Memorial Day saw a for-real live bluegrass concert at the Big Red Barn in Valley Center. Featuring top flight national band Nu Blu, the event was open to the public. Beyond that, Duck Foot Brewery has re-started its Sunday bluegrass jam sessions, our first campout has taken place, the Red Barn has more events booked for June, and folks are starting to get back into the swing of live bluegrass music. Weekly bluegrass get-togethers and jam sessions are in the planning works to restart soon as well.
Summergrass. Planning for the Summergrass Bluegrass Festival is well underway. The festival will take place over August 20-22 at the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum in Vista. The festival will feature award winning top national talent:
The Lonesome River Band, Special Consensus, Bluegrass Etc., High Fidelity, and the Po’ Rambling Boys. These great touring bands will be complemented by local standouts Virtual Strangers, Chris Cerna and Bluegrass Republic, Drought Tolerant Bluegrass, the Bluegrass Brethren, and more to be announced soon.
There will be food, lots of jamming, camping, a Kids Camp, an Adult Boot Camp, and more. And, of course, the activities of the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum are all there to see and enjoy, ranging from an unrivaled collection of working gas and steam engines dating from 1850-1950, a period school house, an authentic blacksmith shop, one of the largest collections of weavings anywhere, and lots more. Visit the AGSEM at: https://www.agsem.com/. Visit the Summergrass website for more information and for tickets: https://summergrass.net/.
Summergrass is a co-production of the San Diego Bluegrass Society and the North San Diego County Bluegrass and Folk Club, both prominent local music non-profits. So mark your calendars!
Why does San Diego have so much bluegrass?
That’s a question I often get asked. So, let’s take a look. First, is it true that San Diego has lots of bluegrass activities? If so, why? Yes, it is true. San Diego does seem to have a lot of bluegrass activities, especially for a laid-back surfer town. San Diego, for example, has more bluegrass activities than Los Angeles, even though Los Angeles is much larger.
Bluegrass activities in San Diego include the major West Coast Bluegrass Festival, Summergrass, concerts by prominent touring bands, weekly regular jam sessions, a variety of active venues, open mic nights, bluegrass camp outs, workshops and instructional activities, at least 15 active local performing bands regularly booking gigs, online meet up opportunities, two active bluegrass nonprofits, a respected bluegrass music radio show, Bluegrass Day at the Fair, and two preeminent instrument makers: Deering Banjos and Taylor Guitars. And, of course San Diego has the finest free music publication featuring bluegrass music—our own San Diego Troubadour!
All of these activities provide a synergy that keeps San Diego a mecca for West Coast bluegrass. Granted, San Diego is not Nashville or Raleigh, North Carolina, but we may be the next best thing. Stir into the mix that many folks, either through the navy or otherwise, have migrated to San Diego from the East Coast and Midwest, finding San Diego to their liking for a permanent home and bringing their taste for bluegrass music with them. Finally, the role of San Diego’s two bluegrass nonprofits is key. The SDBS and NCBFC rally the hard core and the volunteers, organize the Summergrass Festival and jam sessions, present the concerts, and keep it all going. We’re lucky they do!
I look forward to once again being able to write about bluegrass concerts and events actually happening in San Diego as Covid falls away in the rear view mirror. I look forward to seeing you all out and about once again!