The British Bluegrass Music Association

The British Bluegrass Music Association was founded in 1990 with the aim of supporting and promoting bluegrass activity in the United Kingdom and making information about bluegrass music available to the general public. The association has been through a lot of changes since then, but after more then twenty years it is still going strong and working hard to get bigger and better all the time.

The BBMA publishes a quarterly magazine, The British Bluegrass News (BBN). Filled with information, reviews, articles, festivals and tour dates, it keeps our members up to date with what’s been happening in the British bluegrass community and informed of any future events of note. It is also a chance for members to impart their knowledge of bluegrass music and related subjects to the wider community and we encourage members to write articles and reviews for inclusion. For a more detailed look at the BBN, please see the relevant page on this website.

Everything the BBMA does to promote and support bluegrass in Great Britain, is only possible with the generosity and help of the British bluegrass community. The BBMA and all the people it helps are very aware and very grateful for that help and support. We sincerely hope you will join us in our endeavours to promote and support British bluegrass and it’s bands and musicians, both in the UK and around the world.


November 2019

Concert for a really good cause

7th Dec 2019


Country and Bluegrass concert  for the RNLI with Molly and the Blackbriar Band, Biggin Hillbillies, Joe Hymas (from Hayseed Dixie), Jolene Missing, One Tree Hillbillies, Captain Swing, Dave Plane Band, The Freightliners, Eddie Green


7.30pm to 11pm


Ruskin House

23 Coombe Road

South Croydon



£8 on the door

Bar and Raffle


Nearest station East Croydon

Cornish Bluegrass Festival

Some really sad news on Facebook this morning!  From the Cornish Festival Team.....

Important announcement

Due to rising costs and falling numbers, it is with deep regreat that we, the Cornish Bluegrass Association committee, are no longer able to continue to hold the Cornish Bluegrass Festival. Unfortunately our festival this year, 2019, was our final one.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for all your support over the years with special thanks to our loyal band of volunteers.

Carolyn, Nigel and committee.

Yet another  blow to our festival season.  The Cornish Festival has been a major part of our music for many years - and the contribution from its organisers - immense !    I hope that we will be able to recognise that input at a later date, but for now .... a big thank you to all those who have been involved over the years - you have provided both opportunities and entertainment for our Bluegrass Family - The Cornish Festival will be sadly missed!

October 2019

Robin Packham

Maybe not too many folks outside of Hampshire know Robin? He is one of our unsung hero’s who has been running the Pilot Session near Poole now for the last six years.  As well as his session support, Robin has acted as a conduit for any news about Bluegrass in his area - keeping our community informed and up to date.  Sadly Robin is having to stand down from his session as he is waiting for Heart Surgery.  We would like to thank him for all his efforts and wish him the very best and a rapid recovery.  Anyone out there who would like to help to keep his session going?  If you know Robin, then please make contact - if not, then please talk to me.

 Mandolin Tuition


 Helsby Community Centre

 Sunday, December 1, 2019 at 1 PM – 5 PM

Tickets by Eventbrite


Tickets from:

A relaxed afternoon of mandolin workshops with Mike Giverin (MandoMike) to provide some winter inspiration for any standard of player. 


Winter is here and we could all do with a bit of respite from the cold, dark days and the inevitable Christmas shopping ... so come and spend the afternoon with me, Mando Mike, playing the mandolin instead!

Richard Thrift

Sadly we report the death of Richard Thrift.  Richard was an important part of the British Bluegrass scene back in the 1980's, and with his brother Phil performed as The Thrifts. The  funeral was held at 2.00.p.m. Wednesday 23rd October in The Long Barrow Ceremony Hall at Harbour View, Lytchett Minster.  Following the funeral most folks gathered in the  Bakers Arms,  with many stories exchanged and songs and tunes played.  Richard would have approved ......


Please look in the next Magazine publication for our tribute to Richard.

The Bow-Legged Skeeter loses Founder Member

Richard Thrift a long time stalwart of British Bluegrass and founder member of Bluegrass Band ‘The Bow-Legged Skeeter’ passed away at the beginning of October after a long illness.

