At last, Summergrass has arrived! Summergrass is one of the West Coast’s premiere outdoor bluegrass festivals, celebrating its ninth year in 2011. If you have never been to Summergrass, this would be a great year to go.
Headlining the event are the award-winning Grascals, one of the most successful bands in modern bluegrass history (see article on page 15). The Grascals are: Terry Eldredge (guitar), Jamie Johnson (guitar), Terry Smith (bass), Danny Roberts (mandolin), Kristin Scott Benson (banjo), and Jeremy Abshire (Fiddle). They have played with Dolly Parton and other stars in addition to having won boatloads of accolades on their own, including SPBGMA’s Bluegrass Band of the Year in 2010, the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Emerging Artist of the Year in 2005, and IBMA Entertainer of the Year in both 2006 and 2007. This will be the Grascal’s first appearance in the San Diego area.
Other national name bands appearing at this year’s Summergrass include Loafer’s Glory featuring the father and son team of Tom and Patrick Sauber, with nationally acclaimed bass player Bill Bryson and banjo player Herb Pedersen. Also of national prominence, Wayne Taylor and Appaloosa will make their Summergrass debut. Featuring mandolin master Emory Lester, award-winning bassist Kene Hyatt, Lee Marcus on banjo, and Wayne Taylor (of the U.S. Navy Bluegrass Band “Country Current” fame) playing guitar and singing lead vocals, this promises to be an exciting show. Perennial crowd favorites Bluegrass Etc. will be on site as well, making another appearance featuring their instrumental pyrotechnics and unique stage antics. When they take the stage be ready to be amazed and to laugh.
Summergrass always does a great job of presenting top local bands to complement the national and international talent, and this year is no exception. Long time local band Gone Tomorrow will be making a Saturday appearance. Hot young band Next Generation will be on the scene, as will vocal standout group Prairie Sky, along with Old Town Road, The Bladerunners, Plow, and Windy Ridge. Visit www.summergrass.net to learn more about all these great bands, to see the daily schedule and to buy your tickets.
Summergrass, presented by the non-profit San Diego Bluegrass Society and the North San Diego County Bluegrass and Folk Club, is proud of its reputation as one of the region’s top-flight entertainment opportunities offered at reasonable ticket prices, which allow the whole family to enjoy a great weekend experience. Rather than incur the inconvenience, expense, and heat of driving out of town for that summer vacation, consider spending the weekend at Summergrass, saving money, enjoying great food, relaxing in cool ocean breezes, taking in a stellar lineup of live musical entertainment, and enjoying a variety of family oriented activities, all within an hour’s drive or less from almost anywhere in San Diego County. It just might be your best weekend of the summer!
Complementing the Summergrass stage shows and the great food offered by the Gas and Steam Engine Museum are an array of workshops for musicians (free with your admission ticket) on a variety of topics, a Kids Music Camp providing instruction to talented youngsters and culminating in a Sunday main stage show, camping, all the informal jamming you can handle, activities for kids and families, an adult boot camp providing instruction to intermediate and advanced players, and an interesting variety of vendors.
All of this takes place at the intriguing and eclectic Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum in Vista. The rolling acreage at the museum features an authentic blacksmith shop, an old schoolhouse, a miniature train, one of the largest exhibit areas of operating looms, and an exhibition of vintage farm equipment and steam engines dating from 1850 to 1950, much of it operational. So, there is plenty to interest family members even if they don’t like bluegrass music, as hard as that is to imagine! Learn more about the museum at: www.agsem.com.
Guitar Master David Grier in San Diego
One of the greatest, and certainly most innovative, flat-pick guitar players of any generation is David Grier, who will be making a rare appearance in San Diego this summer. On more than one occasion, he has been voted by the members of the International Bluegrass Music Association as Guitar Player of the Year. He has also appeared on two Grammy- winning recordings: True Life Blues: A Tribute to Bill Monroe and The Great Dobro Sessions. David is also included in the book, 1,000 Great Guitarists. His inspiration to learn guitar came from exposure to Bill Monroe while his father, Lamar Grier, played banjo for the Blue Grass Boys in the mid-1960s.
David will be conducting a workshop at New Expression Music on Saturday, August 27, from 3-5 pm and appearing in concert that evening at 7pm. For tickets, to sign up for the workshop, and for more information, contact New Expression Music at: (619) 280-9035 or visit www.sdoldtimemusic.com.
No doubt, August looks to be a great bluegrass month in San Diego. While you are enjoying Summergrass and all the great visiting talent, don’t forget to stop by one or more of the regular Tuesday bluegrass events in San Diego. The first Tuesday of every month features live music at Round Table Pizza in Escondido. The second Tuesday finds the action at Fuddruckers in Grossmont Center in La Mesa, while the meet-up on third Tuesdays is at New Expression Music in North Park. The fourth Tuesday of every month presents a featured band at the Boll Weevil Restaurant in Clairemont Mesa. The public is welcome at all these events, which feature open mic and informal jamming as well as concerts. For times and locations, and to Learn more visit: www.soclabluegrass.org.