Bluegrass Corner

Bluegrass Day at the Fair Is Back! 

by Dwight WordenJune 2023

Bluegrass Day at the Fair.

On Sunday, June 11, from noon to 5 pm there will be bluegrass music at the Del Mar Fair on the beautiful Paddock Stage. There will be a performance by talented youngsters with their teachers, band performances by Philly and the Cheese Steaks, Sunnyside Strings, and Prairie Sky.

Emma’s Gut Bucket Band will also take the stage to showcase its talents, and there will be a band scramble open to all. Here’s how the band scramble works: contestants put a slip of paper in a hat with their name and the instrument they play written on it. Names are then drawn randomly to form bands. Each band then has about 15 minutes to meet and work up a couple of tunes, which they then perform on stage for judges who award prizes. This is fun to watch! A typical group might have a youngster, a beginner or two, and a seasoned pro all stirred together.

If you plan to attend the fair this year, and if you love bluegrass music, Sunday June 11 would be a great day to attend. Be sure to stop by the Paddock Stage.

Julia Family Fiddle Camp faculty on stage for an evening concert. Photo by David Cupp.

Julian Family Fiddle Camp Chalks up Another Great Year. Music Camps are an important part of the bluegrass world. They provide a chance for players of all levels to get together and to learn from outstanding teachers, and to jam and share music with each other. We are lucky to have the Julian Family Fiddle Camp right here in San Diego in the mountain town of Julian. This year’s camp (May 3-7, 2023) featured instruction from some of the top players in the business, including John Reischman on mandolin (of John Reischman the Jay Birds), national fiddle champ Kimber Ludiker (of Della Mae), and many other talented performers and teachers.

Each day classes were held, interspersed with workshops and special events. The evenings brought open mics for student performances and concerts by the faculty. Evening concerts were open to students and the community. The setting was the Whispering Winds Conference Center, which provided on-site meals and lodging for students and faculty. And, who could forget the great apple pies provided by Mom’s Apple Pies of Julian!

If you think you might enjoy an experience like this, check it out. Better yet, sign up for next year, or at least plan to visit and give it a look.

Summergrass. Summergrass is the West Coast’s premier Bluegrass Music Festival. This year it will be held over the weekend of August 17-20 at the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum in Vista. Top-notch national bands, local bands, workshops, a Kids Camp, and more. Learn more here:

Get Involved! If you haven’t already, consider getting involved in the local bluegrass music community. You won’t regret it! We have two premier bluegrass-oriented nonprofits in San Diego that would welcome you. The San Diego Bluegrass Society promotes jam sessions and events throughout each month on the second, third, and fourth Monday, and on the fourth Sunday; presents special events and concerts; and offers opportunities at whatever your level of interest. You can join for only $25 per year for the whole family. Or join for your band at $35 per year. To learn more and to join:

Likewise, the North San Diego County Bluegrass and Folk Club offers memberships at $25 per year and $35 for your band. And, they promote a jam session and band presentation every first Tuesday of the month, as well as campouts and special events. You can learn more and join here: The SDBS and NCBFC regularly work together and are this year’s co-sponsors for Bluegrass Day at the Fair.  So, give them a look, feel free to drop in at any event, and find out what they have to offer.

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