presented by Gibson Gives

For many Earl Scruggs Music Festival attendees, digging deeper into the music makes the songs and picking sound even better. Five free festival workshops offer fans a chance to hear stories and deep background from top genre stars as well as some grassroots figures they’ll never forget. 

The Earl Scruggs Music Festival workshops take place at THE LEGENDS WORKSHOP STAGE presented by Gibson Gives and are open to all festival attendees. Journalist and musician Thomas Goldsmith a biographer of Scruggs, acts as a planner, host and/or moderator for the events. 



Secrets of Scruggs Style

"Secrets of Scruggs Style," featuring Tony Trischka, the long-time Scruggs friend and banjo educator. Top-rank five-string men Charlie Cushman, of the Earls of Leicester, and Pete Wernick, co-founder of Hot Rize, will join Trischka in illuminating the basis of Scruggs's revolutionary style, its fire and its subtleties. For absorbing the mind-boggling inner architecture of Scruggs’s playing, it's the best show in town. Thomas Goldsmith brings ‘em on. 


Bluegrass: Big Shows. Big Future?

Acts such as the Del McCoury Band and the Infamous Stringdusters, display hardcore bluegrass ties as well as counterculture appeal, as they draw big festival crowds and new fans. What’s coming next? Rob McCoury and Ronnie McCoury, and Deanie Richardson from Sister Sadie will discuss what the trend means for the music, the musicians and the fans. Thomas Goldsmith moderates.

*All artist schedules subject to change



High Lonesome Songs: Then & Now

Tunes written by bluegrass founders Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, and the Stanley Brothers became crucial to a distinctive, self-sustaining identity for the new music style. Thomas Goldsmith and award-winning songwriter/educator Louisa Branscomb chair a lively discussion as contemporary songwriting stars Jon Weisberger and Celia Woodsmith explore themes that made early bluegrass songs memorable, and the elements and influences that have since shaped the tunes. 


Earl Scruggs: Music Man from the Piedmont

Our festival honoree didn’t just grow up and develop his style in Cleveland County. Earl Scruggs also felt a lifelong connection to the kinfolk, communities and countryside there and still shows up in the region’s best stories. With Earl’s nephew J.T. Scruggs, his friend Dean Jenks, veteran bluegrass journalist Penny Parsons and ESMF all-star Jerry Douglas. Thomas Goldsmith moderates the story fest. 

*All artist schedules subject to change


presented by Gibson Gives


Jerry Douglas: World-class Innovator

Resonator guitar standard-setter Jerry Douglas grew up on straightforward bluegrass and the influence of Earl Scruggs, Lester Flatt and dobro man Josh Graves. But like his mentor Scruggs, Douglas developed a striking new approach to his instrument. He’s come to excel in mainstream country, advanced jazz, songwriter folk, Celtic music, blues, and the “new acoustic” style he co-founded. Thomas Goldsmith asks: How did Douglas make all this work and how deep does Scruggs’s influence still run?


Wernick Method Jam Class

taught by Pete Wernick: Bring your instrument and learn to jam! No matter what skill level you are, you will leave knowing how to jam with other players. Be able to play G, C, A, D chords (matching notes on fiddle or bass). No jamming experience necessary! You don't have to register in advance but if you do, you will receive instructional materials in advance of the festival. Spectators welcome!


*All artist schedules subject to change