Skull & Roses @ Ventura, CA
April 2 @ 12:00 pm - April 5 @ 5:00 pm$299
Skull & Roses Festival has revealed the lineup for its 2020 event, set to return to Ventura, CA’s Ventura County Fairgrounds on April 2nd–5th. Skull & Roses is a multi-day festival which celebrates the music and community that formed around the Grateful Dead.
This year, for the first time, an original member of the Grateful Dead will appear as one of the festival’s headliners: drummer Bill Kreutzmann. Kreutzmann will hit the stage at Skull & Roses with his long-dormant side project Billy & The Kids, which features bassist Reed Mathis (Tea Leaf Green, Electric Beethoven, Golden Gate Wingmen), guitarist Tom Hamilton (Ghost Light, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead), and keyboardist Aron Magner (The Disco Biscuits). Billy & The Kids have recently been teasing a return to the stage for the first time since 2016, and their Skull & Roses set marks the first 2020 reunion date to be announced.
In addition to Billy & the Kids, the list of headliners includes the second Skull & Roses appearance by Oteil & Friends. Oteil’s “friends” for his Skull & Roses set include guitarist Eric Krasno (Soulive), drummer John Morgan Kimock (Mike Gordon), multi-instrumentalist Jason Crosby (Terrapin Family Band), and more.
The event will also feature a headlining set by Voodoo Dead, Steve Kimock‘s unique project which debuted for three sold-out late-nights during the 2015 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. The band has only performed a handful of times outside of Jazz Fest with slightly varied lineups that explore the Dead’s expansive live catalog with a nod to New Orleans. The Voodoo Dead lineup for Skull & Roses will feature Jeff Chimenti (Dead & Company), George Porter Jr. (The Meters), Jackie Greene, and John Morgan Kimock.
Over the years, this event has evolved from bands exclusively performing the music of the Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia to include those that have been inspired and influenced by their timeless music. Such original acts on the 2020 Skull & Roses lineup include Jackie Greene, Circles Around the Sun, Ghost Light, David Nelson Band, Midnight North, Moonalice, multi-instrumentalist Dave Harrington, and more.
Skull & Roses has also expanded to four days in 2020, beginning with a Thursday night kick-off party featuring Stu Allen and Mars Hotel and a rare performance by Rooster Conspiracy featuring Jay Lane, Reed Mathis, and Todd Stoops. From Friday to Sunday, music will run daily from 11:00 am to midnight, and until 7:00 pm on Sunday on two alternating stages.
While continuous music will take place on two stages all day long, there will also be new space for festival-goers to explore including an expanded Shakedown Street vending area, an all-day and night general store, a Shady Grove area where people can relax and cool off, and Franklin’s Tower, a large indoor lounge with chairs, couches, and full-service bars. Attendees will also be able to purchase photos from the event by legendary music photographer Jay Blakesberg, posters by Dennis Larkins, and more.
In addition, Skull & Roses is introducing a new ticket category, GA Plus, for 500 fans. GA Plus ticket-holders will receive various perks including access into the High Time Lounge, a large tent with great views of both stages, furniture, full-service bars, reserved bleacher seating adjacent to the stages, and air-conditioned bathrooms. GA Plus members will have exclusive access to their own section of Franklin’s Tower, which will feature intimate musical performances, meet-and-greets, and admittance to interviews with some of the musicians by Grateful Dead extended family members Steve Parish and Dennis McNally. Skull & Roses is also offering many new lodging options for 2020 including hotel rooms at the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach and Ventura Beach Marriott, RV and tent camping at the nearby Ventura Beach RV Park, and home rentals through their partnership with Vrbo.
Tier 1 tickets will go on sale on Friday, November 15th at 10:00 a.m. PT. For more information on tickets, head here.