For the sixth year in a row, Dark Star Orchestra will host its Dark Star Jubilee, featuring performances by jam-band heavyweights and like-minded artists. Among the performers set to take the stage at Legend Valley in Thornville, Ohio, on Memorial Day weekend, May 26-28, are Greensky Bluegrass, Hot Tuna, Keller Williams KWahtro, David Nelson Band, Rumpke Mountain Boys, Jeff Mattson & Friends, Like Father Like Son, Owsley County and Matt Reynolds. Early bird festival passes are currently available starting at $119, with RV passes starting at $65 and passes for children ages 4-12 starting at $30. Full ticket info can be found at the festival website.
Dark Star Jubilee was founded in 2012 by Dark Star Orchestra, the long-running jam band that performs classic Grateful Dead sets in their entirety. Originally held over Labor Day weekend, the festival moved to Memorial Day weekend the following year and has never looked back. That inaugural festival included performances by the Mickey Hart Band, 7 Walkers featuring Bill Kreutzmann, Dumpstaphunk, Jorma Kaukonen, The Infamous Stringdusters and Perpetual Groove. The common thread each year is, of course, Dark Star Orchestra, which is set to perform three full-set shows over the duration of the festival.
Also performing multiple sets is Hot Tuna, the blues rock outfit led by former Jefferson Airplane bandmates Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady. The band has recently been performing as a trio with drummer Justin Guip, just as they did during much of the ‘70s. Like Father, Like Son is a collaboration between Dark Star Orchestra members Rob Barraco and Rob Eaton and their sons, Rob Eaton Jr. and Tom Barraco. The family band debuted at last year’s Jubilee, along with former Ratdog bassist Rob Sylvester, performing a set that included the Jerry Garcia Band staple “That’s What Love Will Make You Do,” Kingfish’s “Jump for Joy,” Steely Dan’s “Josie” and Billy Preston’s “Will It Go ‘Round in Circles.”
The Keller Williams KWahtro is an “acoustic dance music” collaboration between Williams, Gibb Droll, Danton Boller and Rodney Holmes. According to Williams’ website, the band uses his compositions “as a template for creations involving improvisational bursts of new disco, reggae, drum and bass and jazz swing afro trap, all with two acoustic guitars, double bass and drums.”
As with most jam band-related events, Dark Star Jubilee allows recording throughout the festival. A small tapers’ section will be made available on a first-come, first-served basis. Cameras will also be allowed inside the venue, but the festival’s website cautions visitors to be respectful with their flash.