Get the ball rolling: Miners Foundry lets the good times roll this Masquerade Ball |

Get the ball rolling: Miners Foundry lets the good times roll this Masquerade Ball

Hollie Grimaldi Flores
Special to Prospector


WHAT: Miners Foundry Cultural Center present Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball featuring the live music of The Deadbeats and Buckstar

WHEN: Saturday, February 16. Doors 7:00 p.m., Show 8:00 p.m.

WHERE: Miners Foundry Cultural Center, 325 Spring Street, Nevada City

TICKETS: $25/Adv, $30/Door. This is a standing/dancing show with limited seating available. Tickets are available online at, by phone (530) 265-5040 or in person at the Miners Foundry, or at the door. Advance General Admission tickets are also available at BriarPatch Co-Op.  Ticketing fees do not apply for purchases made by phone or in person at the Miners Foundry Box Office.


Nothing captures the spirit of Mardi Gras reveling quite like the annual Masquerade Ball which is set to kick off a weekend of celebration this Saturday evening. For the third year, the Miners Foundry has taken over organizing the ball, while the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce continues to manage the annual parade Mardi Gras parade.

For the 27th year, a parade full colorful characters and floats will make its way down Broad Street in celebration of Mardi Gras. This year the parade will begin at 2 p.m. Sunday. A street fair selling masks, beads, Mardi Gras attire, along with food, libations, and crafts will be open on North Pine and Commercial Streets beginning at 11 a.m.

The parade is really the second act this year, following what promises to be an out of this world masquerade ball Saturday night. Grab your mask, beads and dance shoes and get ready for a double feature of great music by The Deadbeats, with Buckstar opening.

Miners Foundry marketing director, Jesse Locks, said, ‘”After months of looking for a zydeco band to play Mardi Gras, the Foundry invited The Deadbeats and friends to perform because it is a traditional Grateful Dead ‘holiday’ celebration, so it fit and of course The Deadbeats are so loved by a local and regional audience. We knew fans would enjoy the opportunity to come out mid-winter for a dance party. The Deadbeats also bring the fun to any party or festive gathering.”

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The Foundry will be decorated like you would expect to see in a dance hall in New Orleans or those infamous Dead parties.

“The Grateful Dead’s annual Mardi Gras concerts at the Oakland Coliseum were legendary,” said Locks, “with epic set lists and spectacular parades filled of animatronic floats ridden by phosphorescent skeletons and people throwing candies and beads to thousands of concert-goers dressed in festive garb.”

While having the Grateful Dead play in Nevada City is not a possibility, for lovers of their music, having The Deadbeats play is absolutely as good as it gets.

The Deadbeats have become a Nevada County institution. One of the original members, Gary Campus said, “August 4 will be our 25th anniversary. In 1994, a group of us were jamming at (the now defunct) Mad Dogs and Englishmen Pub on Spring Street in Nevada City on a Thursday night and we played some Grateful Dead material and the place was packed. People loved it, so we decided maybe we should do it again.”

The band has had a few iterations over the decades but just as the Grateful Dead did, they continue to perform with two drummers, which adds to the “something” undefinable.

“We were kind of fizzling out and then Jerry Garcia died,” Campus said, “so we said, we have to do a show. And that began our tradition of doing a few shows at the Miners Foundry every year and so it feels good to be playing for Mardi Gras this weekend.”

The Deadbeats current members are Tom Menig, Eric Menig, Gary Campus, Rob Kopp, Glen Tucker, Peter Wilson, Lucas Weber, and Jenn Knapp.

While the headlining band focuses on music of the ‘Dead, openers Buckstar will perform original tunes.

If the faces of Buckstar look familiar, it is because four of the members also play in The Deadbeats.

“Buckstar music can be described as juke box,” said Jen Knapp. “We play country, R&B, soul, rock, bluegrass, and sometimes we will put out some old traditional Americana.”

The band is about three years old.

Knapp continued: “Robbie and I were in The Cheatin’ Buzzies for about ten years but then we lost a member to cancer, so we recorded some music in tribute to him and then the music just started to come out. We just finished our second CD of all original music, which will be for sale at the ball.”

Both bands are happy to be working at home. Said to have a multi-generational following, the members all agree it’s like playing in their living room with a really big dance floor.

“We are happy to be opening up for the Deadbeats and we love playing at The Foundry,” said Knapp. “We are excited about it.”

Masquerade attired is encouraged.

Food for sale will be supplied by Buck & Sadie’s food truck out of Roseville.

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire. She can be reached at

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