“Dead Ends Live left me even more curious about the music of the Grateful Dead,but the real thrill came in watching such gifted, enthusiastic artists from different backgrounds collaborate, often improvising with each other for the first time, drawing in the audience as everyone discovered something new. It made for a weekend of great fun, especially with the two downtown venues working well to offer a variety of performances so close at hand. I only hope it can happen again. “Roger Levesque, Edmonton Journal

Visit our TICKETS page and click on Eventbrite or Tix on the Square boxes to purchase a weekend McDougall Church pass or full access weekend pass. Visit our LINEUP page for performer photos, bios and videos and see our SCHEDULE page for concert times and locations!

By Peter North, posted on Jan 17


Last year’s edition of Dead Ends Live yielded a couple of bonuses for some of the participating musicians and in turn Dead Ends 2023 will also benefit from at least one of the collaborations we witnessed last year.


Mark Hummel and Gary Vogensen were asked to create the An Evening At The Fillmore show. One, it seemed like an idea that could work because the canvas is so large that the artists would likely have no problem coming up with material from musicians that played in the esteemed San Francisco venue. And two, Hummel and Gary have some serious connections with artists who played The Fillmore. 


After debuting the show in Edmonton, the two returned to the Bay Area and been booked into a number of top rung showrooms including Yoshi’s in Oakland and The California in Santa Rosa.Their set list includes songs by Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Nick Gravenites, Fleetwood Mac (with Peter Green), Traffic, Corky Siegel, The Grateful Dead, Country Joe McDonald and Big Brother and the Holding Company, along with traditional blues from the books of Muddy Waters, Little Walter and James Cotton.


The Fillmore tribute now includes drummer Gary Silva who, along with Vogensen, played in Elvin Bishop’s band in the 1980s and ‘90s and bassist Bob Welsh who is a member of Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio and the newest member of the Fabulous Thunderbirds.


The other duo that came together over the inaugural Dead Ends weekend was Joe Craven & David Gans. While the two had certainly crossed paths over the years they never got down to business quite like they did during Dead Ends last March. David sums up what has transpired in the last ten months.

“I’d been a fan of Joe Craven for decades, and I had shared festival stages with him from time to time. Dead Ends Live was our first opportunity to do a full performance as a duo, and we slipped readily into an onstage rapport that served us brilliantly and pleased the audience audibly. Since then, we’ve been collaborating on what appears to be emerging as two ongoing projects.

The first is a monthly series at the Monkey House in Berkeley, in which Joe and I invite a third party for an unplanned evening of songs and jams. The second series is called GARCIA SONGBOOK LIVE, at the Ivy Room in Albany, California – an extension of our experience at last year’s Dead Ends live, in the spirit of the wonderful 2018 album Garcia Songbook Live by Joe Craven and the Sometimers.

“I think of our experience at the McDougall United Church in March of 2022 as the launch of a thrilling musical partnership, and I am delighted to be returning in 2023 to show off what we’ve learned.”

So, will there be another musical union coming out of Dead Ends Live 2023? We’ll see, but we can guarantee that there will be some exceptional collaborative moments with the cast we’ve lined up and personally I can’t wait to hear Gans plug in with some of our musicians in the Chateau ballroom both nights. I also won’t be surprised if there aren’t some serious sparks on the blues front when Tony D and Joe Craven whip it up with Dave Babcock, Rooster Davis, Sandro Dominelli and Harry Gregg.

By Peter North, posted  on Jan 13


Thanks to all of you who purchased Early Bird passes for Dead Ends Live ’23 which is taking place March 17 & 18 at the Chateau Lacombe and McDougall United Church in the downtown Edmonton.


I am personally excited that John Kadlecik will be headlining our event and appearing in a couple of settings, one being solo at McDougall on the 17th and then with some of our finest homegrown players, as led by Dave Babcock, in the Chateau Ballroom on the Saturday night.


Dead Ends Live co-producer Jayne Bawden is currently down in Jamaica where Jam In The Sand is being ruled by Dark Star Orchestra, which Kadlecik co-founded some three decades ago, the Melvin Seals led JGB of which Kadlecik is now a full time member and the somewhat eccentric and always engaging Keller Williams.


It was hard to not get swept up by Jayne’s enthusiasm during a quick phone call the other night after she had heard Kadlecik a couple of times on the beach.“He did a killer version of Jimmy Cliff’s The Harder They Come last night and he just channels Jerry Garcia’s songs from both the Grateful Dead and the solo recordings so brilliantly. He’s going to blow our Edmonton audience away,” said Bawden who met a number of fellow Canucks from Toronto at Jam In The Sand.


Kadlecik should know how turn heads when it comes to handling Garcia material as he was Bob Weir and Phil Lesh’s choice to hold down the Garcia role in the Futhers tours of a decade ago.

The last time I caught Kadlecik was the night before the Dead’s first of two Fare Thee Well concerts in Santa Clara in 2015. 

Kadlecik joined Melvin Seals and the rest of JGB at the Warfield Theatre in San Francisco with Chris Robinson, and for my money that show was superior to what the four original members of the Dead, Bruce Hornsby, Trey Anastasio and Jeff Chimenti delivered at Levi Stadium, although there were some memorable moments during that concert.

