Bluegrass Hall of Fame launching Jerry Garcia exhibit and Celebration Weekend in March

The Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum has announced the March 28 opening of a new exhibit, Jerry Garcia: A Bluegrass Journey Exhibition, along with an opening weekend celebration that includes music, documentary films, and panel discussions, all to be held at the Hall of Fame in Owensboro, KY.

As all true Deadheads and Garcia freaks well know, Jerry was deeply attracted to bluegrass music and three finger banjo playing in the 1960s, long before the psychedelic music scene got started in San Francisco. He was a serious student of the music, becoming adept on his banjo, and playing in the Bay Area with bands like Hart Valley Drifters and the Black Mountain Boys.

He even made a pilgrimage out east where the bluegrass was being made with his fellow grass nerd and good friend, Sandy Rothman, to see all the legends of the time perform live. But home is where the heart is, as they say, and Jerry eventually retuned to northern California where he joined up with Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions, who became The Warlocks, and eventually turned into The Grateful Dead.

This new exhibit will detail this pre-Dead portion of Garcia’s life, something they have been working on this past three years. The Museum has obtained 12 of Garcia’s personal instruments, plus custom-made shirts worn by his early bands, and recordings and other artifacts, which will be displayed in a gallery encompassing 1,000 square feet.

It will also detail some of his later reversions into bluegrass on projects with Tony Rice, David Grisman, and Peter Rowan, including the iconic Old & In the Way band.

Interviews were conducted with music personalities and people from Jerry’s bluegrass days in order to properly tell his story, including David Nelson, Eric Thompson, Sandy Rothman, David Grisman, Peter Rowan, Sara Ruppenthal Katz, Carolyn “Mountain Girl” Garcia, Dennis McNally, Del McCoury, Billy Strings, Molly Tuttle, Sam Bush, and Vince Herman,.

Jerry Garcia: A Bluegrass Journey Exhibition will remain at the Hall of Fame for two years, and they have put together a big opening weekend celebration that no serious follower of Jerry’s music will want to miss. Starting on March 28, they will feature three days of live concerts at the Hall with The Sam Grisman Project and Leftover Salmon, and the Salmon serving as house band for guest performances by Peter Rowan, David Nelson, Jim Lauderdale, Ronnie McCoury, Eric Thompson, Pete Wernick, and Kyle Tuttle, with more to be announced.

Ticketholders will also have access to documentary screenings, exhibition tours with interactive displays, artist panel discussions, and exclusive merch. Screenings will include Grateful Dawg, Long Strange Trip, and Festival Express.

Panel discussions with Sara Katz, Vince Herman, Rob Bleetstein, and others is also among the weekend offerings.

The Museum has put together this teaser video of clips from the many interviews that will be part of the new exhibit.

Tickets for the Jerry Garcia: A Bluegrass Journey Exhibition Opening Celebration are available now online for $295. Special hotel rates in Owensboro are also available online.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.