Things to know about Summergrass 2016

What about arrival logistics and check-in?

Update 8-16-2016 — Summergrass San Diego fans coming south on Interstate 5 should be aware of the following scheduled traffic impact…/I-5-(Avenida-Pico-to-San-Juan-Creek-Roa…/…

Our thanks to Summergrass friend Dianne Larson for making us aware of this. AAA members can contact their local office for help choosing an alternate route.

Arrival details Wednesday through Friday Due to the Museum’s proximity to the adjoining school, it is in your best interest to plan to arrive at the Museum after 4pm Wednesday (the Summergrass gate doesn’t open until then), before 3pm or after 4pm Thursday or before 12 or after 1pm, Friday.  Check in at the  gate, where you’ll receive stickers for you vehicle(s) if you’re camping and wristbands for yourself.  If you have pre-purchased your tickets and/or camping, please bring verification of purchase on your mobile device,  or the verification letter, and a photo ID, just in case.

If you require assistance getting to the audience area, please check with the gate volunteers for the best option for you.

If you’re part of a group of campers who wish to be placed together, please try to arrive together, and let the gate volunteers know.

What about seating and shade?

Seating at Summergrass is festival style. Bring a blanket for the ground or low backed  chairs for the area closest to the stage. You can place your chair(s) in any open space and expect to find it there when you come back. If you see open chairs in the audience area, you’re free to occupy them until the owner(s) return to claim it.

Taller chairs and individual umbrellas can be placed to the sides and rear of the audience area. If you’re unsure, find a festival volunteer (they have a badge) and ask. We’re happy to answer questions.

Can I bring in an ice chest?

Yes! But please don’t bring glass in any form.  You may bring in outside food and/or beverage to enjoy at the festival — although the scent of barbecue or the lure of ice cream may be too much to resist.

Rustic terrain is difficult. How can I get around?

We’re happy to help. Special motorized carts and experienced drivers are available to move you and your equipment from the parking lot to the audience area. In limited instances, a driver may be able to drop off handicapped guests in the audience area. Please check with the gate volunteers for the best option for you.

Why should I stay in the campground?

In a word, jamming.  It’s great. Year after year, Summergrass folk say the jams that start once the bands leave the stage are as enjoyable as the stage show.  For any die-hard bluegrass lover, it’s a not-to-be-missed event.

What are the different campground areas at Summergrass/AGSEM?

MAIN:  Closest to restrooms, food service, and the entrance/exit to  the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum, the Main campground is also the busiest and most crowded.  One section of the Main campground is specifically for tents and car/van campers; the section over the bridge is mostly RVs, and has the only electric hook-ups available at Summergrass Bluegrass Festival.

WEST:  Much more spacious, this campground provides easy access to the audience area. There are no hook-ups in this area.

QUIET:  Spacious, quiet camping, as the name suggests. This is a generator-free area with no hookups.

Who can stay at my campsite?

All campground guests, that is anyone in the campground at any time, must have proof of paid festival admittance for that specific day.  All overnight guests must have paid festival admittance for both days of their overnight stay.  A Summergrass issued wristband is the only valid proof of paid admittance and must be worn by anyone 10 years or older.

What other facilities are nearby for overnight accommodations?


Guajome Regional Park at 3000 Guajome Lakes Road in Oceanside is approximately 2.1mi from the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum.

South Carlsbad State Beach and San Onofre State Beach are beautiful oceanfront campgrounds less than half an hour away.

Use your favorite resort directory to choose one of the many RV resorts in Vista, Oceanside, and nearby San Marcos.

Hotels & Inns

The La Quinta Inn in Vista is the (un)official hotel of Summergrass San Diego and is located just over 6mi from the  Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum.  There are many other hotels within a fifteen minute drive.  Check out reviews and other information here.

Oh no! Life happened. Can I get a refund?

Resources are tight for Summergrass Festival. We are entirely volunteer operated, revenue from each season is the sole funding for the next one, therefore we cannot offer a refund for any reason. However, we do understand that things change, sometimes drastically, and will do what we can to help.

Just what you’ve been waiting for

Summergrass 2016 Stage Schedule

Friday August 19

3:00 pm  Rocky Neck

4:00 pm Chris Henry

5:00 pm  Old Town Road

6:00 pm   Dinner Break

7:00 pm Burning Heart

8:00 pm  Bluegrass Etc.

