The Best in Regional Talent!

While our award-winning festival is running on the Main Stage, the Housatonic Stage will feature Emerging Artists and Masters from Connecticut and beyond.

2024 Housatonic Stage Performers

(Bios at bottom)

4:30-Old Country Road
6:30-The Leftovers

7:30-Open Mike w/ John Kaluzynski & Leftovers


11:00-The Chickenshack Bluegrass Band
12:00-Mamma’s Marmalade
1:00-The Tenderbellies
2:00-Missisquoi River Band
3:00- J.M Clifford Band

4:45-5:30-Dinner Break

5:30-Forest Station
6:30-Eugene Tyler Band
7:30-The Beantown Buckaroos


11:00-Still Pickin’
1:00-Forest Station
2:00-Bloodroot Gap
3:00-Eugene Tyler Band
4:00-Mamma’s Marmalade
4:45-5:30 Break
5:30-River City Slim & The Zydeco Hogs
7:30-Contra dance with The Fiddleheads and caller
Rich Sbardella

*All schedules subject to change


The Beantown Buckaroos cook up classic Western Swing and Country music, with a dash of Tex-Mex and Cajun for picante. With four vocalists and six instruments—including fiddle, pedal steel and accordion—the Bucks deliver just the right mix of tight harmonies, driving rhythms, and great repertoire to deliver you to the dance floor smiling!

Bloodroot Gap– Formed after a serendipitous jam session, the Vermont band Bloodroot Gap is a musical collaboration that performs traditional and progressive bluegrass and original material. The band delivers tight, energetic performances that pay homage to the greats while forging an original path of their own.

The acoustic duo BluesGrass features two experienced musicians, Jon Swift and Mark White, who have been steeped for many years in American roots music, including blues, old time, folk music, and bluegrass (especially its “bluesy” side and
its mountain modal sounds). Both are accomplished singers, and their voices blend in close harmony along with strong and evocative instrumental accompaniment. They draw upon both contemporary and traditional sources for a well rounded acoustic music experience

The Chickenshack Bluegrass Band: Chickenshack is a dynamic bluegrass band from NH with influences from traditional bluegrass, classic rock, country and beyond. With five lead singers and high-octane harmonies, each song is entertaining and different from the song before it.

Eugene Tyler Band: Eugene Gardner (vocals/guitar/mandolin), Daniel Tyler (guitar/banjo), and Marc Jaffee (upright bass/vocals) all grew up within a couple of miles of each other in New York’s Hudson Valley, and since 2015 they’ve been on the road, performing at landmark clubs like Sony Hall, the Mercury Lounge and bluegrass festivals like Wind Gap and Thomas Point Beach (2021 Band Competition Winners). Sharing stages with bands like Billy Strings, the Kitchen Dwellers, The Mountain Grass Unit, and A.J. Lee, ETB has carved out a unique voice in the bluegrass scene, with cutting, often humorous songs, and a fast & loose approach that calls back to influences like the Clash and Drive-By Truckers. Their newest record, Low It Goes, captures the free-wheeling intensity of those live shows and showcases the cathartic, irreverent songwriting that has won them fans all over the country.

The Fiddleheads are New Haven’s venerable contra dance band established in 1978. Many great players have been a part of it over the years. The current line-up featuresNorman Plankey on guitar, Gary Wikfors on mandolin, related mando-ephemera, and Swedish nyckelharpa, Willow Sirch on 5-string fiddle, and Jim Sirch on Irish flute, whistles and 5-string banjo.

Forest Station is a Vermont-based bluegrass group born in the Rocky Mountains and realized in the Greens. Its blend of high energy, tight pockets, and just enough improvisational grease will scratch your itch for real, honest bluegrass. Their writing partnership, love for the natural world, and appreciation of Bluegrass music (and beyond) yields reflective music steeped in the mountain ranges, landscapes, and forests that surround them; literally and figuratively.

Funkygrass is a contemporary acoustic ensemble exploring bluegrass, country, Tex-Mex, zydeco, Cajun, jazz, and a whole lot more. They consist of Jim Ballentine on bass, Gary Beekman on dobro and guitar, Matt Carlen on guitar, Joan Eliyesil on banjo, Stroker on accordion, and Paul “Wolfie” Wolf on drums. This time around they’ll be dishing out an extra helping of dance tunes to help you shake your booty. If you can’t dance to it, they’re not playing it. Let’s get down, Podunk!

J.M. Clifford Band- When you think about bluegrass music, New York City is not the first location that comes to mind. But the Brooklyn based J.M.Clifford band is among a wave of big apple bands getting recognition in the bluegrass scene. Much of their original music draws on life experiences. The bands namesake received rave reviews from Bluegrass Today and was a showcase artist at the 2023 IBMA conference.

