bring the family!
a message from the president of the
california Bluegrass Association

Tickets are now on sale HERE for the 43rd Annual CBA Father’s Day Bluegrass Festival. Members receive a significant discount on Early Bird Tickets and children under 16 years old are always free with a ticketed adult. We are family-friendly and welcome children with activities developed just for them and children LOVE to camp. We also have the best ice cream sold on the planet at the Lazy Dog Ice Cream Booth.

There are many options for both tent camping and RV camping. Full Hookup RV camping is determined by lottery for members only, check out our publications for details. Electric Only Hookups are available with ticket purchases. Tent camping is located throughout the festival grounds although avoid the “Tent Camping Only” area near Gate 4 unless your family appreciates 24 hour jamming and crowded camp sites.

Even though we allow dogs and cats, leave your pet at home unless you are camping in an RV. The pet rules were originally developed for those who travel with pets in RVs. Your pet does not enjoy bluegrass and old time music as much as you do and will be happier with more freedom at home.

Porta-potties are placed strategically through the Nevada County Fairgrounds and the People Mover can transport you from your camp to the stages/concession area. Bicycles are allowed (helmets required for children). No bicycles are allowed inside the performance/concession area and must be left at the fence surrounding that area.

Activities just for children are KidFest (recreational), Kids on Bluegrass (performance) and the CBA Youth Academy (instructional, separate registration, tuition fee). KidFest is held every morning and afternoon Thursday through Saturday near the stage for toddler to mid-range kids and parents must stay and supervise the activities. There are crafts and music related activities held in a fenced in area. Kids on Bluegrass (KOB) for 3-17 year olds begins on Thursday afternoon near Gate 4 and requires a time commitment for rehearsals and Friday and Saturday late afternoon performances on the main stage. Frank Solivan directs this program and each child is required to participate in a low-stress audition process Thursday. Parents are not required to stay with their children during the KOB rehearsals.

The CBA Youth Academy (enrollment opens 2/15/18 - click here to register) is a Wednesday through Saturday camp with a tuition of $300 for the 4 days for 8-16 year olds. Information may be found in the Bluegrass Breakdown and/or the website or by emailing The Academy only enrolls 50 children and sells out each year.

The Grass Valley/Nevada City areas feature architecturally (gold rush) downtowns and a visit to both downtown areas is recommended as are drives through the neighborhoods. The Empire Mine State Historic Park is located in downtown Grass Valley and was the richest hard-rock mine in California and operated 1850-1956. This is a lovely park and worth a visit and tour. Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park is a 30 minute drive away and features small buildings and acres of what Hydraulic Mining destruction looks like a century later

My own family always arrived on the Fairgrounds the Sunday before the festival. The Fairgrounds begins to fill with Music Camp participants on Sunday as well. We spent the days before the Festival swimming in the local Grass Valley and Nevada City public swimming pools, visiting the Yuba River and the various lakes within driving distance of the grounds. We took advantage of the reasonable camping fees and explored the California history of the Gold Rush. I encourage other families to come early and enjoy Nevada County.