9:00 pm  Chris Henry

Saturday August 20

10:00 am   This Just In

11:00 am Bluegrass Etc.

Noon: Chris Henry

1:00 pm   Lunch Break

2:00 pm  Virtual Strangers

3:00 pm Vintage Martins

4:00 pm Gibson Bros

5:00 pm  Bluegrass Etc.

6:00 pm  Dinner Break

7:00 pm Rocky Neck

8:00 pm  David Parmley

9:00 pm Gibson Bros.

Sunday Aug 21

9:00 am  Sweet Tidings

10:00 am  David Parmley

11:00 am Gone Tomorrow

Noon:   Kids on Stage

12:30 pm Rocky Neck

1:15 pm    Lunch Break

2:00 pm  David Parmley

3:00 pm   Gibson Bros

4:00 pm Vintage Martins

Burning Heart Bluegrass


There is  nothing like the sound of guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, and doghouse bass when they get into that special Bluegrass groove. Add to that high-powered vocals and soaring harmonies and you have Burning Heart Bluegrass. This great new band includes Jeff Fleck on guitar, Dan Sankey on mandolin, Keith Chagnon on banjo, Ron Vance on bass, and Steve Rosenstein on fiddle.

With nearly 100 years of musical experience between them, the members of Burning Heart Bluegrass delivers the bluegrass essentials with energy, drive, passion, and precision. Drawing it’s repertoire from old and new Bluegrass classics, BHB serves up  a genuine Bluegrass experience,  no gimmicks, upgrades, or additives!


Virtual Strangers

The Virtual Strangers, 2007 Arizona Bluegrass Band contest winners, bring a great mixture of traditional and progressive songs. Their sound is a mixture of the traditional with Stanley, Monroe, and Flatt & Scruggs material along with more progressive material from Blue Highway, Lonesome River Band and Del McCoury. They have shared the stage with Rhonda Vincent, Bluegrass Etc., California, the Dillards, Lonesome River Band, Nashville Bluegrass Band, and others.  Virtual Strangers perform in numerous events & festivals in San Diego and throughout California, Nevada, Arizona, and Colorado, among others.  In addition, Virtual Strangers lead the annual Cruise2Jam Carnival Line Catalina/Ensenada Cruise each February where they teach passengers about jamming etiquette and hold on-board jam sessions.

Virtual Strangers also has an alter ego – the Tatar Patch Bluegrass Buddies.  Several times each year, the Strangers morph into this kid-friendly persona and go into classrooms to educate school-age children about bluegrass music and how to start playing it.  They have performed in schools and  kids camps at many festivals.

Mike Tatar Sr., on banjo, holds down the lead vocals. He’s played with In Cahoots, Snowy River, Full Deck, LeRoy McNees, and was made an honorary Piney Creek Weasel by the late Rick Abrams.

Jon Cherry plays mandolin, and sings harmony/lead vocals. Jon’s played with Union Creek and Snowy River, and proudly plays his handmade Cherry Mandolin on stage.

Yvonne Tatar plays the acoustic bass and sings harmony. She is a proud fourth generation string player and has accompanied many old time-fiddlers. She’s played with In Cahoots, Full Deck, LeRoy McNees, and sitting in with many other bands.

Kit Birkett plays guitar and also sings lead vocals. His credits include the Scottsville Squirrel Barkers and Down the Road, 2001 Southwest Bluegrass Play-off Winners.

VS backstage Summergrass 2014

Sweet Tidings Gospel Jam

Sweet Tidings Gospel Jam is comprised of Kimberly Conley, David Dickey II, Diana Hergert, Don Hergert, and Marc Nelissen. They present hymns and traditional gospel music with emphasis on Americana roots gospel done jam-style.  Fans describe Sweet Tidings as “happy, joyful, charming, new and fresh.”

When they played at Summergrass 2014, due to some technical difficulties, the band made a decision to come off the mainstage and play on the grassy lawn to the delight of the Summergrass fans.  Their show was electric and the crowd loved them!  Make some memories and be sure to see this very special band Sunday morning on the Summergrass mainstage!




Old Town Road

OLD TOWN ROAD feat. Steve Toth with Border

Old Town Road  featuring Steve Toth is a dynamic, acoustic bluegrass band based in North San Diego County, California. They perform traditional, contemporary and original bluegrass music featuring five multi-talented musicians with Steve Toth on dobro, Steve Dame on five string banjo, David Collins on fiddle, Mike Silver on guitar and Lance Gucwa on bass.