Kadlecik has a natural affinity for all the elements that went into Garcia’s musical equation, whether it’s the subtleties and references in his playing, the turn of a vocal phrase or the ability to bring fresh takes to timeless tunes.Look at any of Kadlecik’s set lists and any Dead and Garcia fan should smile at the inclusion of Garcia/Hunter gems like Sugaree, Lady With A Fan, Deal, Ship of Fools and Shakedown Street that are interspersed with Weir and Hunter’s Playing In The Band, plus covers of material penned by Johnny Cash, John Lennon and Bruce Hornsby.

Kadlecik can also drill down deep into Garcia’s solo output as well and as we know, the Garcia & Merle Saunders Band or any version of the Jerry Garcia Band delivered brilliant covers of everything from r&b classics to the best Dylan interpretations we’ve possibly heard.

This is going to be one of Kadlecik’s rare appearances in Canada and that he played as recently as last summer with our friend Joe Craven, who is returning to Dead Ends this year, we should expect some instrumental fireworks at Dead Ends ’23.

Press Release Dead Ends Live 2023 

The weekend of March 17 and 18, 2023, marks the return of Edmonton’s newest music festival Dead Ends Live. 


Born out of a love for the Grateful Dead songbook and the jam band culture, the inaugural Dead Ends Live thrilled fans of this broad musical canvas last spring, just as things were shifting to some sort of normalcy. 


Organizers are thrilled to announce that guitarist and singer John Kadlecik, a prominent and critically acclaimed figure in the Grateful Dead extended family, will be headlining the event with both solo and band performances at the Chateau Lacombe Hotel and McDougall Church. The venues conveniently sit next to each other at the top of Bellamy Hill Road in downtown Edmonton on 101 Street just south of Jasper Avenue. 


“John was the founder of Dark Star Orchestra thirty years ago, arguably the finest interpreters of Grateful Dead music. He was tapped by Bob Weir and Phil Lesh to inject the Garcia vocal and guitar sound into their Further project and John continues to channel his love of of Jerry Garcia as a member of JGB which is led by Garcia’s organ player Melvin Seals. We’re excited John said yes to coming to Canada and our event,” says Dead Ends Live Artistic Director Peter North. 


Returning for round two of Dead Ends Live are the artists who proved to be galvanizing forces at the inaugural event. Multi-instrumentalist Joe Craven and singer-songwriter David Gans who has also been the host of the Grateful Dead Radio Hour for close to three decades, will be front and centre at Dead Ends Live once again. 


“Joe and David loved playing with our hometown faves The McDades/McDeads last year, and sitting in with some of the blues players in the ballroom. Joe left everyone who attended in awe of his abilities,” says North regarding the violinist, mandolinist, percussionist and music educator who spent much of his career playing in the David Grisman Quintet and recording a string of brilliant albums with Garcia and Grisman. 

Gans chimed in with, “I had a great time at the first Dead Ends Live Festival! I met a bunch of great musicians, played two full sets with the amazing Joe Craven, and got to perform in a beautiful church in front of a very enthusiastic house.” 


Dead Ends Live is also injecting a couple of new musical components into the 2023 event. 


Violinist Shannon Johnson of The McDades will be leading Terrapin Station String Quartet through a selection of Grateful Dead and Beatles tunes at MacDougall Church on Friday March 17 on a bill with Kadlecik. 


Bluegrass is also a component that will surface at Dead Ends Live ’23. Critically acclaimed American guitarist, singer-songwriter Chris Jones will be performing with his wife, Canadian bluegrass guitarist and singer Sally Jones, on Saturday March 18.  The duo will host the Roots of the Grateful Dead session at McDougall Saturday afternoon with an all-star cast that will touch upon everything from bluegrass to acoustic blues to New Orleans sounds. 


Chris Jones is also a host on the popular Sirius XM show Bluegrass Junction. “We are looking forward to sharing music that was an important part of the bluegrass and folk roots of the Grateful Dead. From songs like “Dark Hollow” to “Deep Elem Blues”, which draw connections between the Dead and musicians like Bill Monroe and Red Allen. We’ll honour the artists and sounds that both influenced us and captivated the imagination of Jerry Garcia in the 1960s and 70s,” says Jones who has won a number of International Bluegrass Association Awards including Song of the Year for his co-write of Fork In The Road as recorded by the Infamous Stringdusters. 


Dead Ends Live will also present additional Saturday afternoon sessions in the Chateau Lacombe Ballroom and the best of our homegrown talent, which was a central to the 2022 event. 


The McGowans, Edmonton’s best proponents of the Dead and classic jam band sounds are on board as are singer-songwriter John Hewitt, cellist Christine Hanson, drummer Sandro Dominelli, sax ace Dave Babcock and his bandmates, pianist Rooster Davis and the bass playing Harry Gregg. 


“The Mbira Renaissance Band is also returning with a ballroom show featuring a number of special guests. This is a band with a big rhythmic heartbeat that our Grateful Dead fans loved dancing to. Since they played the inaugural Dead Ends, Mbira knocked out crowds at major festivals in Newfoundland and the Yukon last summer,” added North. 


The full Dead Ends Live schedule will be available the first week of the new year and Early Bird passes are on sale until January 11, 2023 for only $99 and available through EventBrite. 


Follow Dead Ends Live on Facebook and deadendslive.com 

Hotel and additional information is available online at deadendslive.com 


We’re pleased to announce the return of the Dead Ends Live Music Festival March 17-18, 2023.
Stay tuned for more information