I’m grateful for this opportunity to write this monthly column. It’s a great opportunity for me to acquaint others with some of the bluegrass happenings down here in the southern end of the state where I live. There is much bluegrass going on here, too much to cover in one column, so in the next few columns I will present some Southern California bluegrass organizations. Today’s column introduces the San Diego Bluegrass Society – an organization I am very familiar with.
SDBS did business as the San Diego Bluegrass Club for many years, and was incorporated as San Diego Bluegrass Society in 1998 as a 501c3. I have been on the board of directors for 15+ years and I am proud of the variety of activities we offer to our local members. First off, we are an active club! We sponsor jams, featured band nights, slow jam instruction nights, concerts and a variety of other activities for bluegrass music fans in the area. We try to support touring bands as well. Currently we are sponsoring Nu-Blu and Special Consensus in January and James King in February.
Every second Tuesday SDBS sponsors a local jam session, open mic & pick-up bands at the Fuddruckers in Grossmont Center in La Mesa. Open mic and pick-up bands play from 6:30 to 9:00 pm, and this evening also features a popular informal jamming session, outside on the patio.
Our third Tuesday event is held at the former New Expression Music in San Diego. This gathering is an hour and a half structured slow jam learning session led by music teacher Janet Beazley (7:30 to 9:00 pm). The fee is $5 per session for SDBS members and $10 for non-members.
On the fourth Tuesdays, we feature a top local or regional band in concert for one hour, at The Boll Weevil Restaurant in Clairemont Mesa area. The schedule for fourth Tuesday is open mic & pickup bands from 6:30 to 8:00 pm; featured band from 8:00-9:00pm. Informal jamming throughout the evening also takes place outside.
We are also able to offer our 4th Tuesday featured bands an appearance on Wayne Rice’s Bluegrass Special on KSON radio at 97.3AM on the Sunday night prior to their show. This gives the bands great exposure, promotes our event, and is a big warm fuzzy for the band from this radio show experience. Wayne’s bluegrass show is nationally recognized and has been on the air 35+ years. (I could write an entire column on Wayne and his show, but that’s for another column).
Other SDBS activities include our annual fundraising concert at St. Mark’s Methodist Church in November, Bluegrass Day at the Del Mar Fair in June, our ongoing San Diego Library Concert Series, our Lending Library of instruments and learning materials, and our regional bluegrass outreach that brings bluegrass to San Diego free of charge seniors and children courtesy of Emma’s Gut Bucket Band.
We cosponsor many other bluegrass-related events to support local promoters that bring bluegrass to San Diego. This includes the Santee Wine & Bluegrass Festival, concerts at Acoustic Music San Diego, the Belly Up, and the “Bluegrass & Beyond” concerts at the Del Mar Powerhouse.
SDBS also partners with North County Bluegrass & Folk Club to produce Summergrass San Diego, our premier bluegrass festival that happens annually each August in Vista, CA at the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum. (More on Summergrass in a future column.) Summergrass is a jewel in the SDBS crown of activities!
Our busy schedule is a lot of work but a lot of fun too! Like I said, the San Diego Bluegrass Society is a very active organization with a big community of supporters. Lots of good times and good pickin’ going on down here. Check the SDBS website to see the latest news posted there at ww.sandiegobluegrass.org. SDBS is working hard at keeping bluegrass alive in the southland. So, come on down to San Diego and experience our bluegrass scene!