Steve Toth has recently completed a unique historical book and CD on pre-war Dobros titled DOBRO ROOTS – A Photo Tour Of Prewar Wood Body Dobros.  The foreword for the book was written by Jerry Douglas, the master of the dobro and a member of the “Earls of Leicester”.   DOBRO ROOTS has received excellent reviews in Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine, Vintage Guitar Magazine and other publications.

Old Town Road featuring  Steve Toth has appeared at the Summergrass Bluegrass Festival, the Belly Up Tavern, the Ramona Bluegrass and Old West Festival, the Temecula Bluegrass Festival, the Wayne Rice Show – Bluegrass Special on KSON Radio, Bluegrass Day at the Del Mar Fair, Via Verde Estates Concert Series, El Cajon Concert on the Green Series, and various other concerts and shows in the San Diego area.   They always put on a fun-filled performance so don’t miss this exciting bluegrass group!





This Just In!


This Just In! is a four piece bluegrass band with emphasis on three and four piece vocal harmonies. This is a group that is growing in stature and reputation in the Southern California area. They do a mixture of traditional and contemporary styles. Members are Bob Fitch, guitar, Dave Richardson, banjo, Paula Lane, resophonic guitar and Pete Lorentz, upright bass. They’re scheduled to be on stage at Summergrass Saturday, August 20

Bob Fitch, guitar and lead vocalist, was born in New York State and music has been In his life from the very beginning.  He has been playing guitar since the age of eight.  A few years later, he formed a band and was playing at all the major resort hotels in the Catskill Mountains.  While living in the mountains of Colorado, he became interested in bluegrass music.  Bob owns his own business teaching children safety awareness and self defense.

Dave Richardson, 5-string banjo, vocals, was born in Jefferson Co., in Appalachian Ohio, where he spent many evenings backstage at at the WWVA Jamboree in Wheeling, West Virginia.  Upon graduation from college, he moved to Hawaii, where he became a permanent member of the Don Ho show.  He has recorded with Glenn Campbell, Jimmy Martin, Chris Hillman, Herb Peterson, Kenny Rogers & Mel Tillis.  By day, he lives in San Gabriel and works in Burbank at Bosch Communications Systems.

Paula Lane, resophonic guitar and vocals, was born in Jacksonville, Fla.  She became interested in bluegrass music after moving to Southern California in 1978.  She bought her first “Dobro” as a Christmas present in 1984 and decided this was the instrument she was meant to play.  She has played in several California bands.  Paula is also an accomplished wildlife photographer who often posts her photos on her Facebook site.  Become her Facebook “friend” and see these great pictures, particularly of birds.

Pete Lorentz, upright bass and vocals, was born in California and raised in rural Missouri. The son of a professional musician, he was exposed to many different kinds of music. He has been playing bass for nearly 45 years with numerous bands. He is retired from a 31 year career an X-Ray Service Engineer.


Gone Tomorrow


Summergrass welcomes back one of San Diego’s longest running bands, Gone Tomorrow. Gone Tomorrow is Richard Burkett, band leader, on guitar, mandolin and vocals, Steve Dame on banjo and vocals, Don Hickox on fiddle and vocals, and Dwight Worden on bass and vocals.

At Summergrass you will see Gone Tomorrow on the mainstage Sunday, August 21st at 11 AM.    Any time there’s a fifth Sunday, you’ll be able to find them playing at Urban Solace in North Park, located at 3823 30th St., just south of University Ave.  Gone Tomorrow also play the second Sunday evening,  6:30-8:30,  at  Bistro Sixty located at 5987 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego CA.  You can also catch them occasionally at the second Tuesday San Diego Bluegrass Society gathering at Fuddruckers in Grossmont Center in La Mesa.

The band presents authentic classic bluegrass in the Bill Monroe and Flatt and Scruggs style as well as occasional classic country tunes, blues, modern bluegrass from the likes of Del McCurry and other fare. Richard Burkett pens originals for the group, as does Steve Dame. You can expect to hear fierce, hard driving banjo from Steve along with Richard’s tasteful lead and rhythm guitar, blended with strong bass from Dwight and Don’s melodic fiddling. All four of these veteran musicians sing and deliver three and four part harmonies. Check out the band’s latest news at

Don’t miss Gone Tomorrow at Summergrass!