Donna Jean, Mark Karan and Keller Williams Prove Social at Gratefulfest
The 10th annual Gratefulfest took place from July 3-6 at Garrettsville, OHs Nelson Ledges Quarry Park. As the festivals title suggests, Gratefulfest celebrates the spirit of the Grateful Dead, and this years festival featured performances by the likes of Dark Star Orchestra, Keller Williams, Steve Kimock Crazy Engine, Jemimah Puddleduck featuring
Mark Karan and John Molo, New Riders of the Purple Sage, JGB, Boombox and David Gans, the latter of whom has appeared at every Gratefulfest since its inception. A number of Ekoostik Hookah side-projects also performed throughout the weekend: Spikedrivers, Mullins Band, KatzNjammers and Screamin Peach.
As expected, numerous performers collaborated throughout the weekend. RatDog guitarist Mark Karan sat in with Dark Star Orchestra on Friday night for both New Minglewood Blues and Deal, while Keller Williams joined the group on Sunday for Scarlet Begonias. Donna Jean Godchaux-MacKay sat in with number bands throughout the weekend: Jemimah Puddleduck (Don’t Let Go and Annie Don’t Lie), Rumor Has It featuring Donna Jean & the Tricksters alums Klyph Black, Tom Circosta and Dave Diamond (No One Said It’d Be Easy, Tore Up Over You) and both New Riders of the Purple Sage performances. She also joined both her children onstage, singing with Kinsman MacKay’s band Grown Folks and sitting in with Zion’s band BoomBox for an extended Shakedown Street. As previously reported, the Donna Jean Godchaux Band cancelled its Gratefulfest appearances while guitarist Jeff Mattson recovers from a partially collapsed lung. Godchaux rallied, however, putting together a band that included Gans, Circosta, Diamond, Black, Stu Allen (JGB), ScareKrow (from the New Riders crew) and others for a loose, midnight jam.
Mattson is said to be recovering and will join Donna Jean Godchaux Band for its upcoming appearance at Norwich, NYs Chenango Blues Association Summer Series on July 16.