BIG SKY – The eighth annual Big Sky Big Grass Festival is returning to Big Sky Resort Feb. 7-9 with The Infamous Stringdusters kicking off the weekend at Whiskey Jack’s, Thursday, Feb. 6.

The “Dusters,” hailing from Charlottesville, Va., are known for a relentlessly evolving style of music that continues to break the barriers of bluegrass. The band has won awards for Song of the Year, Emerging Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, and their third album, “Things That Fly,” garnered a Grammy for Best Country Instrumental.

The long-running festival merges with the Big Sky Big Grass Music Academy offered Feb. 5-7, featuring well-known instructors from all walks of the bluegrass community.

Playing on Feb. 7 are The Special Consensus, a classic, energetic bluegrass band which received a Grammy nomination for Best Bluegrass Album (“Scratch Gravel Road”); Tony Trischka Territory, featuring legendary banjo player Tony Trischka; and Darol Anger & Friends, finishing the evening with his versatile, world renowned fiddle playing.

Featured bands on Feb. 8 are Two Bit Franks, Chris Jones and the Night Drivers, and event headliner the Sam Bush Band. A leader of the New Grass revival, Bush has helped expand the genre’s horizons by fusing it with rock, blues, funk and other styles. At 61 years old, he has been honored with numerous awards, including a lifetime achievement for instrumentalist award from the Americana Music Association.

The Travelin’ McCourys, sons of the bluegrass legend Del McCoury, wrap up the weekend on Feb. 9 along with the Drew Emmitt Band, featuring mandolin player Drew Emitt of Leftover Salmon. Close out the evening with an encore performance by The Infamous Stringdusters.

The Big Sky Big Grass Regional Band Showcase will be held at Whiskey Jack’s, Feb. 7-9, from 3:30-5:30 p.m., and features Montana’s emerging bluegrass talents Holler N’ Pine and the Kitchen Dwellers of Bozeman, the Driftwood Grinners of Big Sky, and the Lil’ Smokies out of Missoula.

Visit bigskyresort.com/events for ticket information, festival passes and lodging packages.