The Nelson Ledges Quarry Park Festival July fourth weekend was a Grateful Dead gathering of magic and good vibes and no hassles throughout. This was truly a good time for all in attendance, performers and audience alike. The setting is an extraordinarily beautiful park with a lake and sand beach... The main stage was only a stones throw away. DAVID GANS opened the festivities on Friday. Zion Godchaux and his band Boombox performed all friday night, he had the crowd jumping for hours.
Four nights of music by Dark Star Orchestra providing each evenings entertainment and and fun revisitation of the Grateful Dead vibe each night. Members and organizations if the Grateful Dead family were well represented for the weekend. Bob Matthews and Betty Cantor-Jackson of Bob & Betty fame had the truck setup and were recording all weekend. Joining Bob and Betty were Bob's wife Jane and her sister Gail Garcia, wife of Tiff.
Donna Jean Godchaux-Mackay and her new band Kettle Joes Psychedelic Swamp Revue with Jeff Mattson, Klyph Black, Tom Circosta, Joe Ciarvella (AKA the Zen tricksters) Mookie Siegel (David Nelson Band, Phil & friends) and Wendy Lanter played a three hour set for the crowd that filled the main stage area despite the onset of rain which cleared during the second half of the show, and the energy from the band reflected back from the packed crowd so much it was almost visible. David Gans joined the band for "Brown eyed Women" and to sing the encore, "Ripple."
Monday the New Riders of the Purple Sage played a three hour set - it was a rockin afternoon... Its great to see David Nelson and Buddy Cage back at it with Michael Falzarano (Hot Tuna) and Ronnie Penque and Johnny Markowski (Stir Fried) bringing back to the fans. A notable point - - Bob Matthews (of BOB & BETTY) played BASS on one song with the NRPS... for those who may not remember, Bob not only was the sound engineer for the Grateful Dead , but was an early guitar student of Jerry Garcia's and played bass for the NRPS in the very early beginnings of the band.
Hot Tuna, with Jorma Kaukonen & Jack Cassidy succeeded NRPS on stage, which was an event unto itself. Keller Williams was last up before the last night of DSO. He put a crowded packed show for two hours. A rousing, jumping, stomping excited crowd for Keller.
The Rex Foundation (named after Rex Jackson, roadie and road manager for the Grateful Dead in the 70's) was a beneficiary of the Grateful Fest with one dollar from every ticket sold donated by the proprietor Evan Kelley of the NLQP. The Rex Foundation was onsite next to the Main stage all weekend in its booth; Peter Kliegman from the Foundation addressed the crowd about the Foundation, its history and its mission.
Sunday after their show, Donna Jean and the entire band from KJPSR spent an hour in the Rex booth and signed the new Rex Foundation CD's recorded last fall from the NYC BTDB. On Monday after their show, David Nelson, Buddy Cage, Michael Falzarano, Ronnie Penque and Johnny Markowski - - THE NEW RIDERS spent a good hour or so in the Rex Foundation with David Nelson and Michael Falzarano signing the new REX BTDB CD for buyers.
So for Grateful Dead family members and the fans at the festival, it was like old home week. The vibe, the music was played at a level of energy not usually seen and the people all made it so. A grateful crowd for sure.