Philadelphia Folk Festival welcomes Gangstagrass to 2024 Lineup
Photo credit: Melodie Yvonne

(Philadelphia, PA – March 1, 2024) – The Philadelphia Folk Festival, an iconic celebration of folk music, is ecstatic to announce Gangstagrass for its highly anticipated 2024 edition. Returning to the historic Old Pool Farm in Upper Salford Township, Pennsylvania, from August 16th to 18th, the Festival promises a weekend filled with exceptional music, community, and culture. Tickets for the 61st edition of the Festival are now on early bird sale and can be purchased at on our Buy Tickets! page.

Gangstagrass, a groundbreaking fusion of American Bluegrass and Hip-Hop, is set to grace the Festival stage once again after their electrifying performance at the digital PFF in 2020. Hailed by The New York Times as “The Music America Needs,” Gangstagrass brings a unique blend of genres that captivates audiences across the nation. As part of the Festival’s presentation of educational workshops, Gangstagrass will be leading a workshop spotlighting the Jim Crow-era origins of American music genres.

Formed by Rench, a visionary musician and producer based in Brooklyn, Gangstagrass features a diverse lineup including R-Son the Voice of Reason, who hails from Philadelphia, Dolio the Sleuth, Dan Whitener, and B.E. Farrow. The band members hail from varied backgrounds, with pursuits ranging from music to academia and law enforcement.

The return of the Philadelphia Folk Festival follows a brief hiatus in 2023, during which the organization underwent strategic restructuring. Thanks to the unwavering support of the volunteer Board of Directors, Fest volunteers, partners, donors and Philadelphia Folksong Society members, the Festival now stands on solid financial ground, poised to deliver an unforgettable experience in its 61st year.

The 2024 event promises a more immersive and inclusive experience for attendees of all ages, with a focus on a diverse array of performers spanning international, regional, and hyper-local talent, daytime workshops, in-the-round stages and more. Additionally, Festival-goers can look forward to the return of beloved traditions such as the Thursday night ‘Camp Stage’ kick-off performance, exclusively for campers, the ‘Campfire open mic’ sessions, and an expanded roster of daytime activities and craft vendors.

Attendees can expect a reinvigorated celebration of folk music and community, honoring the legacy of legendary performers while embracing emerging talent and new experiences. Please follow us on social media, @philadelphiafolkfestival, or subscribe to our newsletter here.


Gangstagrass has been praised in a wide variety of leading outlets including The New York TimesForbesRolling Stone, NPRVice, HipHopDx, and The Wall Street Journal, as well as a national broadcast feature on PBS. With more than a decade of shattering barriers and global touring, this rebellious collective has achieved unparalleled success in crafting an innovative sound rooted in historically significant heritage.

Above all, Gangstagrass emphasizes the value of education, frequently conducting workshops for K-12, college students, and adults of diverse backgrounds. Whether through engaging Q&A sessions, historical lessons, or spontaneous music tutorials, the group staunchly advocates for imparting well-rounded knowledge to everyone. 

In addition to this announcement, TODAY Gangstagrass released the title of their 10-track album, THE BLACKEST THING ON THE MENU, due out Friday, June 14. The album’s sophomore single and its official music video, “Good at Being Bad” were released TODAY! Co-produced by the GRAMMY Award-winning Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell and recorded at the legendary Royal Studios in Memphis, TN, the track, with masterful mandolin playing, dynamic production, and energetic vocals, seamlessly blends funk with Gangstagrass’s distinctive fusion of bluegrass and hip-hop. Stream “Good at Being Bad” HERE.

Conceived as a studio endeavor 15 years ago by Rench, a Brooklyn-based producer handling vocals, guitar, and beats, Gangstagrass has evolved into a vibrant and improvisational band, forging camaraderie from the most unexpected of origins. The group harmonizes the unwavering array of skills from Rench, R-SON the Voice of Reason (MC), and Dolio the Sleuth (MC, Vocals), in addition to featuring Dan “Danjo” Whitener (Banjo, Vocals), and B.E. Farrow (Fiddle, Vocals), among other brilliant instrumentalists. With roots across the country, the ensemble has skillfully blended the traditional sounds of fiddles and banjos with contemporary hip-hop beats. This unique blend and creative innovation have propelled the band to worldwide success. As the pioneers who made history as the first-ever band to bring real hip-hop MCs to the #1 spot on the Billboard Bluegrass Chart, Gangstagrass is well-acquainted with challenging norms. Their groundbreaking work led to them receiving UNESCO’s “International Innovator” award. Particularly noteworthy is their creation of the iconic “Long Hard Times to Come” — which served as the opening theme song for every episode of the hit FX show Justified — earning Gangstagrass a 2010 Primetime Emmy nomination in the “Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music” category. The group also saw recognition on America’s Got Talent in 2021, as judge Howie Mandel praised Gangstagrass as “the recipe that America has been looking for until now,” ultimately reaching the quarter-finals.