IC tribute band to celebrate Jerry Garcia’s birthday

Dead Heads, rejoice — a two-night celebration will drive that train at the Yacht Club.


Iowa City band Winterland will celebrate the birthday of the late musician Jerry Garcia in a two-night event at the Yacht Club to remember the talented musician’s catalogues of work for the Grateful Dead and the Jerry Garcia Band.

Winterland specializes in covering Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia music circa 1969 to 1978. The band emulates Garcia’s timeless influence and psychedelic rhythms with its own interpretation of the sound.

One night will consist of Grateful Dead music and one night of Jerry Garcia Band music to celebrate and represent both catalogues of music that Garcia was responsible for and contributed to. The locals will also pay tribute to the depth of his influence as a musician and his scope stylistically as a writer, said lead singer and guitarist Stacy Webster.

Winterland has gained popularity in the Iowa City community for its improvisational talents, which include a new set list and sound each time the group performs — similar to Garcia’s style of performance.

The band originally was set to play at a Jerry Garcia birthday bash in Wisconsin, but because of a tragedy affecting the festival’s promoter, Webster booked the Yacht Club instead to put on its version of the birthday celebration.

“What intrigues me most about the Grateful Dead is songs are never played the same live, there’s a framework for the song, but they end up being expressed differently,” Winterland drummer Chad Scott said. “It’s the idea that you have longer extended framing of music that is a little more experimental psychedelic rock, and you’re not playing the same thing every night.”

Webster has been a Grateful Dead fan since the age of 19, and his original cover band, the Mayflies, primarily played Grateful Dead music as a Halloween project, which gained enough success that led to the creation of the current band.

Each member of Winterland also has the same undying love for the tributed band, which helps create and form the unique sound.

“The Grateful Dead allows the opportunity to treat the music with a fresh approach each time a song is played,” said bass player and vocalist Byron Stevens.

Part of Winterland’s success comes from the wide range of ages and demographics of people who have a passion for the Grateful Dead. Webster describes it as a tribal fan base and said this is because of the Grateful Dead’s everlasting appeal that still has people continually coming into the fold and keeps the number of listeners growing.

“People can expect that we will take the stage, and we will not relent,” Scott said. “We will play the songs with 110 percent of our abilities and express it with emotion.”

The birthday bash will take place Aug. 3 and Aug. 4 at the Yacht Club, 13 S. Linn St. Doors will open at 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $10 each night or through Ticketfly for a special price of $10 covering both nights.