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December 2023
Vol. 23, No. 3

Bluegrass Corner

A Wonderful Time at Summergrass!

by Dwight WordenSeptember 2018

Another great Summergrass has concluded and been filed away in the memory banks. Held over the weekend of August 17-19, the weather was warm, with cool breezes prevailing most of the time, as a nice crowd enjoyed the hot music on the main stage. The traditional green parachute was up shading the audience area, as was a shade tent, to make it comfortable to enjoy the shows from a lawn chair. The headliners delivered on all their promises, and the regional and local bands presented some of the best stage music of the three day event. To see the impressive lineup visit:

The camping area, which has become the tradition, was jamming central. Everywhere you looked there were large and small groups of pickers gathered to share music and stories. Old acquaintances were renewed, and new friends were made. The jamming groups fluxed as folks moved back and forth from one jam to another. The Thursday Night Pickers were there with a large compound, sharing food, music, and good times, as were Avery Ellisman and some of his Julian Family Fiddle Camp troupes among many others. I saw folks from San Diego, Riverside, Arizona, and even farther afield, many of whom make it a central point on their calendar to attend Summergrass every year

On the food front, the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum again upped its game. Excellent BBQ, tri-tip, burgers (including veggie burgers), and more offered at reasonable prices kept the crowds full and happy. Free music workshops were well attended, and the vendor area offered interesting faire ranging from organic produce, to stun guns, hand-crafted quilts, hats, custom shirts printed on demand, a violin luthier at work, and more. Add in the usual museum blacksmith shop, old school house, miniature train, weaving display, and stunning collection of belching, burping, antique steam engines, and there was plenty to see and enjoy in addition to the great music. For youngsters there was Kids Music Camp providing a quality instructional experience culminating in a Sunday performance on the main stage.

Bluegrass music festivals are a great way to enjoy the unique form of homegrown American music known as bluegrass. Summergrass is an especially good experience–sized large enough to attract top talent, but small enough to still be intimate, informal, and relaxed. Summergrass is the joint production of two non-profits, the San Diego Bluegrass Society and the North County Bluegrass and Folk Club, and is hosted by a third nonprofit, the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum. Dozens of volunteers spend countless hours to plan, organize, and present Summergrass each year. In keeping with their non-profit missions, and relying on so much volunteer effort, Summergrass is able to present top notch entertainment for three days at a very affordable price. You can buy an admission to Summergrass for the premier day of Saturday and hear great bands all day for about what you would pay for a single concert to hear one of these bands. We all owe a big thanks to the tireless volunteers who bring us this great experience every August. If you missed Summergrass this year, mark your calendar for next year. It’s held the third weekend of August every year.

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