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Jug Band Festival

The Great Northeast Jug Band Festival

Saturday, September 28, 2024, 2-6pm

New England’s ONLY Jug Band Festival will highlight traditions from the 1920’s and 30’s, and the modern evolution of this good-time music. This event is free and open to the public at the Arlington Craft Beer Garden at the Jason Russell House (7 Jason St, Arlington, MA 02476). Bring your lawn chairs and blankets and enjoy performances by three of the region's best Jug Bands!

NEW THIS YEAR! Join us the night before at Donut Villa for an Open Jug Band Jam! More details below. 

Arlington Craft Beer Garden is presented by the Jason Russell House and Arlington Historical Society. Craft Beer & Wine By American Beverage and Food By Menotomy Grill & Tavern.

RAIN LOCATION (PERFORMANCE + JAM ONLY): Arlington Community Center in the Main Hall, 27 Maple St Arlington, MA

Welcoming Jim Kweskin to the Jug Band Festival!

ACA is thrilled to be welcoming the legendary Jim Kweskin to the festival this year! Jim is the founder of the legendary 1960s Jim Kweskin Jug Band. Today, Jim's shows radiate charm, humor, sophistication and talent. Jim sings a collection of familiar songs by Benny Goodman, Johnny Mercer, the Sons of the Pioneers, Fats Waller, and Somethin' Smith & the Redheads. There's an endearing sense of good humor to Kweskin's interpretations that makes his performances a delight. Because of his vast repertoire and love of the music, Kweskin is recognized as one of the best interpreters of the great American songbook.


The line up this year features Jim Kweskin performing with a hand-picked group of musicians and sets by Outrageous Fortune and The Busted Jug Band

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Event Schedule

Friday, September 27

7:30-9:30PM | Open Jug Band Jam at Donut Villa

This free festival kicks off the night before with an open jug band jam lead by The Jug Nuts, in the back room of Donut Villa Diner in Arlington, MA, 7:30-9:30pm

Saturday, September 28

2-3PM | Jug Band Jam + DIY Instrument Making

Jug Band Jam: Calling all guitar players, uke strummers, banjo pickers, kazoo hummers, washboard beaters, and tub thumpers! Kick off the festival by participating in a jug band jam lead by The Jug Nuts!


Make your own musical instrument! We’ll provide materials and instructions to make simple shakers, hummable kazoos, and decorate-able jugs out of recycled or easily found materials.

3-6PM | Performances + Lecture

3PM - Outrageous Fortune

4PM - Jim Kweskin

5PM - Busted Jug Band

Make sure you stop into the Jason Russell House to view our Jug Band History Lecture with Ed Loechler!

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Jug Band Festival Know Before You Go

Please consult our Know Before You Go section for full details about our Great Northeast Jug Band Festival, including event location, directions, and more. To access a full transcript of this section, please download our Know Before You Go Guide


Accessing the outdoor space - The terrain of the outdoor space is mostly a flat grassy lawn. There are several large trees with protruding roots around the perimeter of the property. Parking is located along Mass Ave and Jason Street. For wheelchair and stroller access to the outdoor space, patrons can take a right onto Jason Terrace off of Jason St and there is a parking lot located behind the museum with a paved path to the lawn area. The perimeter also features a stone wall with an entrance opening along Jason Street. At this entrance, there is a small step up onto the pathway which is made up of large paver stones and grass. Accessing the Jason Russell House - A ramp provides wheelchair and stroller access to the Museum and the ground floor of the Jason Russell House.


No admission is required for this event, but refreshments require payment.

Directions and Transportation

The Jason Russell House and Museum are easily reached by automobile. From outside Boston take I-95 to Exit 29A, Route 2 East. Proceed on Route 2 to exit 59A, Pleasant Street. Make a left onto Pleasant Street. At Massachusetts Ave. make a left heading west toward Lexington. Make a left at Jason Street. Parking is located on Jason Street or take the next right onto Jason Terrace – the parking lot is located behind the museum. Additional parking may be found on Mass Ave and Arlington’s closest municipal parking lot is located at 78 Chestnut St, Arlington, MA 02474 and is .4 miles away from the Jason Russell House. Public transit offers several choices to bring you to our door. The MBTA bus routes 67, 77, 80, 87, and 350 all stop at Arlington Center. Many of these buses can be caught at the Red line station at Harvard or Alewife. Get off the bus in Arlington Center and travel west on Massachusetts Avenue to Jason Street.

Event Location and Venue Contact Info

Jason Russell House & Smith Museum 7 Jason Street Arlington, MA 02476-6410 Phone: (781) 648-4300 Email:

Event Set Up

The Arlington Craft Beer Garden will be providing beer and food available for purchase via credit card or cash, on the south side of the lawn. A tent with our feature Jug Band musicians will be set up on the north side of the lawn and patrons are invited to settle themselves somewhere on the grassy lawn to enjoy musical performances.


Masking is not required for the Beer Garden or Jug Band Festival spaces. Visitors are encouraged to wear a mask in the small interior spaces of the Jason Russell House.

Rain Location

If the Beer Garden is cancelled due to inclement weather, the Jug Band Festival and related activities will move indoors to the Arlington Community Center at 27 Maple St. Accessible parking and elevator access are available in this space. This location will not feature the beer garden or other refreshments.


There is no seating provided in the outdoor lawn space. Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets.

A man plays a steel banjo for the crowd at Jug Band Festival 2023
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Jug Band Festival T-Shirts

Support Arlington Center for the Arts and take away a keepsake from this year's Great Northeast Jug Band Festival!


Sales of the t-shirts from this event support ACA as we fulfill our mission to transform lives and build community through the arts.

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What's Jug Band Music?

It’s bluesy, jazzy, and fun! With roots from Appalachia, New Orleans, and Africa, jug band music started in the south (notably Louisville Kentucky and Memphis Tennessee) in the 1920’s and 30’s.  Highly popular "back in the day", jug bands such as Gus Cannon’s Jug Stompers and the Memphis Jug Band incorporated a variety of conventional and home-made instruments (such as spoons, washtub bass, and washboard), and, of course, featured jug-blowing as a rhythmic backbone.  Jug band music could have quietly slid into obscurity if not for a revival in the 1960’s by notable musicians such as John Sebastian, Jerry Garcia, Jim Kweskin, and Maria Muldaur. Today, the genre is alive and well, as you’ll get to hear and see when you come to the festival.

A man sings and plays the guitar at ACA's Jug Band Festival 2023
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