Founded in 2008 by bluegrass legend Del McCoury, Delfest has since grown into a bucket list event for fans of string music, offering one of the most sought-after festival tickets every Memorial Day weekend.
Taking place at the Allegany County Fairgrounds along the banks of the Potomac River in Cumberland, Maryland, the 2023 iteration of the family-friendly gathering will include performances from artists including St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Trampled by Turtles, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Rising Appalachia and McCoury himself.
Produced in conjunction with High Sierra Music, the eclectic festival aims to honor the ongoing legacy of Hall of Famer and six-time IBMA Male Vocalist of the Year Del McCoury with various tributes and other specially curated programming alongside his three performances throughout the weekend.
In addition to celebrating Del’s contributions to bluegrass music, the festival also enriches the next generation of bluegrass all-stars with the three-day Delfest Academy, hosted by The Travelin’ McCourys and others earlier in the week.
With over three dozen acts, four late night shows, countless sit-ins and surprises around every corner there’s really no wrong way to experience Delfest (other than missing it altogether). So put on your dancing shoes, grab your favorite beverage and get ready for one “Del” of a time, because one of the east coast’s most beloved festivals is back for another round.
This is Holler's guide to five of the best acts to see at Delfest 2023.
Fresh off her nomination for Artist of the Year at the forthcoming Americana Honors & Awards, Sierra Ferrell is sure to dazzle in her highly anticipated Delfest debut. The ‘In Dreams’ singer’s infectious charm, vintage warble and knack for collaboration (she recently featured with Paul Cauthen on a track from Diplo’s Diplo Presents Thomas Wesley: Chapter 2 - Swamp Savant) leave all possibilities on the table for what’s likely to be a high-flying and genre-bending set.
With a new album dropping in July, reigning Grammy winner for Bluegrass Album of the Year Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway are certain to give attendees a taste of her new music come showtime this weekend. One of the best young guitar pickers around, Tuttle’s appreciation for bluegrass music’s past and ability to carve out her own space in the increasingly progressive genre exemplify Delfest’s values and are a perfect illustration of why the blossoming artist has such wide appeal.
Making her first appearance at Delfest since 2019, the Michigan-born and Nashville-based Lindsay Lou will wow the festival crowd with her sweet, soulful harmonies and serene storytelling when she takes the stage on Friday and Saturday. A collaborator with everyone from Billy Strings to Peter Rowan and May Erlewine, there’s no telling who she’ll share the stage with in the picturesque foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.
Led by charismatic frontman Casey Campbell, Cincinnati-based folk collective Buffalo Wabs & The Price Hill Hustle will bring their intimate blend of front porch and campfire pickin’ music to the masses during their maiden voyage at Delfest. A staple of their downhome sound has long been Campbell’s pairing of a rusty chain and snare drum that is guaranteed to get the crowd kicking up dust and dancing with glee.
Always a must-see affair, Delfest’s late night shows again look to be one of the major highlights of the festival in its 15th go around. Collectively the offerings give everyone from Dead Heads to bluegrass traditionalists and R&B lovers something to dance to into the wee hours of the morning, with performances from Keller Williams’ Grateful Grass featuring The Hillbenders on Thursday, The Infamous Stringdusters with Kitchen Dwellers on Friday, The California Honeydrops with Cris Jacobs on Friday and The Travelin’ McCourys on Sunday.
For more on Delfest, see below: