David Grisman Bluegrass Experience headlines Dillon brew fest

Erica Marciniec
Special to the Daily
Special to the DailyDavid Grisman (above) is headlining the second annual Summit of Bluegrass and Blues with his Bluegrass Experience this weekend.

Festival organizers are gearing up for a good turnout at the second annual Summit of Bluegrass and Brews Saturday in Dillon with headliner David Grisman and the David Grisman Bluegrass Experience expected to draw big crowds. The festivities kick off at 1 p.m. with the brew fest featuring unlimited tasting of craft suds from more than 25 Colorado microbreweries and live music by Marty Jones and the Great Unknowns, followed by Missed the Boat at 5:30 p.m. and David Grisman and the DGBX at 7:30 p.m. that evening at the Dillon Amphitheatre.

Craft beer aficionados will appreciate the lineup of brewers, which includes local Summit County breweries and canned microbrew trendsetter Oskar Blues from Lyons among other members of the Colorado Brewers Guild. Food vendors will also be on hand to offer a variety of meal options. Tickets are $30 for unlimited beer tasting at the event, which runs from 1 to 5 p.m. in Marina Park.

To support the daytime drinking, the “Bard of Beer Songs” and Westword Music Showcase repeat-nominee Marty Jones returns for a second year with the Great Unknowns to belt out “good time anthems and cry-in-your-craft-beer numbers” at 3 p.m. with a sound described as blending hillbilly bop, early country, rock and back porch blues.

After the beer tents close at 5 p.m. the party moves to the Dillon Amphitheatre, where the Steamboat-based Missed the Boat opens the night of free open-air concerts with their high energy “jam rockin’ dancegrass” featuring acoustic guitar, mandolin, banjolin, electric bass, drums and harmonica.

Then at 7:30 p.m. the national sensation David “Dawg” Grisman takes the stage with his bluegrass band the David Grisman Bluegrass Experience. The renowned mandolinist, vocalist and composer hails from a storied past, having shared the stage with the likes of Jerry Garcia, Peter Rowan, Bonnie Raitt, Doc Watson and Bela Fleck among others over a career spanning more than four decades. In 1976, he started the David Grisman Quintet, whose “Dawg-style” mix of jazz-influenced bluegrass, folk and international sounds became a major influence on the “newgrass” movement. In 1990, he founded the independent record label, Acoustic Disc, which in the past 20 years has released more than 75 CD’s, including six with Jerry Garcia.

“The second generation of bluegrass musicians, including David Grisman and his peers … are getting into their 60’s now, so there are precious few opportunities to see those guys,” said Mike O’ Brien of Peak Performances, who booked the act. “The third generation … has learned from them in the same way that those guys learned from Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs, the people who literally started the genre. There’s a thread that runs from Bill Monroe to the present, even though it has evolved over the course of 50 years to include other genres – to the point that now there are subgenres of bluegrass.”

Though the innovative DGQ has played Summit County before – once in 1999 and again in 2001 – this will be the first time Grisman’s hand-picked new bluegrass group makes an appearance, transporting listeners back to the roots of the genre. Other DGBX members include Keith Little on 5-string banjo, guitar and vocals; Jim Nunally on guitar and vocals; Chad Manning on fiddle and Grisman’s son Samson on bass.

“The event is to benefit the Colorado Brewers Guild, which does a lot of nonprofit work and legislation to protect the rights of our Colorado independent brewers, so we wanted to blow it up this year,” said event director Molly Speer. With Grisman as the headlining act, it’s bound to do exactly that.

For those still going strong after the Grisman show, check out the musical stylings of John Truscelli at the Pug Ryan’s after party. The Summit of Bluegrass and Brews is put on by the Dillon Business Association.

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