April 8-12 will bring us, once again, the Julian Family Fiddle Camp, a popular learning and concert experience held in the pine covered hills outside the mountain town of Julian at beautiful Camp Cedar Glen. There will be top-notch instruction on fiddle, old time banjo, guitar, and mandolin with a bass workshop, flat foot dancing, and lots of jamming stirred into the mix. Students stay and eat on site as part of the camp experience and family activities, including a pool, archery, camping, hiking, and excursions to the quaint nearby town of Julian. For info and to register: www.familyfiddlecamp.com
The Camp presents an excellent concert series in the evenings, taking advantage of the top-notch faculty by tapping their performance skills.
Chriss Coole, Old Time Banjo. Friday, April 10 from 7-9 pm Chriss Coole, old time banjo master, will be showcased. Chriss will be accompanied by many of the great talents who will be teaching at the 2015 Julian Family Fiddle Camp, including the reigning National Old Time Fiddle Champ, Luke Price, the reigning Glenfiddich (Scotland) Fiddle Champion, Mari Black, mandolin virtuoso Brian Oberlin, and Appalachian flatfoot dancer Rebecca Stout.
Taarka, Gypsy Jazz. Saturday April 11 from 7-9 pm the Camp will present TAARKA comprised of Enion Pelta-Tiller, David Tiller and friends in concert. Described by San Francisco Weekly as a “collision of Django Reinhardt and David Grisman,” TAARKA (“taarka” – a special way to make food spicy) is the new acoustic “supergroup” (Flagstaff Live) “presenting masterful Americana and Gypsy jazz string band music!” Led by the husband-and-wife team of David Tiller (mandolin, tenor guitar, vocals) and Enion Pelta-Tiller (five-string violin, vocals), TAARKA fills out its unique music with the impeccable sounds of guitarist Scott Law, and those of bass powerhouse, Gene Libbea. Enion comes to Julian as the lead fiddle instructor at the 2015 Julian Family Fiddle Camp.
Bluegrass in the Libraries. The San Diego Bluegrass Society has partnered with the San Diego County Library system for the past few years to present the “Bluegrass in the Libraries” series. Check it out at: www.sdcl.org. The concerts are part of the county library system’s Acoustic Showcase Program, which presents a broad variety of local acoustic music, ranging from Gregory Page to bluegrass, and beyond. Coming up are bluegrass concerts in the following libraries with the bands and times noted. All concerts are free and open to the public:
Tuesday, April 7, 6:30pm, Rancho San Diego: Box CanyonSunday, April 19, 1:30pm, Vista: Next Generation
Saturday, May 16, 2pm, El Cajon: Rusty Gait
Wednesday, May 20, 6pm, San Marcos: Old Town Road
Saturday, June 13, 2pm, Poway: Old Town Road
On-Line Bluegrass Festival: A First. The first ever online bluegrass festival was held in February of this year. This was a unique experience, presenting many top bands to online viewers. Some bands were in concert halls or on stages, some were in their living rooms, hotel rooms, or in other settings. Viewers could log on and, rather than sitting in their chairs in the sun at a live festival, kick back on their couch and enjoy the festival on their big (or small) screen at home over their home sound system.
The event, called Bluegrass Roundup, was presented over nine nights in a row by promoter Concert Window. The concerts were cybercast to viewers who paid, on a voluntary basis, what they felt the shows were worth. Over 50 acts were presented! The acts ranged from traditional bluegrass to progressive fair, including such stalwarts as Roland White, Mountain Faith, and Circa Blue on the traditional side, and more contemporary grass from Jim Lauderdale, Sierra Hull, Lonely Heartstring Band, Railsplitters, Front Country, Town Mountain, and Barefoot Movement. Also presented were new sounds from Mr. Sun, Bryan Sutton, Mike Marshall & Caterina Lichtenberg, Jim Lauderdale, and more.
Wow, this was a great lineup and a truly innovative approach to presenting live bluegrass music! Is this the wave of the future for bluegrass and other music genres? Will cybercasting replace live outdoor festivals? We’ll have to wait and see. I hope that the cybercasts serve, not to replace live festivals but to recruit and introduce new fans to bluegrass music who, once bitten by the bug, will then attend outdoor festivals. There’s just no comparison between live face-to-face music and seeing it on a screen, although I’ll confess the screen can be close, and with no crowds, no driving, my own cold beer, my dog, my couch, and only a step or two to my bed, it’s darn tempting!
Adams Avenue Unplugged. The annual Adams Avenue Unplugged event is coming up the weekend of April 25-26, featuring a number of great acts. On the bluegrass and related front, the featival will feature Prairie Sky, Tim Flannery and the Lunatic Fringe, Hot Buttered Rum, the G Burns Jug Band, plus lots of other great roots music. Check out the line up at: www.adamsavenuebusiness.com.
Bluegrass Camp Out. On April 17-19 the annual Bluegrass Spring Campout will take place at the KOA campground in Chula Vista with a pot luck meal, lots of jamming, and other activities. Public invited. For info visit: www.sandiegobluegrass.org