The third day of the fourth Skull and Roses Festival saw the biggest crowds ever and record warm temperatures. A strong onshore wind helped mediate temperatures. When the Alligators rotated onstage just after 4 pm, the fairgrounds were packed with music fans. The band was actually created initially as a one-off to perform at the festival. According to promoter Dennis McNally, “The Gators came into being because Chris, the promoter of Skull and Roses, had a problem—and a vision.
The sun came out bathing the Ventura fairgrounds in a beautiful orange glow as sleepy festival goers woke from a long night of music and partying. The noontime drum circle was the wake-up call for many. But it wasn’t until about 3 PM, when Northern California’s premiere Grateful Dead cover band, the China Cats took the stage, that most people finally gathered together for a dance jam. The group formed in 2008 in Santa Cruz California and has garnered a loyal following since.
I get asked a lot about the current crop of young (as in, never saw Jerry Garcia live) Dead Heads and whether they’re “real.” And no question, they are. They get the music, the code of ethics behind the music, the reason we do this stuff. There is, however, one thing that reveals the passage of time. Many—not all, but quite a few—members of the younger generation suffer from P.D. – Pigpen Deficiency.