Written by Lindsey Brickey
For the past six years festival-goers have flocked from around the country on Memorial Day weekend to join the members of Dark Star Orchestra at their annual festival, All Good presents Dark Star Jubilee. This year promises to be no different. The seventh annual Dark Star Jubilee will be held once again at Legend Valley in Thornville, OH and celebrates the memory of the Grateful Dead and their incredible contributions to music, and to the counter culture that they helped to create and propel into being.
Dark Star Orchestra formed in 1997 in Chicago, Illinois, with the brilliantly simple idea that they would cover Grateful Dead songs in honor of the musicians that had made such an impact on the band’s members, as well as so many others around the world. This idea later expanded to include the idea of performing original set lists from the Grateful Dead’s tenure and since then Dark Star Orchestra has made a name for themselves as a band guaranteed not only to pay tribute to this important fixture in music history, but as innovators who found a way to make the experience for each festival and concert attendee something unique and memorable. They have even performed sets with some of the original members of the Grateful Dead, a testament to the pride they take in honoring the band, their songs, and the overall experience of community and love that the Grateful Dead had advocated for and fought to preserve.
Dark Star Jubilee has come to be known as a festival of inclusion. First-time festival-goers are a common sight, as are peoples from all walks and stages of life. Families are especially drawn to the atmosphere and return year after year, becoming something of a tradition for many families’ Memorial Day Weekends. Of the many amenities this festival offers, it’s inclusion of families and finding ways to make parents and children feel safe and secure and still a part of the festival community has proved an important part of the Jubilee experience. They also offer ADA Camping for those with disabilities, Sober Camping for those who would prefer a more dry environment, and even offer day passes for those who prefer not to camp at the festival.
This year Dark Star Orchestra will play six sets, two each night on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Helping to create this experience along with them include the bands Los Lobos, Hot Tuna, The Infamous Stringdusters, Melvin Seals & DSO, The Nth Power, California Kind, Rumpke Mountain Boys, Jeff Mattson & Friends, The Lil Smokies, Holly Bowling, Dino English, Quintet Featuring James Poole & Dave Clark, Mystic Boweie’s Talking Dread’s, and Kitchen Dwellers. Each band presents it’s own unique vision and each has something to offer the music industry and festival-goers that is sure to draw in a diverse multitude of people. Having such a wide array of artists and genres ensures that there’s something for everyone at this popular festival.
As is only fitting, the music will begin at 4:20pm on Friday, May 25th with the Lil’ Smokies and continues every night until after midnight until the final 2 sets Sunday night, when Dark Star Orchestra will rightfully be closing out the festival with their unique style of performance and energy and leaving the crowd with no doubt that the Dead live on. With so much music, so much to experience, and so many memories to make, Dark Star Jubilee can’t come soon enough. So mark your calendars and make this Memorial Day weekend one to remember and help celebrate the memory and legacy of both the legendary Grateful Dead as well as Dark Star Orchestra, a band who continues to spread the Deadhead message of peace, love, and rock and roll in a day and time when we may in fact need that message the most.