Bluegrass From The Forest

Runaway Train Bluegrass Band jamming in the campground. ©Megan White

bluegrass from the forest

By Rachel Hansen

Hosted by the Kristmas Town Kiwanis since 2004, Bluegrass From The Forest is returning to Shelton as an outdoor festival on September 10-12 to accommodate safe COVID protocols for attendees and performers. Camping, jamming, workshops, and national bluegrass bands have always been the hallmarks of this annual event and organizers are delighted to be gathering again in this new festival location.

Having canceled in 2020 and fearing similar indoor restrictions in 2021, organizers determined early on that, for this year at least, it was necessary to give a miss on the cushioned chairs in the Shelton School auditorium and head for for more space to enjoy the event – outdoors!

Bluegrass From The Forest

Chick’s Kids Workshop culminates in a short performance of all the kids on Saturday.  ©Shawna Whelen

Bluegrass From The Forest

Selected to perform at IBMA’s World of Bluegrass, Crying Uncle performs Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Bluegrass from the Forest in Shelton. ©Crying Uncle

Bluegrass From The Forest

Early “logger "Bluegrass bands often formed in rural areas as musicians came together to entertain for community events. ©Mason County Historical Museum, Shelton

“Since the event began in 2004 we have really appreciated the auditorium for main stage performances,” remarked organizer and Kiwanis member, Duane Wilson,  “but to make it fun and safe for everyone it has been great to brainstorm creative additions in the new space that will make the event even better. We may decide to keep it as an outdoor event!”

Family Weekend Getaway

Explore Hood Canal

The expanded camping with its forest backdrop hosts over 20 acres for families to find their own areas to enjoy the music and activities. With two stage areas, a beer and wine garden, workshops and family activities including Chick’s Kids Music Workshop, Midnight Hot Dogs and an all ages Country Dance, there is plenty for everyone to do. This year the event will also have on site dining from local food trucks as well as breakfast, lunch and dinner menu served from the on site kitchen.

This is a fantastic event for a local camp destination with the family. Stay for one, two or all three nights of live performances and workshops and enjoy the surrounding areas like Hood Canal or Olympic National Park during the day.  Now that the roads and trails are less crowded, this is the ideal time to Explore Hood Canal! A weekend event pass for the whole family (two adults and up to 4 kids) is $110 and camping is just $15 a night. Camping is available Thursday through Sunday so pack up your RV and camp chairs, you can’t get a better family weekend deal!

Dinner and a Show

Friday, September 10 (6-8 PM) celebrated local chef, Xinh Dwelley, will be joining the event in a fundraising dinner to support the Karen Hilburn Cancer Fund.  The meal includes BBQ plus sautéed Hammersley Inlet clams  and dessert  from Olympic Mountain Ice Cream. 

Guests can picnic in front of the stage with live music beginning at 6:30 PM.  

Chef Xinh Dwelley will be guest chef Friday. Proceeds benefit the Karen Hilburn Cancer Fund. Details & tickets available at

Recently Xinh began her second cookbook she undergoes treatment for an aggressive form of cancer. 

Xinh Dwelley

Bluegrass Bands from California and Montana Lead the Lineup

Main stage bands include Crying Uncle from California, Kristen Grainger & True North, Kian Dye and Whiskey Deaf, and The Bar-K Buckaroos, all traveling to the festival from Oregon;  Kentucky Sky from Montana, and local favorite Bluegrass band, Runaway Train. Afternoon and evening tickets start at $20 with special rates for kids and families. For a complete list of the bands visit

Kristmas Town Kiwanis will be following all COVID protocols in this outdoor facility. Masks are required when social distancing is not possible. Visit for additional details or to book your tickets.