The Infamous Stringdusters (top left), Della Mae, Noam Pikelny/Stuart Duncan and Mipso. (Photos: Contributed)

The annual 3 Sisters Festival of bluegrass music returns this fall with two nights of amazing music on the banks of the Tennessee River.

The Oct. 5—6 festival will include headliners Infamous Stringdusters, Della Mae, Mipso, Noam Pikelny, Stuart Duncan and Friends.

Admission is free. Food and beverage vendors will be on-site, and several restaurants are within walking distance.


On Saturday, the festival will also include a special 3 Sisters Picking Party with The Gibson Brothers, Sierra Hull, Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley.

See the full schedule below.

This year marks the 12th year for the festival, a free event featuring both contemporary and traditional bluegrass superstars. The festival takes place at Ross’s Landing during the early fall each year and is hosted by Fletcher Bright Co.

3 Sisters Festival was named one of the top five bluegrass festivals by Great American Country. The festival is rain or shine, and attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets, tarps and umbrellas to enjoy the music.

The 2018 event marks the first year without Fletcher Bright. The longtime Chattanooga businessman and musician died Christmas Day. He was 86.

Bright’s son, George Bright, founded the 3 Sisters Festival in 2007. He named the event after his three sisters, Elizabeth, Ann and Lucy. Attendance is regularly over 5,000 for the weekend each year.

The lineup:

Friday, Oct. 5

  • The New Dismembered Tennesseans 6 p.m.
  • Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper 6:50 p.m.
  • Della Mae, 8:10 p.m.
  • The Infamous Stringdusters 9:30 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 6

  • Mountain Cove Band, 12 p.m.
  • Circus No. 9, 1 p.m.
  • Berklee College of Music Fiddlers, 2:10 p.m.
  • Bill Evan and Dan Crary, 3:15 p.m.
  • The Crowe Brothers, 4:20 p.m.
  • Mipso, 5:30 p.m.
  • 3 Sisters Picking Party, 7 p.m.
  • Noam Pikelny, Stuart Duncan and Friends, 8:30 p.m.

Infamous Stringdusters
The Infamous Stringdusters will headline the Friday performances. No strangers to Chattanooga, the Stringdusters have “consistently covered new ground, inspired fans, and redefined what a bluegrass band can be” in a world full of traditionalism. “Within thirteen years since their 2005 formation, the band has consistently forged ahead, relentlessly exploring the musical possibilities of a “bluegrass ensemble” and breaking down boundaries in the process.” Watch “Possum” below.

Chapel Hill natives, Mipso have just released their new album “Edges Run.” Fans can expect to hear performances of new songs and old favorites during their set. The quartet is “influenced by the contradiction of its progressive home and the surrounding rural southern landscapes.” Their music has been called “hewing surprisingly close to gospel and folk while still sounding modern and secular.” Watch the video for “Moonlight” below.

Noam Pikelny & Stuart Duncan
Stuart Duncan, one of the most sought-after fiddle players alive, is a Grammy Award-winning fiddler and member of the legendary Nashville Bluegrass Band. He has performed with George StraitDolly PartonReba McEntire and Barbra Streisand, as well as many more. What Duncan is to the fiddle, Noam Pikelny is to the banjo. A founding member of The Punch Brothers (with Chris Thile), he is also a recipient of Steve Martin’s Prize for Excellence in Bluegrass Music Award. The duo has performed together at the Barking Legs Theater. Watch a virtuosic performance of “Wheel House” below.