Review: Wintergrass 2016 Corrals Musicians and Fans of All Shapes and Sizes

Joe Craven & The Sometimers
Joe Craven

Every winter here in the Seattle area, a very special and unique festival takes place in a hotel for conferences and meetings, with the Hyatt Regency in Bellevue, Washington hosting the annual Wintergrass Bluegrass Festival.

I have known of Wintergrass for many years, but had never had the chance to get there to participate. And participation is a key element to this event. This festival offers a variety of activities for attendees and performers alike.

This four-day festival offers workshops for attendees in guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, vocal harmony, songwriting, ukulele, bass, Dobro, lap steel guitar, singing, and so much more.  Also featured are programs and performances by area youth orchestras where the next generation of young musicians learn and practice their craft.

The Bombadils
The Bombadils

As you walk through the venue, the sound of music fills the air. People gather in various spots in the Hyatt to jam and collaborate. People stop in their tracks to enjoy the music-making in progress. People either sitting or standing, playing their instruments and singing in unabashed joy. There is also an opportunity for attendees to meet with instrument manufacturers and vendors offering a variety of products for musicians.

The other main component to Wintergrass is the performances from some of the best in the bluegrass and Americana genres. This year’s festival featured the likes of Jerry Douglas & The Earls of Leicester, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, The Seldom Scene and many more. Also regional bands are featured, like Rabbit Wilde from Bellingham and Stumptown Swing from Portland.

The Earls of Leicester
The Earls of Leicester

At the performances I attended, each room filled up to capacity. What was really nice was the down-home atmosphere and vibe of this festival. I met people who were long-time attendees and some who had just heard about it. All were thrilled to be there and take in all the activities.

One of the nicest things about Wintergrass was seeing people of all ages enjoy the many offerings at this annual festival. Next year’s Wintergrass is already scheduled for February 23 through the 26, 2017, again at the Hyatt Regency in Bellevue. Tickets are available online at

Seldom Scene
Seldom Scene

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Peter Dervin

Peter Dervin Bio I was born in Los Angeles, raised on BOSS Radio KHJ 930AM listening to the Real Don Steele, grew up listening to Dr. Demento on KMET 94.7, graduated to Rodney Bengenheimer on KROQ-FM. Started collecting records in high school, I haven’t stopped. Moved to the Northwest in 1989. Became a disc jockey and program host on 90.7 KSER in Everett, I was there for 18 years. Owned a record shop from 1993-1995 called Orbit Records. Mike McCready from Pearl Jam bought a PJ 45 from me. I wrote music reviews for a monthly called “The Taste of Everett”. I was Editor of a trade publication called the “Northwest Landscape Professional” I had always been photographing at the concerts I’ve attended. In 2010, the Grateful Dead used my photos from 1980 on a Road Trips CD release. I then began the journey of taking my photography to the next level. I have photographed a who’s who of musicians, bands and artists. From Los Lobos to DEVO and everything in between. You can see my portfolio at

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