A common question we get at the Troubadour is where, in San Diego, can I hear and get involved in live bluegrass music? If you want to jam, listen, and participate, here are some great options:
First Tuesday of the month there is bluegrass music and a jam session at the Round Table Pizza in Escondido located at the corner of Washington and Ash. The event is produced by the North San Diego County Bluegrass and Folk Club (NCBFC). Admission is free (donations requested), the public is welcome, and the action runs from 6:30—9pm. From 6:30—8 pm there is an open mic and pick-up bands; a Featured Band is presented in concert from 8—9pm. There is lots of informal jamming outside throughout the evening.
Second Tuesdays. Every second Tuesday of the month there is a bluegrass jam session, pick-up bands, and open mic at the Fuddruckers Restaurant in Grossmont Center in La Mesa. Presented by the San Diego Bluegrass Society (SDBS), admission is free (donations requested), the public is welcome, and players can sign up for open mic in advance [openmic@ sandiegobluegrass.org] or on site. The action goes from 6:30—9pm.
Fourth Tuesdays. Every fourth Tuesday presents a featured band in concert at the Boll Weevil Restaurant on the corner of Ruffin Road and Clairemont Mesa Blvd. The event is produced by the SDBS, and starts with pick up bands and open mic from 6:30—8pm, [sign up in advance at: email@example.com or on site] and then presents a Featured Band in concert form 8-9 pm. There is lots of jamming outside throughout the evening. The public is welcome. Admission is free; donations requested.
Slow Jam on Third Mondays. SDBS presents a slow jam lead by instructors. The classes are open to the public: $5 for SDBS members, and $10 for non-members. You can join SDBS on site for $20 for the year and get an immediate discount. The instructors break down classic bluegrass tunes and teach you how to play and sing them, learning at a digestible slower pace. Location is Our Savior Lutheran Church at 4011 Ohio Street at the corner of Lincoln in North Park. sandiegobluegrass.org/ events.html.
Thursday Jam in North County. Every Thursday from 6:30—9pm there is a jam session lead by Jason Weiss at the Round Table Pizza in Encinitas, 1321 Encinitas Blvd. The event is open to the public. $5 admission, which includes pizza and salad.
Wednesdays: Emma’s Gut Bucket Band. Every Wednesday Emma’s Gut Bucket Band, sponsored by SDBS, meets at the Whitman Elementary School at 4050 Appleton St. in Clairemont. Admission is free and open to the public. The group conducts a loosely structured jam.
WHERE TO LISTEN TO BLUEGRASS MUSIC
The public is welcome at all of the above events, players and non-players alike, so try out one or more of those regular events even if you just want to listen. If a more formal venue is more to your taste, try one of these:
AMSD Concerts. Acoustic Music San Diego presents concerts in a variety of roots, Americana, and bluegrass styles. AMSD brings in top musicians from around the world. You can check out the AMSD calendar and learn more here: www.amsdconcerts.com.
Summergrass. Every 3rd weekend in August SDBS and NCBFC present the annual Summergrass Bluegrass Festival in Vista. It features top bands from around the world, workshops, camping, vendors, and more. summergrass.net.
Santee Bluegrass Festival. This festival supports the Santee Parks and Recreation programs and features great food from top chefs along with live bluegrass music. santeeca6.vision internet.net/Home/Components/Calendar/Event/3748/8?curm=9&cury=2018.
Urban Solace Bluegrass Brunch. Every Sunday from 10am—2pm a live bluegrass band performs for the Urban Solace Bluegrass Brunch located at 3823 30th St. in North Park. Enjoy great food, outstanding service, and live bluegrass on the beautiful patio. http://urban solace.net/menus/bluegrass-brunch.
Bluegrass in the Flower Fields. Every Spring NCBFC presents live bluegrass bands in concert at the Carlsbad Flower Fields. www.facebook.com/events/ 812378978836563.
Temecula Bluegrass Festival. Entering its second year, the Temecula Valley Bluegrass Festival presents several live bands, workshops, vendors, and more in the beautiful wine country of Temecula Valley. Next year’s event will be held March 23-25, 2018. www.facebook.com/ events/366383793811359.
Bluegrass Day at the Fair. Every June the SDBS and NCBFC take over a stage at the Del Mar Fair and present live bluegrass music, a band scramble, demonstrations, and more from noon—8pm. 2018’s event will be held Sunday, June 10, so mark your calendars! Admission is free with fair admission. Performers, volunteers, and band scramble entrants can get free admission and parking. Stay tuned for details as they are formalized.
Ramona Bluegrass Festival. Every August a bluegrass festival is held in Ramona featuring live bands, vendors, and more. ramonabluegrassfest.com.
Bluegrass Brunch at the Flying Pig. Every Sunday from noon to 2 pm finds live bluegrass at the Flying Pig Restaurant located at 230 South Santa Fe in Vista. www.facebook.com/ events/1623396747732343.
Bluegrass and Beyond at the Powerhouse in Del Mar. The Bluegrass and Beyond Series is presented by the Del Mar Foundation, featuring top national touring bands. www.delmarfoundation. org/bluegrass.html.
Bluegrass in the Libraries Series. SDBS presents live bluegrass bands in concert throughout the San Diego city and county library systems. Concerts are free and open to the public. host.evanced.info/sdcl/ evanced/eventcalendar.asp?et=Music&df=list&lib=ALL
Adams Avenue Unplugged. Every spring an acoustic festival is held on Adams Avenue in San Diego featuring a variety of top-notch acoustic, blues, Americana, and bluegrass music along with vendors and other activities. https://www.adams avenuebusiness.com/event-info/adams-avenue-unplugged/
KSON Radio’s Bluegrass Special with Wayne Rice. Last but not least, every Sunday night you can hear outstanding bluegrass music on KSON Radio’s Bluegrass Special program hosted by Wayne Rice. The show runs from 10pm—midnight, and once a month presents a live band in studio. You can listen live at 103.7 FM or you can log in and hear archived shows at any time on the internet for up to 30 days post show. www.kson.com/shows/bluegrass-special-wayne-rice.
Whew! That’s a lot of bluegrass. Be thankful you live in San Diego where an active bluegrass community sees to it that there are LOTS of chances to jam, listen, perform, and enjoy bluegrass music.