acts. Catch Franko at the Listen & Learn stage at 4:30 p.m.


Story time with Emerald Coast Theatre Company

The Emerald Coast Theatre Company presents a dramatic reading of “Meet Smoky Mountain Rose, an Appalachian Cinderella.” Gather around to see and hear this “Smoky” story. A musician/narrator — accompanied by acoustic strings narrates while two costumed improv performers act out all the parts of this fairytale story with a bluegrass twist.  2:45 p.m.


Americana Music Wall

Hands down, this is one exhibit you won’t want to miss. All ages are invited to discover the magic of the music making at this interactive display of creative and repurposed materials. Do not touch does not apply here.



The Festival offers up a culinary arts experience, too. A collection of local restaurants and eateries will serve up samplings of savory seafood from 790 On The Gulf, tasty tacos from The Big Red Truck, award-winning barbecue from Jim N’ Nicks, small bites from Wild Olive along with tasty sweet treats by Rosey’s Kettle Corn and Mark’s Hawaiian Shaved Ice among others. Foodies can toast the arts with select domestic and imported wine and beer in the Wine Bar & Beer Garden. Gather with family and friends to enjoy your meal al fresco, while taking in the Festival scene and listening to the stellar music line up.  



Be sure to stop in the various hospitality tents hosted by Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation, Emerald Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau and ResortQuest Wyndham Vacation Rental & Real Estate.



Tickets purchased in advance for the daylong festival are $45/MKAF members and $55 for general admission.  Tickets purchased the day the event will be $55/MKAF members and $65 general admission. Children (under 12) are free. VIP tables are $750 each. They include premium seating for eight and 16 drink tickets. Tickets are available for purchase online at Proceeds to benefit MKAF’s cultural arts and education outreach programs.



Doors open at 10 a.m. Parking is available on-site as well as at convenient satellite parking areas with free shuttle service. Park for free at Grace Lutheran Church located adjacent to the Cultural Arts Village or at Emerald Coast Centre, located on Highway 98 near Beall’s Department Store, and ride the free continuous shuttle service right to the main entrance. The Cultural Arts Village is designed as an ADA compliant venue with available handicap parking.  



As a presenting sponsor of Bluegrass at the Beach, ResortQuest Wyndham Vacation Rentals is providing exclusive discounts on beach accommodations during Bluegrass at the Beach. For more information, call (844) 253-7848 or book online at  



Follow the event on Facebook at Whatever their channel of choice, guests can join the conversation at #MattieKellyBluegrass.


General Admission $55/person MKAF Members $45/person Kids under 12 free Ticket prices increase day of event No refunds, rain or shine Cultural Arts Village directions & parking

Limited availability for VIP Tables include admission, reserved seating for eight and 16 drink tickets.  Call MKAF 850.650.2226 to purchase.


Bluegrass on the Beach is a new annual signature event presented by the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation and ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals. Tickets for the one-day festival are $45/MKAF members, $55/general admission. Children 12 and under free. VIP tables will be sold for $750 each. They include premium seating for eight and 16 drink tickets. Tickets are available for purchase online at


For more information on how you can become a member of MKAF, gain benefits as an event sponsor, provide a donation or explore opportunities to get involved on a committee of the Board of Directors, call (850) 650-2226 or visit


Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation, a not-for-profit charitable arts organization, was founded in 1995 on the cultural, educational and spiritual beliefs of the late Destin Matriarch, Mattie Kelly. The champion of cultural arts and education in Northwest Florida, MKAF's vision is to impact lives through art and culture.



Sixteen year-old rising bluegrass star Danielle Yother will kick things off by performing as music lovers enter the Cultural Arts Village beginning at 10 a.m.


Dismal Creek will open the show with its sizzling Southern sound around 11 a.m.


Local favorites Dread Clampitt takes the stage just after noon


Arizona’s Run Boy Run gives the roster ‘Appalachian punch at 1:45pm


Kicking things up in the afternoon is the fresh faced Moore Brothers Band at 3:15pm


Alabama-based Willie Sugarcapps perform their soulful sounds around 5 pm


The Hillbenders high octane performance will begin around 7 p.m. and include songs from the “Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry” named one of the Top Country Album of 2015 by Rolling Stone magazine


Tennessee’s award-winning five-member band, Blue Highway — one of bluegrass music’s most accomplished and seasoned bands — is this year’s headliner and will take the stage around 8pm


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