August is Summergrass month in San Diego. Summergrass is the premier bluegrass festival held every August in Vista, California. This year will be Summergrass’ 11th year presenting top-notch bluegrass. Let’s take a look at some of the key aspects of this year’s festival. Hopefully, you will be able to find the time to attend this outstanding event. It is held over the weekend of August 16 to 18 at the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum in Vista. Visit www.summergrass.net for tickets and info.
Entertainment. Sierra Hull, who made a stunning breakout as a teenage mandolin wizard, is now a well-established nationally recognized performer. She will be making her first appearance at Summergrass this year. At an unusually young age she has already played Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and has garnered five IBMA award nominations.
Also making its Summergrass debut this year is Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen. Many will remember Frank Solivan from his days with the U.S. Navy bluegrass band Country Current when they made a Summergrass appearance. Frank now leads his own band and presents some of the hottest and latest in bluegrass music. If you like good instrumentation you will love Frank’s band, which features a group of hot pickers, including Mike Munford, who may just be the best banjo player currently performing.
Returning to Summergrass for a repeat appearance are New Found Road and Flatt Lonesome. New Found Road is a high-caliber band out of the Ohio and Kentucky area presenting rock-solid bluegrass. Flatt Lonesome was a hit at Summergrass in its first appearance and also taught the Summergrass Kids Camp. This great young band returns this year and is sure to please again. Bluegrass Etc., ever-popular in San Diego, makes a repeat appearance, presenting its unique brand of instrumental pyrotechnics, humor, and good music. Complementing the national entertainment is a strong stable of local bands. Gone Tomorrow will be appearing on Friday, and Next Generation, the Bluegrass Brethren, Old Town Road, Box Canyon, and the Roustabouts will also all be appearing.
Camping, Vendors, and More. Summergrass is a family-oriented event. There is RV and tent camping; food, craft, and musical supply vendors; free workshops; introduction to jamming sessions; and much more. All this is in addition to the regular fare at the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum, including an old schoolhouse, a working blacksmith shop, a miniature train, and more popping, snapping, and belching vintage steam engines then you can imagine. Also on site is the world’s largest display of weaving equipment. So, there is plenty to do at Summergrass for the whole family.
John Reischman and the Jaybirds. One of the finest mandolin players to ever pick up the instrument, John Reischman will be appearing with his stellar band the Jaybirds at AMSD Concerts on Saturday, August 3. For tickets and info: www.amsdconcerts.com or call (619) 303-8176.
Molly Tuttle and John Mailander House Concert. Local fiddle phenomenon John Mailander recently graduated from the Berklee College of Music, and super talented Molly Tuttle (with two million YouTube views!) will be presenting a house concert at Laurel House Concerts in Oceanside on August 24. For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org; 760.966.0210; 760.207.2652.
Mammoth Mountain Bluegrass Festival. The second annual Mammoth Bluegrass Festival will be held over the Labor Day weekend of August 30 through September 1, presenting a powerful lineup. Set in the beautiful Mammoth ski area, the festival features Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band, the Sleepy Man Banjo Boys, the Alan Munde Gazette, Dan Crary and Thunderation, Jeff Scroggins and Colorado, Hard Road Trio with Bill Evans, High Country, Poor Man’s Whiskey, Hot Buttered Rum, Poor Man’s Poison, Chris Jones and the Nightdrivers, Gone Tomorrow, and Bill Evan’s “Banjo in America.” Visit: www.mammothbluegrassfestival.org for info and tickets.