Baldcypress Bluegrass Festival set for May 21 in Frankford

Event featuring Grammy-nominated guitarist to benefit Delaware Wild Lands

Grammy-nominated musician Courtney Hartman will headline the Baldcypress Bluegrass Festival in Sussex County on May 21. In addition to her solo career, Hartman is also guitarist and vocalist for the all-female group Della Mae.

Four other bands will play sets in advance of Hartman’s performance: Kindred Spirits, Saltwater String Band, Flatland Drive and a group formed for the festival, called New & Spare Fools (featuring Mickey Justice and Todd Smith of Such Fools, Jon Simmons and Martin Wirtz of New & Used Bluegrass, and Wes Parks of No Spare Time).

The Baldcypress Bluegrass Festival is a benefit event for Delaware Wild Lands (DWL), Delaware’s oldest and largest non-profit land conservation. The festival grounds will be on the Roman Fisher Farm (24558 Cypress Road, Frankford) at the edge of the Great Cypress Swamp, the largest contiguous forest on the Delmarva Peninsula. DWL owns and manages 11,000 acres of the swamp, and 10,000 additional acres in Kent and New Castle counties.

The festival will run from noon to 6 p.m. Tickets for adults cost $25 in advance or $30 at the gate. Children ages 5-17 pay $10. Kids younger than 5 will be admitted free of charge. Tickets can be purchased online at

Local craft beer will be sponsored by Crooked Hammock and Dogfish. Wine will be provided by Nassau Valley Vineyards. A bevy of food trucks will offer a menu provided by: Mr. Bar-B-Que, B.K. Catering and Vinnie’s Pizza Truck, and ice cream for dessert from Vanderwende Farm Creamery. Festival activities will include games, vendors, and tours.

More than music

Tickets to the Baldcypress Bluegrass Festival include the opportunity jump onto a guided bus tour looping through the 11,000-acre Great Cypress Swamp. DWL is actively restoring forests, wetlands and wildlife habitat in the ecosystem. Local experts will be on hand to answer questions and explain more about the history of the swamp.

Games and vendors will also be offered during the festival.

Delaware Wild Lands is committed to long-term and large scale habitat restoration in the Swamp. The group has planted more than 165,000 trees there since 2011, in an effort to improve what is considered one of the most important natural resources on the Delmarva Peninsula.

Traditional uses continue on the land, including sustainable forestry, farming and hunting.

“Our forward-thinking management approach is reversing decades of degradation, and rehydrating hundreds of acres of wetland habitat,” representatives noted. “A plethora of wildlife and birds are now thriving in the Great Cypress Swamp, including wild turkey, redheaded woodpeckers, river otter, carpenter frogs, bald eagles, wood ducks, teal and several other species of waterfowl.”

The Great Cypress Swamp is featured in a six-page article and photo spread in the Spring 2016 issue of DNREC’s Outdoor Delaware magazine, available online at