Nevada County Fairgrounds hosts the Strawberry Music Festival in Grass Valley is home to the Nevada County Fair and the Draft Horse Classic. Located under tall pine trees, the fairgrounds are often referred to as “California’s most beautiful fairgrounds.”
But it also is gaining stature as a gathering place for music festivals and world-famous musicians. Two summers ago, on the same weekend, country music icons Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard performed at the Fairgrounds, thanks largely to The Center for the Arts.
This year the Nevada County Fairgrounds scored a coup, landing the Strawberry Music Festival on September 11-14 long considered the premiere music festival in the Sierra. Since 1982, the festival has brought musicians and festival-goers from throughout the world to the idyllic setting of Camp Mather, just outside the gates of Yosemite National Park.
A family festival—featuring four days of music, camping and recreation—features Americana, bluegrass, blues, folk, swing, rock, Cajun, Celtic and gospel. Lyle Lovett, K.D. Lang, Alasdair Fraser, and the late U. Utah Phillips have performed at the festival. It draws as many as 7,000 people.
The Tower of Power will perform at the Festival on September 13. More performers are listed here.
Last year, Strawberry Music’s Fall Festival was cancelled due to the Rim Fire that burned all around Camp Mather. After being denied a permit for this year’s fall festival at the site, they came to the Nevada County Fairgrounds to ask for sanctuary so the festival could continue.
The Strawberry Music Festival joins several popular music festivals held at the Nevada County Fairgrounds throughout the year.
This year’s line-up includes: CBA Father’s Day Bluegrass Festival, June 12-15; Music in the Mountains SummerFest, June 26-July 3; California WorldFest, July 10-13; and the KVMR Celtic Festival & Marketplace, Sept. 26-28.
KVMR’s 18th annual Celtic Festival & Marketplace debuted at the Fairgrounds in 1996. What began as a relatively simple gathering has now grown to include Scottish games, sheepdog trials, birds of prey, Claude the fire-breathing dragon, jam sessions, five stages of entertainment and a crowd upwards of 7,000.
Festival-goers enjoy camping at the Fairgrounds. The RV Park has 44 sites with full hook-ups, about 100 sites with water and power hook-ups, and numerous RV sites without hook-ups throughout the grounds.
(Source: Sierra FoodWineArt, photo: Strawberry Music Festival)