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Good 'Vibes' Are Right Around the Corner

The Gathering of the Vibes, a music festival organized by Weston resident Ken Hays, returns to Seaside Park July 19.

On July 19 music lovers from Connecticut, New York and beyond are expected to descend upon Bridgeport's Seaside Park for .  

The festival—founded in 1995 to celebrate the life of Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia—is finishing up the last year of a five-year contract to be held at what Ken Hays, the festival's organizer, has called "an absolutely spectacular, unique venue."

In April, Hays said it remains to be seen whether the Vibes will return to Bridgeport next year, but that whatever may pan out, the city of Bridgeport and the state have been really supportive.

Hays said he expects more than 20,000 people to attend the four-day festival, which kicks off on Thursday, July 19.

"Ticket sales are rocking," said Hays, a Weston resident.

There are many different ticketing options available, and tickets can be purchased through the festival's website until Tuesday, July 17. After that, tickets will be available at the venue for more money. Festival-goers can choose to either purchase a 4-day camping pass, good for admittance Thursday through Sunday and camping, or they may buy single day passes. VIP ticketing—which includes a separate entrance, catered meals, discounted drinks and air-conditioned tents—is also available. 

All four of the surviving members of The Grateful Dead are scheduled to perform at the festival: Bassist Phil Lesh will perform with his band; rhythm guitarist Bob Weir will be playing with Bruce Hornsby (who played keys for The Dead in early 1990s) and special guest Branford Marsalis; drummer Mickey Hart will perform with his band; and drummer Bill Kreutzmann will play with the 7 Walkers. 

Other acts scheduled to perform include Primus, STS9, Zappa Plays Zappa, Yonder Mountain String Band, Strangefolk, Dark Star Orchestra and Connecticut's own Kung Fu and Deep Banana Blackout. 

"It's family day on Sunday at the Vibes, which means no charge for kids 15 and under," Hays said, adding more than 2,000 kids attended last year's festival. "It's totally family friendly and just an incredibly easy experience for those who come out for the day."

Hays said the festival's really accessible, with signs directly festival-goers to parking and shuttles taking them from the parking lots to the festival grounds. 

The Vibes offers residents of the Nutmeg State a special deal. 

"Also, on Sunday, Connecticut residents get in for $20 bucks each," Hays said. "They just have to show some ID." 

For more information, visit govibes.com.

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