Jerry Bash brings outta sight music and groovy vibes to Pioneer Park |

Jerry Bash brings outta sight music and groovy vibes to Pioneer Park

Legendary guitarist/vocalist and co-founder of the Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia, with a favorite guitar.
Courtesy of Getty Images |


WHO: The Miners Foundry presents Jerry Bash 2017 – with the DeadBeats, Loose With The Truth, and The Ascenders.

WHEN: Saturday, Aug. 5, from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.

WHERE: Pioneer Park in Nevada City

TICKETS: $22 – general admission, children 16 and under are $10 at the gate, and babes in arms are free. The VIP Experience is $90 in addition to the $22 ticket, for up to six people.

Advance tickets are available online at, by phone (530) 265-5040, in person at the Miners Foundry, or in person at Briar Patch Co-Op. Tickets also available at the show.

The Beatles and the Rolling Stones are surely the most popular British rock groups ever, and The Eagles and The Doors would qualify as two very popular American bands, but the Grateful Dead has always been the most popular rock group in the whole Universe.

The Miners Foundry will present Jerry Bash 2017 on Saturday, from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Pioneer Park in Nevada City.

The Jerry Bash will commemorate Garcia’s 75th birthday on Aug. 1, and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love that the band helped launch. Jerry Garcia passed away on Aug. 9, 1995, a week after his 53rd birthday.

The Grateful Dead came together in Palo Alto, Calif. in 1965. It was a time when a radical counter-culture was coalescing to celebrate peace and love, and the mind-expanding merits of marijuana and LSD.

The Deadheads, their most ardent hippy fans, could always rely on the Grateful Dead for outta sight live performances, cool instrumental jams, and multiple genres of music that ranged from psychedelic-experimental rock and modal jazz, to country, folk, blues, and reggae.

The DeadBeats, Nevada City’s acclaimed Grateful Dead cover band, are headlining this years Jerry Bash.

The DeadBeats formed during the summer of 1994 to see if they could pull off Grateful Dead covers. After a handful of rehearsals, they decided to go public at the former Mad Dogs and Englishmen Pub in Nevada City. By 10 p.m., the popular music venue was already filled to capacity.

“When the DeadBeats started out there weren’t a lot of Grateful Dead cover bands,” said Gary Campus, a DeadBeats co-founder and one of the band’s two drummers. “Improvisation and spontaneity is the most important thing to us, not playing the song the same way each time,” Campus said.

“Improvisation is what a lot of the Deadheads love about the Grateful Dead, and what makes this music exciting,” Campus said. “We’re also known for playing songs we’ve never played before in front of an audience. The audience seems to love that we’re in the moment, not playing something that’s so well rehearsed.”

What makes the Jerry Bash so groovy and far-out are the Deadheads who have been religiously following this music for so many years. “After Jerry died the phone was ringing off the hook because the Deadheads wanted to hear us play their music,” Campus said. “Before that we hadn’t planned on making Grateful Dead covers a serious effort. But we immediately started having full houses. At that time, we would sell out four shows per year at the Miners Foundry.”

The DeadBeats lineup for this concert will be Tom Menig (guitar & vocals); Peter Wilson (guitar & vocals); Eric Menig (bass); Jen Knapp (vocals); Gary Campus (drums); Rob Kopp (drums); Glen Tucker (keyboards & vocals); and guest keyboardist Lucas Weber.

“At the Jerry Bash, we used to shy away from more than one band playing Grateful Dead music, which was the DeadBeats,” Campus said. “This year all of the bands are Grateful Dead tribute bands. So each band is going to put their own spin and twist on the music. Half of our audience wasn’t alive to see Jerry Garcia, so a whole new generation has come up that loves and plays this music.”

The concert will be opened by the Ascenders, a Grateful Dead cover band. The Ascenders are a father and two sons, and the current DeadBeat’s keyboardist Glen Tucker, all of whom are from Chico. “The young man playing the Jerry Garcia lead guitar parts is a teenager,” said Campus. “His older brother plays the Bob Weir rhythm guitar parts, and his father is the drummer. It’s great to see a young person play this music so well.”

Performing after the Ascenders is Loose With The Truth, a seven-piece San Francisco Bay Area band whose history with Grateful Dead music goes back to the early 1970s. Several band members have been metaphorically-riding Ken Kesey’s magic bus for several decades, and so have deep connections to the Grateful Dead and San Francisco’s psychedelic-rock. The band features strong vocal harmonies, mesmerizing live jams, and dance grooves that will zap anyone’s mojo into movement.

The first Jerry Bash was in Pioneer Park in 1997, which was a free concert like those in ‘60s Haight-Ashbury. “I raised money in the local community to pay for it,” said Campus. “Then we started doing a two-day event at the North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center. We did it there for at least a dozen years. We outgrew that venue, so we stopped doing it for a while. Then about five years ago we teamed up with the Miners Foundry to bring it back to Pioneer Park in Nevada City.”

Featured food vendors at Jerry Bash are the Crazy Horse Saloon, Falafel Kis, Cheri’s Ice Cream, and California Kettle Korn. There will be a no-host bar featuring local beer and wine (remember no outside alcohol), and the festival marketplace will have a variety of vendors including local art, handmade skincare products, textiles and tapestries, tie-dye clothing, and other wearables.

New this year to Jerry Bash is the VIP Experience. It includes a reserved picnic table under the trees, a lounge with private no-host bar, complimentary hors d’oeuvres from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and access to Pioneer Park Pool from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. This is $90 in addition to the $22 ticket, and includes access for up to six people.

David Gaines is a freelance writer living in Grass Valley. He can be contacted at

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