August was Summergrass month in San Diego, and what a great bluegrass festival it was! As noted in last month’s cover story, this was the 10 year anniversary for the Summergrass Bluegrass Festival, held at the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum in Vista. The music was superb, the weather was beautiful if hot, and there were plenty of jamming groups and other activities throughout the weekend.
Blue Highway, considered by many to be the best band in bluegrass, gave excellent stage performances on Friday and Saturday, and did an informative “meet the band” workshop session. The band performed many of its all-time favorites including a cappella gospel numbers “Someday” and “Wondrous Love.” The Lonesome River Band was equally impressive. What a treat to have two of the very best bluegrass bands perform here in San Diego.
There were also great performances by Flat Lonesome out of Florida, who taught the Kids Camp, by Chris Henry and the Hardcore Grass out of Nashville, and by the Tuttles with a A.J. Lee from northern California. Standout performers from our local area included Chris Stuart and Janet Beasley with John Mailander on fiddle, John Mailander’s group Tuttle, Mailander, Witler and Karlson, along with local bands Lighthouse, Blue Mountain Mule, and the Virtual Strangers.
One of the great stories of this year’s Summergrass involves local musician Sharon Evans who sings and plays bass with local band Blue Mountain Mule. Sharon fell off a haystack a couple of months ago, badly breaking her back and shattering her pelvis. She arrived at the emergency room near death. After being wired and bolted back together she was told she might never walk, and certainly not sooner than six to eight months. Notwithstanding, there she was on the Summergrass stage (albeit in a wheelchair) singing and smiling just a few months post accident. Sharon says that looking forward to her Summergrass performance was a key factor in her drive to prove her doctors wrong and to recover quickly. Husband Russ says she was adamant about not canceling. Sharon still has quite a ways to go, but with her determination and grace we know she will make it.
Santee Wine and Bluegrass Festival. The third annual Santee Wine and Bluegrass Festival is coming up Saturday, September 22. There will be 55 plus vendors including top restaurants and wineries serving scrumptious vittles and delicious wines to match. Your admission ticket includes all the food and wine you desire. Performing on stage will be bluegrass bands The Taildraggers and Box Canyon, so if you can make it, don’t miss this great event. Visit http://www.ci.santee.ca.us/Index.aspx?page=74 for tickets and details.
Mammoth Mountain Bluegrass Festival. Local bluegrass musicians Chris Stuart, Janet Beasley, and John Mailander, as well as local bluegrass band Gone Tomorrow will be performing at the Mammoth Lakes Bluegrass Festival over the Labor Day weekend of September 1-2. visit http://mammothbluegrassfestival.org/ for information.