Started in 1990 by the Late Ken Wishart and wife, Rosemary, it was held for the first three years on their property in the small town of Nanton. Ken and Rosemary played, loved and embraced traditional bluegrass and made that the theme for the festival; a theme which remains firmly in place to this day. In 1993 it moved to Broadway farm, an event farm just east of Nanton, and this venue has made it truly unique. The main stage has always been in an enclosed pavilion the owners called “The Blue Sky Pavillion” , so patrons are high and dry if it’s raining, but if the sun is shining , as it mostly does the third weekend of August, the roof retracts to allow the glorious sun to shine in.
The festival was operated as a non-profit organization by committee until 2006, and was dormant for two years until Foothills Bluegrass Music Society of Calgary stepped in to rejuvenate it in 2009.
Over the years, much of the talent has come from Alberta and other known Canadian bluegrass bands, but many of the bands were high profile groups from USA; the likes of “The Special Consensus”, “Dry Branch Fire Squad”, “Bluegrass Etc.”, ”Chris and Sally Jones”, “Lost Highway” and “Jeff Scroggins and Colorado”.
The quality and presentation of talent has always been top notch, and the volunteers make it run smooth as silk. Combine this with the charm and uniqueness of Broadway Farm and it becomes one of the most unusual musical venues one would hope to find.
There is ample unserviced camping space and a family run food concession. Opens at noon on Friday with first music after supper, then all day Saturday and closes mid-afternoon on Sunday.
We are celebrating our 30th anniversary in 2020. To add to the excitement, we are moving the Shady Grove festival from Nanton to Sundre Alberta.