Brown Eyed Women—Photograph © Henry Hungerland
My experience playing S&R 2022 with Brown Eyed Women was incredible! For starters, it was our first trip to California as a band, and on top of that we were playing at the same location the Grateful Dead had played. It was surreal. I was so honored to be part of it. I parked my rental SUV on the sloped dirt track, and unloaded my gear – it was hot and dusty! I was taking in the speedway grounds, palm trees, sunshine, and ocean views. It was such an emotional high riding the rotating stage as we began our set with “Feel Like a Stranger” to an amazing audience. The whole set was thrilling.
Caroline Killoh—Photograph © Hal Masonberg
Once I came back down to planet earth later in the day , I found some friends in the audience, and also hung out in the guitar display tent, and was able to meet Rick Turner (RIP). The next day we came back and did a set with David Gans, which was also a blast! The whole experience was incredible for the band, and for me personally. We have put so much work into the Brown Eyed Women project as a whole, and it was just so satisfying to be able to share our interpretation of the GD music at this high profile festival. We are so honored to have been asked back for S&R 2023! I am hoping to be able to get out to the Shakedown vendor lot this year as I didn’t have time this past April. Can’t wait!
Katie Moore—Photograph © Henry Hungerland
As an East-coaster, Ventura was just kind of this mythical venue, a name swirled on a hand-decorated cassette, always a killer show. Somehow I’d never gotten there. So it was beautiful from the moment we arrived. Johnny on the spot golf carts, amazing hospitality, fiery sunsets, magic music…and what, a wall of sound?! But the kid in me is going to remember most that first moment we hit, coming around on the rotating stage, revealing the crowd… grateful for that experience, still bringing a smile.
It’s always nice to be surrounded by people who love the Grateful Dead as much as I do. This festival was jam packed with smiles, warmth and excitement from the moment I got there. Good vibes and grate tunes were everywhere. The circular stage that rotated kept everything literally movin’ and groovin’ all day and nite. By the time I took my place on stage I was feeling especially grateful, and fully aware of the life that led me to that moment.
Denise Parent—Photograph © Hal Masonberg
It was nice to meet some of my favorite players in the scene, and a total thrill to meet some of the iconic members of the Grateful Dead Family. Every single person was there to share in the electric joy of the music and history of the Grateful Dead. I am so honored to have been a part of that.
I cannot wait to get back there and feel that magic again.
I’ve been to the Bay area before, but Skull & Roses 2022 was my first trip to Southern California. My first impression was a breathtaking & beautiful drive through Malibu with the sun setting over the ocean, which was a treat since on the east coast the sun rises over the ocean which I’m not likely awake to see.
Dana Carroll—Photograph © Henry Hungerland
Arriving at Skull & Roses, I first checked out the impressive Dusty Strings guitar exhibit put together by Andy, Jason and Grateful Guitars. Amazing to have all of that in one spot! And I was extra lucky to have Jason let me spend a few minutes with Mission Control.
I was grateful to have been able to meet and chat with Rick Turner and admire his very fine work as well.
The revolving stage was a trip! When our first Brown Eyed Women set started, the stage turned to face a joyful and enthusiastic crowd and it was exciting for sure to play a powerful set with our unique spin on the music. The stage design and backdrop art completed the experience! And the Brown Eyed Women set on day two with David Gans was icing on the cake, what a pleasure and honor to be able to perform with David. There were so many great acts at Skull & Roses, so many wonderful different flavors of Grateful Dead music to enjoy!
I am very much looking forward to more of the same in 2023!
Jill Simmons—Photograph © Henry Hungerland
So far in my music career, I’ve played some very cool shows in some very cool venues, but nothing compares to Skull & Roses. To stand on the grounds and play in the same place as the Grateful Dead was humbling and all inspiring. And to meet so many others who are just as passionate about this community as I am was mind-blowing. I loved being immersed in the scene, meeting photographers and promoters, luthiers and visual artists and of course, musicians and Deadheads! I felt connected and a part of something bigger than me, and I loved it. Not to mention the crew and that fantastic revolving stage. What a trip! Brown Eyed Women was thrilled to play two sets last year – one on our own and one with David Gans joining us, and we can’t wait to jump back in to the joy in 2023.
Some of the highlights of S & R 2022: Getting the chance to sit down and talk with the great Rick Turner. He couldn’t have been nicer. He handed me the “Preztel” guitar and said “I built this in ‘71, I have no idea what I was thinking” and we both cracked up, I will cherish that moment.
Joni Bottari—Photograph © Henry Hungerland
Another was getting the chance to hold Jerry’s Fender Alligator Strat. I felt the mojo in that iconic guitar and I’d like to thank Andy Logan for letting me have that moment. Andy has done so much for our community by preserving a whole host of gear, guitars in particular, that the boys played back in the day, and loaning them out to players to play. That’s special.
One major perk of playing S&R for me was getting to see West Coast bands that I wouldn’t have had being an East Coast girl. I’m a big Jackie Greene fan, I was so psyched to see him perform, and he didn’t disappoint!
S & R is a total deadheads’ dream fest.
Nothing but Dead!
Oh, and I took some satisfaction in busting Big Steve’s chops. I grabbed him coming out of his RV and told him he ruined my one chance to talk with Jerry on my birthday, 11/30/79 in Pittsburgh at the hotel when Jerry and I were inches away on the hotel floor, and BAM! Big Steve gets between us and says “beat it kid”.
I look forward to knockin’ on the Golden Door in 2023 at this beautiful festival.