The San Diego Bluegrass Society and the North San Diego County Bluegrass and Folk Club, both non-profits, will present Bluegrass Day at the Del Mar Fair on July 5. The action will take place on the Plaza Stage starting at 11am and going until 8pm. Here are some highlights:
Band Scramble. A band scramble is scheduled for 2pm. These events are great fun. You put your name and the instrument you play on a slip of paper, then slips are drawn randomly to form bands. Each band is given about 15 minutes to meet and work up two songs, which they then perform on stage before judges. Prizes are awarded in the categories of guitar, banjo, bass, fiddle, mandolin, speciality (harmonica, jaw harp, dobro, etc.), best male and female vocalist, and best youth performer. All ages and all abilities are welcome to enter, which adds to the fun, knowing you may find yourself in a band with an eight-year-old fiddler, an 80-year-old banjo player, a couple of beginners or intermediates, and a pro or two.
All entrants who register on or before June 9 will receive a free admission pass to the fair for themselves and one guest of their choice, and, while supplies last, a free parking pass to the entertainers’ lot. To enter simply send your name, first and last, and the instrument you play to Jim Henderson at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Fear not, if you miss the June 9 deadline, you can still enter up to and including the day of the event, but you will need to buy your own fair admission and parking.
Kid Performance. Fifty plus youngsters, aged six to 16, from the Mainly Mozart Program, under the guidance of their teacher Jane Frey and SDBS board member Mark Pullin, will perform on fiddles, violas, and cellos, on stage at 11am. Prepare yourself to be wowed by the talent of these youngsters!
Old-Time Fiddling Demonstration. The California State Old time Fiddlers Association, San Diego District 7, will perform a fiddling demonstration at 1pm.
Bluegrass Bands in Concert. There will be five top bands presenting 40-minute concerts with the first band starting at 4pm and going until 8pm. The bands will be announced in next month’s column as the selection process is underway as we go to press.
Huck Finn Jubilee. For decades, the Tucker family has presented the Huck Finn Jubilee Bluegrass Festival in Victorville every father’s day. A few years ago, Don Tucker passed away, and this year the festival is being resurrected with a stellar lineup. Check it all out at: http://huckfinn.com. How does the Del McCoury Band, Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, Sam Bush, the Boxcars, Bluegrass Etc.,and more sound? The event will beheld in the Cucamonga-Guasti Regional Park, about an hour and a half from here, with camping, vendors, kids activities, workshops, and more. This should be a great festival!
Local Opportunities to Enjoy Playing Bluegrass. Bluegrass music is a participatory music, encouraging amateurs to get out and play at every opportunity. Jamming, as it is called, is present at every festival, and at most other events. Here in San Diego there are several great opportunities to get out and play.
Every Tuesday night there is a bluegrass jam somewhere in San Diego. The first Tuesday is presented by the North San Diego County Bluegrass and Folk Club at the Round Table Pizza in Escondido at the corner of Washington and Ash, from 6:30-9pm with a featured bluegrass band performing from 8 to 9pm. Second, third, and fourth Tuesdays are sponsored by the San Diego Bluegrass Society and bring bluegrass music, respectively, to the Fuddruckers Grossmont Center in La Mesa, the Morse Academy building on 30th in North Park (an instructed slow jam), and to the Boll Weevil on Clairemont Mesa Blvd. at the corner of Ruffin Road. For details on these open sessions visit the SDBS website at: www.sandiegobluegrass.org.
Want more? Every Thursday night there is a jam session at Today’s Pizza in Encinitas on Santa Fe led by banjo player Jason Weiss. Running from 6:30-9pm, folks chip in $5 each and share pizza and salad. Visit the Thursday Night Picker website at: https://myspace.com/thursdaynightpickers for info. And, word has it that there’s a new jam starting on the second Wednesday of every month at the Round Table in Escondido. Emma’s Gut Bucket Band meets every Wednesday from 6:30-9:30pm at the Whitman Elementary School on Appleton in Clairemont, and their sessions are open to the public – pickers and non pickers alike. Finally, there is a jam at the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum in Vista (the Summergrass site) every Saturday at 11am.
So, what’s your excuse? Get out and enjoy some of this great action!