While next year will mark Monica Rizzio’s 20th year on Cape Cod, she has held fast to her Texan roots. It can be witnessed this Sunday when she kicks off the 9th Annual Vinegrass Music Festival at Truro Vineyards.
“I’ve always wanted to bring American roots music to Cape Cod. Growing up in East Texas, we were surrounded by the fiddle and bluegrass,” she said. “I’ve found traditional music like Stephen Foster, Bill Monroe, and the legends of old American music are an incredible way to introduce young kids to music.”
Since 2014, Rizzio and her husband, Pete Fasano, have been exposing Cape Codders of all ages to the genre that has had a profound impact on her own music career. That was the first year the couple organized the Vinegrass festival as a fundraiser for their nonprofit of the same name which provides scholarships to students studying music in college and provides funding for music camps, workshops, and instruments to children in need.
The impact of Vinegrass can be measured in the more than $105,000 in scholarships, grants, and instruments it has funded to further the musical passions of local children.
It is one of the selling points for people to attend this weekend’s festival – by doing so, you’ll be supporting an important cause. The other? “You’re guaranteed to have a great time,” Rizzio said. “When people come once, they usually come back year after year.”
That’s because Rizzio and Fasano curate a lineup of some of the top American roots bands and musicians in the country.
It starts with Rizzio, who has shared the stage with Tom Rush, Diana Krall, Boz Scaggs, and Chris Botti over the course of her career. On Sunday, she’ll do so with her band, the Round Up.
They will be followed by the Boston-based Twisted Pine which performed at Vinegrass in 2016. NPR had high praise for the group’s, “upbeat, poppy vibe; energetic, driving rhythms; and virtuosic solos.”
The Last Revel will bring a Midwest flare to the day. The talented trio, which hails from Nashville, TN, Minneapolis, MN, and Bozeman, MT, are fresh off the heels of their fifth studio album, Dovetail. “I’m really excited to see them,” said Rizzio. “They are really high energy, fantastic musicians with lots of vocal harmonies.”
Closing out the festival is the six-piece band, The High Hawks which is fronted by Vince Herman of Leftover Salmon and features Tim Carbone of Railroad Earth, and Adam Greuel of Horseshoes & Hand Grenades. “They make expansive rock in the vein of The Grateful Dead,” Rolling Stone’s Jon Freeman and Joseph Hudak wrote, describing their sound as, “a bit of breezy jam-rock that extolls the pleasures of music and togetherness.”
“The High Hawks only perform a handful of dates a year,” said Rizzio. “We’re really excited they are on board to perform at our festival.”
Sunday will be the first year that Vinegrass has a second stage, dubbed the Vine Stage, featuring three regional artists — Cape Cod’s own Troubadour Davis; Tom Hagerty, who was part of one of the first bluegrass bands on the Cape; and The Simple Sisters featuring Lydia Parkington and Meagan Gillis.
Among the sponsors for the festival is the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod, a nonprofit committed to supporting and strengthening a vibrant arts and cultural sector for everyone in the region. “The Arts Foundation has been at the forefront of Vinegrass since we first started. They were our 501c3 umbrella organization while we became a nonprofit,” said Rizzio. “They’ve always been there to help us. We’re very like-minded organizations with what we’re trying to do – establish more arts on the Cape and more opportunities for individuals to enjoy the arts. We’re grateful for their work and what they are doing on Cape Cod.”
Gates for Sunday’s Vinegrass Music Festival open at 11 am with the concert going until 5 pm. Children 16 years and younger are free with a paid adult. To purchase tickets, click this link.