After 15 years of national touring and countless festival appearances, Dark Star Orchestra finally puts together its own event this weekend.
“We’re really excited” said DSO vocalist/guitarist Jeff Mattson. “It’s going to be a lot of fun and we have a lot of acts that we’re excited to see and hang out with. It’s gonna be a great time.
“There’s a community feeling that comes with a festival that’s much different than a concert. It’s nice where you get comfortable and the audience is comfortable. It creates a nice atmosphere to get loose and jam.”
The Dark Star Jubilee runs Aug. 31 to Sept. 2 at Legend Valley in Thornville, Ohio. It features three complete performances by Dark Star Orchestra as well as sets by Mickey Hart Band, 7 Walkers featuring Bill Kreutzmann, Donna Jean Godchaux Band with Jeff Mattson, Keller Williams, Jorma Kaukonen, the Infamous Stringdusters, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, Donna the Buffalo, Perpetual Groove, BoomBox, Cornmeal, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, David Gans, Rumpke Mountain Boys and many more.
The event is being promoted by DSO’s manager, Tim Walther, who brought his All Good Music Festival & Camp Out to Legend Valley last month.
In regards to the lineup Mattson credits Walther with a diversity of styles that includes rock, roots, reggae, funk, folk, electronic dance and bluegrass. “It was about coming down to figuring out who we’d like to have within our budget, and that was a lot of fun,” said Mattson. “He came up with some bands not all of us were familiar with, so we’re excited to see them, too.”
Like the All Good festival, Jubilee uses two stages that will provide continuous music and no overlapping sets throughout the day, night and early morning.
A music veteran of more than 30 years as a member of Zen Tricksters, DSO and Donna Jean Godchaux Band, Mattson understands the importance of keeping the music running nonstop. “You lose the energy of the crowd. I’ve seen that happen at a lot of festivals.”
Right now Mattson is home during a rare period of inactivity prior to Jubilee. That’s followed by DSO’s fall tour. He could use the rest. Not only will he take part in three, two-set concerts with his band but he’ll reunite with former Grateful Dead vocalist Donna Jean Godchaux during her performance. The two previously toured together and recorded 2008’s “Donna Jean and the Tricksters.”
Mattson revealed that the Godchaux set will feature originals and covers. “Of course, we do some Dead songs, too, but sometimes we change ‘em up a bit. Donna may sing a song that Jerry would have sung.”
They will be joined by DSO members – keyboardist Rob Barraco and drummer Rob Koritz. “We’re gonna be winging it,” he said, laughing, “but I’m not worried about it all. We’ve played together so much it’ll be easy.”
“Sometimes it’s even better because it’s fresh, gets the creative juices flowing. Anything that changes things up is good for the soul. Play something different. Play with different musicians.”
Dark Star Jubilee offers three-day and two-day tickets including a VIP experience. Children 12 years old and under are admitted free with a paid adult. There will be designated camping areas for ADA, families and a quiet camping area.
For more information, visit www.darkstarjubilee.com.