Tag Archives: San Diego California

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 http://octa.net/…/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.

David Parmley & Cardinal Tradition



Summergrass 2016 proudly welcomes David Parmley & Cardinal Tradition to the mainstage August 20th and 21st.

David grew up playing bluegrass with the Southern California favorite – Don Parmley & the Bluegrass Cardinals.  Cardinal Tradition signals a direction that encompasses the sound of the Bluegrass Cardinals but also new songs that re-imagine that heritage.

Cardinal Tradition features David on guitar, Doug Bartlett on mandolin, Steve Day on fiddle, Dale Perry on banjo and Ron Spears on bass.  This Nashville group plays hard driving bluegrass, soulful country and heartfelt gospel.  Need we say more?

Make sure you see David Parmley & Cardinal Tradition at Summergrass 2016!

David Parmley

The Gibson Brothers

Summergrass 2016 proudly welcomes The Gibson Brothers to their Summergrass debut!

The Gibson Brothers were voted 2012 & 2013 Entertainers of the Year at the IBMA World of Bluegrass, along with many, many other awards over the years.  Steve Leftridge of PopMatters described them this way:  “Eric and Leigh Gibson might have, pound-for-pound, the most impeccably fine-sounding traditional bluegrass band on the contemporary scene. …the reason these guys can’t lose is that Eric and Leigh sing bluegrass’ tightest harmony blend, and, instrumentally the group plays with unmatched alacrity and taste.” 

Wonderful bluegrass right here, folks! Don’t miss them as they take the Summergrass stage Saturday August 20th at 4 and 9p.m.!

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The Vintage Martins

What happens when you pair a couple of exemplary bluegrass guitar players and vocalists?

Well, you might just get a beautiful album, Traveled, released last August, and in a couple of weeks, August 20th, 3:00pm at Summergrass San Diego, you’ll get an hour of some of the best bluegrass anywhere. The Vintage Martins, Eric Uglum and Bud Bierhaus bring a resume of talent and experience playing for and with a plethora of luminaries in the country, bluegrass and acoustic genres.

Don’t miss them.


Bluegrass, Etc

No other band represents Summergrass Bluegrass Festival like Bluegrass Etc. This legendary band has been part of so many great Summergrass memories over the year that we’ve lost count.

Although we claim them as our own,  Bluegrass, Etc. are known worldwide for their stellar music and stage antics.  They are both entertaining and masters of their instruments.  Dennis Caplinger on banjo and fiddle (and anything else he wants to play), is joined by John Moore, who plays a stunning guitar and mandolin, and the legendary Steve Spurgin on bass.  Together they perform bluegrass (and etc.) to the delight of their audiences.  It’s a real treat to have these hometown heroes return again to our stage!

Bluegrass, Etc. will take the stage Friday and Saturday at Summergrass 2016.

Video below courtesy Paul Grinvalsky, Alvin Blaine and Old Blue Sound

Chris Henry & the Hardcore Grass


Chris Henry and the Hardcore Grass comes to Summergrass 2016 by popular demand.  The multi-talented Henry has been described as a master, innovative, and by the IBMA during one of several award nominations as  “the premiere Monroe-style mandolinist of his generation.”

Whether it’s a national festival or a small town event, Chris Henry and the Hardcore Grass will bring a powerful show full of memorable moments to diverse audiences. Chris comes from a traditional bluegrass background and blends his classic sound with his own creativity. His unique brand of bluegrass has been known to excite audiences from front porches to the Grand Old Opry. Visit Chris and his band at http://christopherhenry.net/hardcore-grass/  Don’t miss this great young bluegrass act Friday and Saturday at Summergrass!


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!