The Leftovers: As individual performers, John Kaluzynski, Tom McNulty, Pat Haddon, Oriana Mack and Sal Sauco bring their diverse music prowess to audiences in New England, New York and Florida. As a bluegrass band, their captivating, high-energy performances transport audiences back in time. The Leftovers blend melodic harmonies, musicianship and creativity with traditional string instruments.The band draws its repertoire from nearly a century of musical history and are true to the traditional and influenced by the more contemporary music of the latest half-century. The band also peppers in original compositions.

Mamma’s Marmalade draws from acoustic traditions spanning Appalachia and the Ozarks to craft a sound that manages to be at once familiar and definitively fresh. Honeyed harmonies buoy the classic high-lonesome croon of lead vocalist Lily Sexton, sailing above a whirling reel of steel string sonics and pop melody. Mamma’s Marmalade started in a UMass dorm room when Sexton (fiddle) and Mitch Bordage (mandolin) bonded over bluegrass. Tenacious flat picker Sean Davis caught their attention at an open mic in 2016, and the band released their debut album Goodbye, Black Velvet, the following summer. In 2019 the band released their sophomore LP Rockabee Fields. Following Rockabee Fields they welcomed bassist Dan Bisson to their musical family. They’ve spent years honing improv skills, instrumental tone, harmony arranging, rhythm and energy to create a compelling live show. Regardless of their relative virtuosity at the beginning of their adventure, today Mamma’s Marmalade is composed of a group of artists that know how to work together as one.

Missisquoi River Band: Vermonters Patrick Murphy and Jim and Cindy Weed form the strong songwriting and vocal back bone of the ten-year-old bluegrass band. Their unique three-part harmony arrangements are masterfully backed up by some of Vermont’s most well-seasoned pickers including Bill Gaston on banjo and dobro, of Big Spike Bluegrass fame, and Jim Weed on lead guitar. Murphy and Cindy Weed complete the sound on rhythm guitar and solid bass fiddle.

Old Country Road is dedicated to keeping the sound of vintage or traditional country music alive. It features songs from the Gold Age of Country Music; the 1950 – 1960’s; with some bluegrass and originals thrown in. They will take you back to the days of the Grand Ole Opry, and the Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville; the Mother Church of Country Music, when they perform songs by Hank Williams, Carl Smith, Webb Pierce, Kitty Wells, Faron Young, The Louvin Brothers, Stanley Brothers, and many others. Old Country Road features Dan Pilachowski on flat picking guitar, Ron Jackson on rhythm guitar and vocals; Mark Leveille on mandolin and vocals, and Dave Helman on stand-up bass.

Rich Sbardella has been calling square dances, contra dances, barn dances, and family dances throughout New England for over 30 years. He has also called in more distant states of the US including Florida, Nevada, Nebraska, and more. He has worked with some of the best New England dance musicians, and has about 150 calling engagements each year. He calls two barn dances a month at the Blue Slope Farm Museum in Franklin, CT and also organizes the Killingly, CT 1st Saturday Barn Dances. One of his recent highlights was to call dances at the Lowell Folk Festival, which is one of the largest free traditional music and dance events in the United States.

River City Slim and The Zydeco Hogs bring the exuberant sounds of the steamy bayous of southwestern Louisiana to the hills of New England. They serve up a hefty slab of greasy Zydeco, cooking up a spicy musical gumbo that combines the traditional sounds of the button accordion and washboard with a driving, pulsating, syncopated beat.

Seselia– Boston based Seselia performs mostly original music but also has a large repertoire of old time and bluegrass standards. Formed in 2021 by three Berklee College of Music students the band felt an immediate chemistry, they are known for their unique approach to acoustic music. With their album debut released the band is quickly gaining recognition.

Still Pickin’ is a Connecticut based duo comprised of talented Connecticut country music veteran Dennis Sheridan on acoustic guitar, mandolin, fiddle and vocals and Patricia McDonald on bass and vocals. The Still Pickin’ repertoire includes bluegrass favorites, some good ol’ country songs and notably, a number of original tunes. The year 2022 was one of good fortune for the band. Their original composition ‘OldGuys’ won an award at the Annual Podunk Bluegrass Festival songwriting contest, placing Second in the competition! In addition, the original tune ‘Freight Train’ received air-time on the hit SyFy Channel TV series ‘Resident Alien’! In 2023, they tragically lost their band leader and lead singer Jim Sharpley. Jim played banjo, dobro and guitar and was an inspiration to all who knew him. Jim’s circle of friends included many Podunk festival organizers and participants and his loss is felt by all. Pat and Dennis continue to play as a duet, maintaining the standard of solid musicianship as modeled by Jim in his years as band leader.

The Tenderbellies are a staple on the local Vermont music scene. They released their first full length album in 2023. Several of the band members first met in high school and their musical journey has included influences from jazz and the blues which is incorporated into their bluegrass evolution. They consider David Grisman and Tony Rice as influential key figures.