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Renowned musician David Grisman headlines 10th annual Fiddles, Vittles & Vino July 27 at Rock Ledge Ranch

This twilight scene at the 2011 Fiddles, Vittles & Vino was shot from one side of the Peak View (main) Stage on the Orchard House lawn. According to music organizer Mark Gardner (who can be seen in a tan hat, blue jeans and string tie near the stage), the event will have a new portable unit for the main stage this year, with improved lighting and sound.
Westside Pioneer file photo
       With Sunday, July 27 marking the decade date for the annual Fiddles, Vittles & Vino at the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site, event organizers thought it would be fun to shoot high.
       This led to the signing of the David Grisman FolkJazz Trio as this year's main musical act. Musically prominent since the early 1960s, Grisman is a versatile artist who has recorded numerous albums, played with such recognizable musicians as Jerry Garcia, Doc Watson, Vassar Clements and Bill Monroe, and performed five times at Carnegie Hall.
       The July 27 Fiddles, Vittles & Vino will be from 2 p.m. till 8:30 p.m., or whenever the Grisman set (starting at 7) actually concludes.
       Rock Ledge Ranch is at 3105 Gateway Road, with parking lot access from Gateway Road, off 30th Street.
       Three area bands are also on the bill. “The Vittles & Vino” part of the name refers to the other event features - tents set up with representatives of more than 20 area restaurants and liquor suppliers, breweries or vineyards, offering food and/or drink samples. All are included with the price of admission ($45 for adults, $15 for ages 13 and under through July 21, and $50/$15 after that, including at the gate the day of the event).

David Grisman is shown with a mandolin in a publicity photo. His trio will perform at 7 p.m. at this year's Fiddles, Vittles & Vino.
Courtesy of David Grisman website
       The refreshments will be available until they are gone (which is usually by 6 to 7 p.m.). The event will be contained inside a temporarily fenced area of the ranch, around the Orchard House.
       Fiddles & Vittles is being organized, as in past years, by Club Nine, a volunteer group of area chefs that supports the ranch and helped found the event as a fundraiser for it in 2005. The food and drink samples are donated.
       The hope is that offering David Grisman as the main act will ensure a fourth straight sellout for the event and add to its reputation. Many bands over the previous nine years have exhibited eye-opening prowess, previously won awards and/or competitions and have large followings. However, for the 10th annual show, “the chefs wanted something special to celebrate it,” explained Mark Gardner, the Fiddles music manager.”I'm very happy with what we've done in the past. They've all been killer bands. We wanted a performer of national or international recognition, if possible.”
       To that end, the event's music budget was expanded. However, success was no guarantee, considering how expensive top-name acts can be. Luckily, Gardner said, “it worked out with Grisman. He was somebody not completely crazy on price. He's a mandolin master. I kind of consider him the elder master of acoustic music.”
       Grisman's trio also consists of his son Samson on bass and Jim Hurst on guitar. Grisman plays with a quintet much of the time. According to biographical material, Grisman and his son formed a trio with Hurst in 2011 “to explore some of their common roots in folk, country and jazz.”
       Gardner said he expects Grisman's set to offer a wide range of music. Fiddles is known as a bluegrass event, but performers in jazz, folk, Americana, blues and even some rock 'n roll have been heard over the years - and Grisman is no stranger to any of those. He is also known for “fusing” styles in innovative ways. “In a way, he was the first to do that,” Gardner said. “It's an honor to have a guy who has had such an influence on music.”
       Normally, bands at Fiddles & Vittles play at least twice and usually on both stages. The larger stage, Pike View, will be a mobile unit set up just west of the Orchard House. The other will be the Pergola Stage, which is literally the back porch of the Orchard House. Both stages are far enough away from each other that sound overlap is not a problem, and from 3 to 6:30 p.m. there will be simultaneous music in both locations. However, the agreement with Grisman is that his group will play just once, starting at 7 p.m. on the Pike View Stage.
       The three other bands, with scheduled times and stages, are:
       Mark Gardner & Rex Rideout - Pergola, 3-3:45 p.m.; Peak View, 4:50-5:35 p.m. Gardner is also a banjo player who has performed with fiddle-player Rideout at two previous Fiddles shows (plus he did a brief stand-in last year when a scheduled act got delayed in traffic). Gardner is also a historian, with solo CDs featuring adaptations of traditional songs about cowboys and outlaws. Rideout appeared as a musician in the recent movie, “Cowboys and Aliens.”
       WMD Bluegrass Band - Peak View, 3:55-4:40 p.m. and 5:45- 6:30 p.m. WMD stands for the "Wielands of Mass Destruction,” their humor-filled website states. The Wielands are a family band from Black Forest, headed by their father Jon. The youngest is Luke, a 12-year-old who plays stand-up bass. Attendees at the April “Taste of OCC” event in Bancroft Park would have heard them. Their repertoire is mainly bluegrass, as well as some gospel and swing.
       Grass It Up - Peak View, 3-3:45 p.m.; Pergola, 4-5:30 p.m. They originally formed in Alabama, relocating to Colorado in 2005. They've often played on the Westside, and were previously at Fiddles in 2011. Gardner said they are mainly a bluegrass group, but explore other styles too.
       Tickets and other information are available at fiddlesvittlesandvino.com. The phone at Rock Ledge is 578-6777.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 7/19/14; Outdoors: Rock Ledge Ranch)

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