There will be strummin’. There will be fiddlin’. There will be plenty of knee-clappin.’ Bluegrass at the Lake, Lodi’s first bluegrass festival, will be a six-hour event featuring five bluegrass bands on Saturday, Aug. 24. Jennifer Winn, city of Lodi recreation manager, wanted to bring some type of music festival experience to Lodi. When she asked around, many locals wanted to see good ol’ bluegrass in Lodi.
She’s a new convert to the Americana style of music, but found it’s a unique type of music that already has festivals in Santa Cruz and San Francisco, which she researched in the planning of Bluegrass at Lodi Lake.
“I wanted to try to mimic that,” she said.
During five 50-minute sets, Winn says families will spread out on blankets and in chairs on the grass, enjoying music and something to eat and drink.
Barbecue booths will offer hamburgers, hot dogs and tri-tip, and wine, margaritas and beer will be sold.
It is her hope that bluegrass will take off in Lodi.
“I envision this growing into a huge musical festival with multiple stages and having different bands on those different stages,” she said.
Chatting with Snap
Snap Jackson & the Knock On Wood Players is the Stockton band playing at Bluegrass at Lodi Lake. Here, frontman Snap Jackson talks about his love for the music, the instrument and his local roots.
What do you want people to know about bluegrass?
I would like people to know that bluegrass music goes far beyond the hillbilly stereotype that is too often attached to its name. There are many young and exciting bluegrass bands out there pushing the envelope and creating fresh, new, original music. I would also like people to know that just because a band has a banjo or fiddle player in it, it doesn’t necessarily make it “bluegrass” music. There are plenty of great documentaries out there on the history of bluegrass music for anyone looking to become more familiar with the genre.
Is there such thing as bluegrass lifestyle? How would you describe it?
I feel the late, great John Hartford summed it up best: “Bluegrass is the last American small town where everyone knows everyone and we don’t have to lock our doors.”
Where did you grow up? How did you learn to play music.
I come from a hard-working, middle class, Mexican American family. I was born in French Camp and raised in Stockton. I went to Lincoln High School and studied photography at the Academy of Arts in San Francisco. Even though there were no musicians in my family, music and music appreciation was always a very big deal when I was growing up. Not a single day went by when there wasn’t some kind of music being played on the record player. We — my siblings and I — were very fortunate to be exposed to such a wide range of music. My Grams got me going on the piano at a very young age. I took formal lessons and participated in recitals and things of that nature. She had a piano in her home and she always let my younger brother, Buddy, and I bang away on it whenever we wanted. It was during those informal times that I began to explore the piano and think more musically. My brother and I would sit all day and figure out lyrics, harmonies and melodies. That was definitely the beginning of me falling in love with music.
Why did you choose Bluegrass?
It chose me!
What instruments do you play?
Banjo and ukulele are my main instruments, but I also play a little harmonica, guitar, piano and mountain dulcimer.
Why do you want to play in Lodi?
Lodi has always been extremely good to our band and I’m excited to see how the festival will be received.
Who are some of your biggest inspirations?
I would have to say my family and my close friends. They constantly push me to do my best.
Why is bluegrass becoming cool now?
What do you mean?! It’s always been cool!
Describe your perfect weekend?
Good food, good weather and good music, surrounded by good people. It’s not where you are, but who you’re with.
Are you married? Have children? Pets?
Erin, my better half, and I have three daughters (Chloe, Laynie and Haleigh), one son (Milo), four dogs, two cats, two fish and one turtle.
What are some songs you will play in Lodi?
A good mixture of traditional bluegrass and original string band music.
Can you define bluegrass?
Rich harmonies accompanied by a syncopated blend of banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, dobro and standup bass.