Grateful Dead founding member Phil Lesh turns 80 next year, and Lockn’ is planning for a grand celebration.
The Virginia festival announced Wednesday that its eighth annual edition will take place June 19-21, and that it will honor Lesh’s milestone birthday. The event has moved from August to June, but will still be held at its longtime home of Infinity Downs and Oak Ridge Farm in Arrington, Va., situated in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
“We’re going to celebrate Phil’s 80th the Lockn’ way,” Lockn’ co-founder Peter Shapiro said in a statement. “He means so much to all of us, and we really are determined to give him the best party he’s ever had. We want to celebrate the man and his music in the best way possible. No better way than on our farm in that setting.”
Lesh, who played the festival every year from 2013 to 2017, shared his excitement about his Lockn’ return.
“I am honored that Peter and the Lockn’ family are throwing me the most special kind of birthday bash this year!” he said in a statement. “It’s perfect because I’ve had so much fun there over the years – not just playing, but also getting to hang out and spend time with good friends and collaborators, some of whom I have just met and others whom I have been playing with since this all began. We are going to have a lot of fun.”
Details of Lesh’s participation – he’s previously headlined with Further, Phil Lesh & Friends and Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band, and has collaborated with artists including Carlos Santana and moe. at the festival – were not announced.
Lesh seems poised for a big 2020 after a minor back surgery sidelined him for the latter months of 2019. The procedure forced Lesh to cancel September festival appearances at Outlaw Festival, Dirt Farmer Festival and Telluride Blues & Brews.
It also forced him to postpone his annual “Phil-O-Ween” shows at the Shapiro-operated Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, N.Y., which had been scheduled Oct. 31-Nov. 2.
Shapiro and Lesh have an extensive relationship: The Grateful Dead bassist has played the Capitol Theatre 82 times since Shapiro reopened it in 2012, including five times this year.
Pollstar featured Shapiro, Lesh and fellow Grateful Dead founder Bob Weir on its cover in August, accompanying a deep dive about Lockn’.
“It’s taking some of the best of what was done in festivals and just taking that spirit and trying to layer our own version on top, now in this beautiful area, the Blue Ridge Mountains,” Shapiro told Pollstar. “I’m a fan. A lot of the time, I’m like, ‘What do I want to see? What do I want to do?’ And then I try to execute that.”
The event has become a hub for the type of music Shapiro champions and broadly defines as “blues-infused improvisational jam rock.”
Three-day passes for the 2020 event begin at $219 and go on sale Nov. 8 at 8:08 a.m. ET. Lockn’ will go from four days to three in 2020, but for an additional $30 is offering a “Steal Your Thursday” add-on, which will present attendees with a main stage “Jerry Dance Party” psychedelic audio and visual experience. On top of that, fans can also purchase a Wednesday early-entry add-on for the camping festival.
The Lockn’ 2019 lineup was topped by Bob Weir and Wolf Bros, Trey Anastasio Band, Tedeschi Trucks Band and Joe Russo’s Almost Dead.