Richard was well known in the early days of Bluegrass in England as Guitarist and Singer with his younger brother, Banjo player Phil, performing as the Thrift Brothers. Richard was also a Banjoist and ten years ago started a Banjo slow jam in Bere Regis, Dorset which is still very active today. It was from this session that together with Charlie and Lindsey Cole and myself the ‘Skeeters were formed using Richards’  considerable experience and extensive repertoire of Bluegrass and Traditional American music as its core. I had first got to know Richard around 1984 when he used to come to a regular Sunday lunchtime gig in Bournemouth to listen to some other musicians that I was playing with at the time; against my better judgement he sold me a fiddle which I dont play but still have. He taught us a lot about how to approach Bluegrass and encouraged my now partner Lindsey, to play his ½ size double bass. 

Unfortunately the beginnings of health issues that were ultimately to cost him his life meant that Richard left the band in 2013 whilst continuing to run the slow jam that meant so much to him and his loyal disciples. He still continued to support the band and came to most of our gigs. 

Richard was a fine Singer, Guitarist and Banjo player and considerable wit with a dry sense of humour. He will be sadly missed as his influence in keeping Bluegrass music alive in the Dorset area was truly significant.

Peter Minkey

October 2019



The end of another festival season, and lots to reflect on.  The year has seen a number of  American musicians tour the UK, and we have been privileged to share their music. Do keep an eye on our tours page to see who is around.  Whilst we do our best to keep up to date, I’m sure there are some we miss, so please to notify us if you notice any yawning gaps!  The three September festivals have now passed - just the one American (Grant Gordy) at Didmarton. However, the next generation of UK players are raising the bar - and memorable performances from Midnight Skyracer at Didmarton, / Often Herd at Gower, / Pet Yeti and Cuppa Joe at Cornwall clearly demonstrate that there are exciting times to come .  Up at the other end of the UK - the Moniaive Festival, and they did have Wayne  Taylor & Appaloosa (USA) to round off the year.  


The big concern for all of us is the loss of a number festivals over the last few years.  We do need to support these events, the old …. use it or loose it comes to mind!  Our festivals run on a very tight budget, profit margins if any are small, and the financial risk high.  Promoting Bluegrass is hard work, but can also be very rewarding!  For those interested in becoming involved, talk to the BBMA - we may be able to help.  Please support your local Bluegrass events.


Chris Lord (Vangaurds) will be editing the next edition of the BBN - all contributions to the magazine are welcome,  its quite a task finding suitable content and then arranging the magazine itself.  So any ideas or articles - please post to Chris

The Often Herd - performing at the Gower Festival

October 2019

Crossover Festival

From the organisers

Sept 2019

The South Essex Festival

From  Richard lee –

It’s with pleasure that Mags and myself can confirm the South Essex Bluegrass Festival has a new organiser Tony Warman

next year’s date is confirmed please put in your diaries 9-12 July 2020

After all the work mags and I put into this event we are so happy that this great little festival is continuing 😀

Let’s support this guy in what will more than likely be a challenging first year

Y’all come

Propane Brothers

From the band

OUR NAME IS CHANGING! This is to coincide with our DEBUT ALBUM RELEASE.

We have changed our name from Propane Brothers to Pet Yeti. You can look us up on Facebook!

Just in case you don’t know these guys …..

Reuben and Benjamin Agnew (guitar and bass) are two brothers from Northern Ireland and perform as part of Cup O’ Joe. Their tight, sibling harmonies and instrumental prowess have already made them 2015 BBC Young Folk AwardFinalists as well as having made appearances on Irish television.

Kieran Towers (fiddle) becoming a name to watch out for on the UK and US bluegrass and old-time scenes, since having won the old-time fiddle contest at Gainsborough Festival in 2014, he recently released a duo album with Charlotte Carrivick of The Carrivick Sisters.

Joe Tozer (mandolin) has toured extensively in the UK, Europe and Canada with the band Cardboard Fox. Most recently he appeared at the International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass event in Raleigh, USA as an official showcasing artist – a first for any UK band.

John Breese (banjo) is another familiar face on the UK scene. Since graduating from his Masters’ Degree on classical guitar in 2011, he has gone on to tour and teach internationally with the banjo and double bass in various outfits including Cardboard Fox, The Carrivick Sisters, The Coal Porters and Thunderbridge Bluegrass Band.

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