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Ready To Rock? Music Fest Will Bring Diverse Bands to Dos Picos Park

Ramona's 'Cactus' and Whyte will perform with Twang, Grano and Nash, now known collectively as Back to the Garden.

In 1969 an estimated 400,000 people gathered on a New York farm for the quintessential American rock concert of the era: Woodstock. All the big names were there for the three-day event, among them Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Santana, Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Who and Jefferson Airplane.

Also performing was a fledgling band named Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (CSNY) that assembled from members of The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield and The Hollies. After Woodstock, it went on to become a global household name and is remembered for its harmonies on songs such as  Our House and Teach Your Children.

On Saturday, a band reminiscent of CSNY will take the stage at Ramona Music Fest at . Until recently they've called themselves Cactus, Twang, Whyte, Grano and Nash. Now, they're renamed Back to the Garden, taken from the lyrics of the Joni Mitchell song Woodstock, also made famous by CSNY. To hear the CSNY version, click here.

"Back to the Garden isn't just about Woodstock for me," Sharon Whyte told Patch recently. "It has another meaning too. It's about getting back to the soil, a simpler way of life."

Whyte and fellow band member Jim Soldi ("Cactus") are a couple who live in Ramona. Soldi plays guitar and is renowned for his long touring career playing with Johnny Cash (see photo attached to this story). Whyte plays keyboards and accordion. Other band members are Marc Twang (Del Mar) on guitar, Larry Grano (Allied Gardens) on drums and Rick Nash (La Mesa) on bass.

Individually or in various combinations, the members have performed with Johnny Cash, Ricky Skaggs, Kenny Loggins, America, Juice Newton, Kim Carnes, Eve Selis, Waylon Jennings and Billy Ray Cyrus, to name a few. To see a video of a Johnny Cash performance with Soldi playing, click here. Each member of Back to the Garden also performs in other music projects and they are all studio musicians as well.

When they're not doing their Back to the Garden project, the group performs as Eve Selis's band. This summer, they'll accompany Selis on her annual European tour.

"She has a new CD—Family Tree—dedicated to all our family members we've lost," Whyte said.

Back to the Garden also performs at The Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach, at concerts on Catalina Island, at Anthology—a downtown San Diego club—and at Calypso in Encinitas, among other venues.

The group has a broad repertoire that also includes Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, Stevie Wonder, Elton John and others.

At Ramona Music Fest, one Back to the Garden member, Larry Grano, will also perform with Rockola.

Ramona Music Fest is a fundraiser for the local Rotary and Kiwanis clubs. Whyte told Patch her group loves to help raise money.

"After the 2007 fires, we did a benefit for emergency animal rescue in Ramona. They risked their lives for people’s pets. We’ve done a couple of benefits for them ... also for a family who lost their home."

Other bands at Ramona Music Fest will include , Cookie, Agavero Revue, Baja Blues, Dusty and the Love Notes, and the Ramona High School Royal Blues Jazz Band.

The Fest will be from noon until 5 p.m. at Dos Picos County Park, 17953 Dos Picos Park Road, off Mussey Grade Road in Ramona.

A silent auction will be held and there'll be children's activities. To see the list of auction items, ticket information and band times, check out the event website.

We want to hear about your favorite music memory, whether it's about a special concert, a memorable moment when you heard a song with a loved one or a song that sums up your take on life. Tell us about it in the comments section below!

Laurie March 27, 2012 at 03:45 PM
I went to a party in Las Vegas where Rockola rocked us! They are one of the best cover bands around and their Beatles set is fantastic! Of course they play way more than just Beatles and I guarantee you will start dancing once they hit the stage and you won't stop until Rockola does!
Julie Pendray March 27, 2012 at 04:50 PM
It was so fun reliving the music of this era as I wrote this story last night. Good memories ... Patch will be at the Music Fest. Join us there!
greg Chick March 27, 2012 at 05:04 PM
We all need a trip "Back to the Garden", Some of us could use a Beer too. Todays times are as much turmoil as then, I know I was there. Family events and local charities are what we need to do keep from needing too many Beers. Peace in these times of political polarity and uncertainty is hard to come by, so come by and get some.
zara lee March 28, 2012 at 07:39 AM
i feel music is my life.. no else.. :)
zara lee March 28, 2012 at 07:40 AM
but actually i'm here also ; http://www.musicsbox.com to get latest music..
Julie Pendray March 29, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Back to the Garden band performed on KUSI this week. To see & hear them, go to this link & look to the right of the home page. You'll see the words Ramona Music below the video clip: http://www.kusi.com/
Thayes March 29, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Back to the Garden is a fantastic group of musicians. Have seen them numerous times and they always deliver!
Julie Pendray April 04, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Zara Lee, you are the winner of the $25 Kenrix Sushi certificate. We had a contest and you could either leave comments on one of these stories or in the contest file itself. We gave each participant a number and then used a random number generator to pick the winner. Please contact me at julie.pendray@patch.com to arrange for your certificate to be mailed. Congratulations.

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