Summer approaches and that means the high season for bluegrass festivals, camps, and concerts. Here is a quick rundown on what you can expect in the next couple of months:
Huck Finn’s Jubilee. Held over the Father’s Day weekend of June 15-17, the Huck Finn Festival is without a doubt one of the premier bluegrass festivals on the West Coast. This year’s stellar lineup includes the Seldom Scene, Steep Canyon Rangers, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Ronnie Reno and the Reno Tradition, Chris Jones and the Night Drivers, Silverado, and much more. Held at Mojave Narrows Regional Park outside Victorville (about three hours from San Diego), the festival offers camping, vendors, and lots of great music and jamming. Visit: www.Huckfinn.com for tickets and information.
Bluegrass Day at the Fair. The ever-popular annual Bluegrass Day returns to the Del Mar Fairgrounds on Saturday, June 30. The event will be held on the beautiful Paddock Stage from 11am-8pm. The day’s activities feature 10 top local bluegrass bands: Gone Tomorrow, Prairie Sky, Chris Clarke and Plow, Shirthouse Band, the Hilltop Ramblers, the Full Deck, The Taildraggers, Box Canyon, Rusty Gait, and Old Town Road, plus a kids presentation and the always popular Band Scramble, which is open to the public, with all ages and all abilities welcome. For information and to sign up, visit: www.sandiegobluegrass.org.
Grass Valley. For those willing to travel a bit farther, the California Bluegrass Association presents its annual Father’s Day Festival in Grass Valley, California over the weekend of June 15-17. This year’s lineup includes Dan Paisley, Steep Canyon Rangers, Country Current, and many more. For information visit: http://fathersdayfestival.com.
Mike Compton Workshop and Concert. Mike Compton, of the Nashville Bluegrass Band, is the premier practitioner of Monroe-style mandolin playing. Mike will be presenting a workshop on July 3 from 5-7pm followed by a concert at 8pm, all at New Expression Music at 4434 30th Street. For tickets and information visit: http://www.sdoldtimemusic.com.
Summergrass. This annual festival, presented by the non-profit San Diego Bluegrass Society and the non-profit North County Bluegrass and Folk Club takes place August 17-19 at the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum in Vista. The headliners are the Lonesome River Band and Blue Highway, two of the top bands in bluegrass today. There is also an outstanding lineup of other bands, vendors, camping, and special activities to celebrate Summergrass’ 10th anniversary year. Visit www.summergrass.net for all the info and details and to purchase advance tickets.
Julian Family Fiddle Camp. If you missed this year’s camp you can look to next year’s event scheduled for April 10-14 at Camp Cedar Glen in Julian. The fiddle camp provides top quality instruction, concerts, and family-friendly camaraderie for fiddle and guitar players; next year old-time banjo will be added. For more information visit: http://www.familyfiddlecamp.com
You are also encouraged to participate in one or more of the many weekly bluegrass events happening right here in little ol’ San Diego.
• On the first Tuesday of the month there is live bluegrass with pickup bands, jamming, and a featured band in concert at Round Table Pizza, corner of Ash and Washington in Escondido. Presented by the North County Bluegrass and Folk Club, the public is welcome.
• The second Tuesday finds the bluegrass action at Fuddruckers Restaurant in Grossmont Center, La Mesa, from 6:30-9-pm, with open mic, pick-up bands, and lots of jamming. Presented by the San Diego Bluegrass Society.
• The third Tuesday of every month features an instructed slow jam presented by acclaimed music teacher Janet Beazley. The slow jam is held at New Expression Music at 4434 30th Street from 6:30-7:30pm. Admission is $5.00 to SDBS members and $10.00 to others.
• The fourth Tuesday is Featured Band Night, presented by SDBS, at the Boll Weevil Restaurant located at 9330 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard ( at Ruffin Road). The action starts at 6:30pm with open mic and pick-up bands, with a featured band in concert from 8-9pm.
• Every Sunday morning from 10am-2pm is Bluegrass Brunch at Urban Solace, 3823 30th Street in North Park. Each Sunday features a different bluegrass band in concert while you enjoy an outstanding brunch.
• Every Thursday night at Today’s Pizza off the I-5 at Santa Fe Avenue in Encinitas there is a jam session led by banjo player Jason Weiss. The session runs from 6:30-9pm, and the public is welcome.
We hope you can get out and hear some of the great bluegrass music available to us here in San Diego. Better yet, bring your instrument and join in!