Three days of music from at least 23 bands near Falling Waters

June 28, 2007|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

FALLING WATERS, W.Va. - The bands Melvin Seals & JGB - formerly the Jerry Garcia Band - New Riders of the Purple Sage and other artists who played with the late Jerry Garcia will headline the American Roots Music Festival, a three-day outdoor music fest in West Virginia.

The second annual American Roots Music Festival - Friday through Sunday, July 1 - is at Potomac Pavilion on private grounds just off Williamsport Pike, near the Maryland-West Virginia border.

Organizers are expecting roughly 2,000 music fans to watch about two dozen bands perform in three days. Both single-day tickets and three-day weekend passes cost $58.

Other major acts in the lineup are: Dave Gans, Donna Jean & the Tricksters and the Peter Rowan and Tony Rice Quartet - all artists who played with Jerry Garcia at some point.


Organizer Bob Blair said there's a perfectly good explanation for why the three-day festival is an ode to all things Jerry Garcia: "We're Dead Heads," Blair said.

His own band, Cosmic Graffiti, will perform all three days.

"The fire still burns," Blair said. "There's still a lot of people who still love the music, and keep the fire burning."

Melvin Seals & JGB, Friday's headlining band, tours occasionally, almost always performing songs from times past, as fans don't leave much room for original stuff.

"Because we're the Jerry Garcia Band - what's left of the Jerry Garcia Band - there's not much left to record because we do it as Jerry Garcia did," said Melvin Seals, in a telephone interview from his San Francisco home.

At the West Virginia festival, Seals said the band likely will pull from a repertoire of 40 songs. But they'll probably play different songs each night, as they don't do "cookie-cutter" sets, Seals said.

"If (fans) haven't seen us in a while, they should really come out," Seals said. "If you close your eyes for a moment, you will relive the same warmth and happiness we used to give you guys."

Seals, who plays keyboard, was a member of the Jerry Garcia Band. After Garcia's death in 1995, Seals chose to continue the music, he said. The band's name was changed to Melvin Seals & JGB (short for Jerry Garcia Band) and continued to play Garcia's music.

Seals is the only alumnus of the Jerry Garcia Band still playing in the group.

"I'm the only guy left there to carry the torch," Seals said.

Seals, 53, said he has been playing Garcia's music for 30 years - the better half of those years while Garcia was still alive.

Sometimes, Seals would like to branch out and do something different, a goal that will be helped by his solo project.

While Seals is working on a solo album that he says is "less singer-songwriter" and more "up-tempo hip-hop" and R&B, he's still going to be part of the band.

"Sometimes, I think enough is enough, but when I see the fans, I feel like I'm doing some good," Seals said.

If you go ...

WHAT: American Roots Music Festival, outdoor concert

WHEN: Friday, June 29, through Sunday, July 1. On-grounds camping is available on a first-come, first-served basis starting tonight.

WHERE: Potomac Pavilion, 22 Temple Drive, Berkeley County, W.Va. The grounds are off Williamsport Pike near the West Virginia-Maryland border.

COST: Tickets cost $58, good for admittance all three days. Single-day tickets are also $58. Free admittance for children 10 and younger. Tickets are available online at and will be sold at the festival.

MORE: Food, alcohol and merchandise will be sold. Pets and RVs are prohibited. For more information, visit

American Roots Music Festival band lineup

Friday, June 29

Main stage

· 3 to 4 p.m. - Blue Nevada

· 4:30 to 6 p.m. - Cosmic Graffiti

· 7 to 9 p.m. - New Riders of the Purple Sage, with special guests

· 10:30 p.m. to 12:45 a.m. - Melvin Seals & JGB

Second stage

· 4 to 4:30 p.m. - Burger

· 6 to 7 p.m. - Minos Conway

· 9 to 10:30 p.m. - The Bridge

Saturday, June 30

Main stage

· noon to 1 p.m. - Downhome Groove

· 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. - One-Eyed Jack

· 3 to 4 p.m. - Dave Gans

· 4:30 to 6 p.m. - Cosmic Graffiti

· 7 to 9 p.m. - Donna Jean & the Tricksters

· 10 to 12:15 a.m. - Melvin Seals & JGB

· 12:30 a.m. - Jam session

Second stage

· 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. - Ohmsteaders

· 1 to 1:30 p.m. - Sherry Tennant

· 2:30 to 3 p.m. - Tom Breach

· 4 to 4:30 p.m. - Foggy Memory Boys

· 6 to 7 p.m. - The Rude Nudies

· 9 to 10 p.m. - Surprise visual show

Sunday, July 1st

Main stage

· 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. - Electric Food

· 1:15 to 2:15 p.m. -The Next Step

· 2:45 to 3:30 p.m. - Dave Gans

· 4 to 6 p.m. - Juggling Suns

· 7 to 9 p.m. - Donna Jean & the Tricksters

· 9:30 to 11p.m. - Peter Rowan and Tony Rice Quartet

Second stage

· 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. - 3:AM

· 12:45 to 1:15 p.m. - Cosmic Graffiti

· 2:15 to 2:45 p.m. - John Hallburg

· 3:30 to 4 p.m. - Blue Nevada

· 6 to 7 p.m. - The Hillbilly Gypsies

· 9 to 9:30 p.m. - Surprise visual show

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