Sounds Local: Bluegrass superstars come to West Whately: Plus, last minute reminders for Green River Fest this weekend

Sister Sadie takes the stage at the Whately Town Hall on Thursday, June 27, at 7 p.m, as part of the Watermelon Wednesday music series.

Sister Sadie takes the stage at the Whately Town Hall on Thursday, June 27, at 7 p.m, as part of the Watermelon Wednesday music series. Photo by Eric Ahlgrom

Local musician Hannah Mohan is a late addition to the Green River Fest — she’ll be playing the Dean’s Beans stage on Saturday at 6 p.m. 

Local musician Hannah Mohan is a late addition to the Green River Fest — she’ll be playing the Dean’s Beans stage on Saturday at 6 p.m.  CONTRIBUTED


For the Recorder

Published: 06-19-2024 1:17 PM

In 2020, the Nashville-based bluegrass band Sister Sadie accomplished what no all-female bluegrass band had ever done: They won the International Bluegrass Music Association Entertainer of the Year award. That honor is only one of the many bestowed on the group, but it may be the one they are most proud of since it proved that they are a significant force in a male-dominated genre.

That same year, the group earned Vocal Group of the Year, while Sister Sadie member Deanie Richardson became the second woman in 30 years to win the IBMA’s Fiddle Player of the Year.

You’ll have a chance to hear what all these accolades are about when Sister Sadie takes the stage at the Whately Town Hall on Thursday, June 27, at 7 p.m. This show is part of the Watermelon Wednesday music series. Please take note that this show is on Thursday. Occasionally, the date and needs to change due to artists’ scheduling, while the move to a larger venue reflects ticket demand.

Paul Newlin, the director of Watermelon Wednesdays, said that as a bluegrass fan, he’s very excited to have booked this band.

The group’s amazing talents as instrumentalists, combined with their stunning vocals, are the reasons behind their success. The group is comprised of original members Deanie Richardson (fiddle), Gena Britt (banjo and vocals), and newcomers Jaelee Roberts (guitar and vocals), Dani Flowers (guitar and vocals), and Maddie Dalton (acoustic bass and vocals).

If you are a bluegrass fan you’ve probably heard of the band as they have been around since 2012. They initially came together to play a one-off show at The Station Inn in Nashville. They were all established musicians with their own projects going, but since they all knew each other, they thought it would be fun to play this one show together. It was fun, and the crowd loved it. They felt that they could get together occasionally and play special events. The one-off show turned into a regular gig, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The name Sister Sadie was inspired by a Tony Rice song, “Little Sadie,” and the fact that the members feel like sisters.

The longer they played together the more honors they received. They have been awarded the Vocal Group of the Year by the International Bluegrass Association three times and were nominated for a Grammy for 2018’s “Sister Sadie II.”

Earlier this year, they unveiled their third album, “No Fear,” which is a testament to their versatility, with elements of country, folk, and even a touch of rock. The band even ventures into new territory with the inclusion of electric guitar.

So whether you are an old fan or open to discovering your next favorite band, this is a show you won’t want to miss.

Tickets are available at

Green River Fest reminders

It’s finally time! Tomorrow is the start of the Green River Festival and it’s looking to be a hot one in every sense of the word. To make sure you are good to go, I’ve put together a few last minute updates and reminders.

If you haven’t yet purchased tickets they are still available. There is a pop up box office being held today (June 20) at the Iron Horse, 18 Center St. in Northampton where you can purchase tickets. There will be no fees on cash sales and reduced fees on credit card sales when purchased in person at this box office. If you have already purchased tickets you can also pick up your wristbands here. Of course you can still purchase tickets at

Parking passes that allow you to park at the fairgrounds are sold out. The free shuttle will run continuously from in front of Hawks & Reed to the fairgrounds one hour before the gates open and one hour after the last set. Many of the neighbors will offer parking in their yards for a fee. There is no parking on the side streets near the fairgrounds. Biking is strongly encouraged. A free bike valet service will be available next to the main entrance.

The weather is always a big concern for an outdoor festival and so far the weekend weather predictions are rather concerning. As of writing, there is a major heat wave predicted to run through Friday, so come prepared to sweat a bit. You’ll want to hydrate heavily. Bring a water bottle, keeping in mind that glass and single use plastic is not allowed. There will be water filling stations as well as misting stations available. Bring the usual sunglasses, sun block and a hat. There are shaded spot throughout the fairgrounds including Halberg Hall, underneath the grandstand.

There will be shows indoors at the Round House, but there is limited seating with priority given to VIP ticket holders. You may want to consider upgrading to a VIP add on. Saturday and Sunday could bring some showers, so bring your rain gear!

There will be a couple of radio shows broadcasting throughout the weekend. Jim Olsen will broadcast his Sunday morning Back Porch radio show fittingly on the Back Porch stage. This will run from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m and will be full of surprise guest performances. New England Public Media’s afternoon show, the Fabulous 413 hosted by Kaliis Smith and Monte Belmonte, will broadcast live from the fairgrounds on Friday from 3 to 4 p.m. They also promise some surprise pop up shows over the weekends. Tuning into these shows is a great way for those of you not attending to still get a bit of the festival experience..

Don’t forget to show some love for your local bands! There is an assortment of local talent performing this weekend, everyone from indie folk rock band Love Crumbs (they are a seven-piece band now) who will open the main stage on Saturday, to post-rock band Prewn, who will open the Dean’s Bean stage on the same day. Kalliope Jones and Cloudbelly are also part of the lineup.

Local musician Hannah Mohan is a late addition to the festival — she’ll be playing the Dean’s Beans stage on Saturday at 6 p.m.

Many of you know Mohan from And the Kids, the band she fronted for a decade. They split during COVID and now Mohan is gearing up to release her solo debut, “Time is a Walnut,” next month.

It was also just announced one time local band Speedy Ortiz has had to cancel their Saturday performance (lead singer Sadie Dupuis was in a bicycle accident and broke her elbow).

The full schedule of who is playing when is available on the website. Enjoy!

Sheryl Hunter is a freelance writer who resides in Easthampton. Her work has appeared in various regional and national publications. She can be reached at