Does the thought of hearing and seeing great bluegrass bands at a festival right here in San Diego sound appealing? If so, the Summergrass Bluegrass Festival held at the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum in Vista is for you. Held over the weekend (Friday through Sunday) of August 14-16, Summergrass presents 12 top bands in concert, complemented by workshops, a Kids Music Academy, vendors, camping, a slow jam, and lots of informal jamming. Read on for a more detailed look.
This year’s top bands include:
THE BOXCARS. Comprised of national super stars, the Boxcars play hard, fast, and with taste. The Boxcars earned a Grammy nomination for their first album release and have performed to rave reviews for IBMA and at other top events. The Boxcars are: Adam Steffey, Ron Stewart, Harold Nixon, John Bowman, and Keith Garrett.
BECKY BULLER. Hailing from St. James, Minnesota, Becky Buller is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter who has traveled the world to perform her own version of bluegrass and roots music. She has collaborated with Ricky Skaggs, Darren & Vincent, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, and Special Consensus, to name a few. She was featured on the spring, 2012 cover of Fiddler Magazine and was a key performer on the wining 2006 IBMA Album of the Year with the Daughters of Bluegrass. Becky spent ten years with Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike, two years with Brook & Darin Aldridge, and now has her own band.
SIDELINE. Sideline is Steve Dilling on banjo, Skip Cherryholmes on guitar, Brian Aldridge on mandolin, Greg Luck on fiddle, and Jason Moore on bass. All of these fine players have a steady gig with other top-ranked bands, so it is a special occasion when they can come together for a Sideline gig.
BLUEGRASS ETC. Perennial favorites at Summergrass, Bluegrass Etc. returns to present their very special brand of bluegrass, humor, and stellar instrumental prowess. The group is well known internationally and tours more than 18 countries per year, performing more than 200 shows annually at festivals and in concert. Bluegrass Etc. consists of John Moore (mandolin, guitar, vocals), Dennis Caplinger (banjo, fiddle, vocals), and Steve Spurgin (bass, vocals).
In addition to these top tier bands, Summergrass will present some of the best local and regional talent, including: High Mountain Road, Box Canyon, Next Generation, the Rocky Neck bluegrass Band, the Brombies, the Bluegrass Brethren, and Lonesome Otis.
For those looking for something beyond great stage music, Summergrass brings:
CAMPING. There is dry camping, with electricity available for RV’s. Choose the main campground or a quiet area to set up your festival home.
KIDS MUSIC ACADEMY. For the youngsters six to 16 Summergrass presents an award winning Kids’ Music Academy. Classes are held on site over the three days of the festival on fiddle, mandolin, guitar, banjo, and bass, as well as ensemble instruction. The Camp concludes in a performance on the main stage on Sunday morning. This year the camp is taught by the Rocky Neck Bluegrass Band.
WORKSHOPS. Summergrass presents free workshops — check the website for details. www.summergrass.net.
VENDORS. You can expect a variety of vendors with interesting wares ranging from musical instruments and supplies to crafts and other items.
FOOD. Onsite food includes great BBQ, Mexican food, hamburgers, and lots more at reasonable prices. Or, bring your own and pull up a picnic table.
AGSEM. The Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum hosts the festival. It specializes in antique farm equipment and steam engines dating from 1850 to 1950, so you’ll find plenty to catch your fancy on site. You’ll also find a working blacksmith shop, a period school house, a miniature train, and more belching and chugging steam engines than you can imagine. The AGSEM also features one of the largest collections of operating vintage weaving machines in the country. So, there is plenty to do for the whole family, including those not so interested in the music.
Tickets are available in advance or at the gate. Find out all about Summergrass and everything you need to know at www.summergrass.net.