When the Gathering of the Vibes started in 1996 in Purchase, N.Y., it was called Deadhead Heaven: A Gathering of the Tribe, and it was a tribute to Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia, who had died the previous year.
A quick look at the lineup announced Monday for this year's music and arts festival is enough to make any Deadhead think they're in heaven.
Each of the four surviving main members of the Dead will be on hand, with Bob Weir's entry perhaps the most intriguing. The singer-guitarist will perform with Bruce Hornsby and Branford Marsalis at the Vibes, which takes place July 19-22 at Seaside Park in Bridgeport.
"Having all of the surviving members of the band with us is an honor and a privilege," Vibes founder and owner Ken Hays said Monday. "Having Bob Weir with Bruce Hornsby's band and special guest Branford Marsalis brings a diversity that I think people are going to enjoy.
"It's exciting. It's a really cool project that Bob and Bruce have put together."
Though jam-band fans are the core audience of the Vibes, Hays and his crew make it a point to mix other genres into the lineup. Other headliners this year include Primus, reggae heavyweights Steel Pulse, progressive bluegrass group Yonder Mountain String Band, instrumental band Sound Tribe Sector 9, folk-rock band The Avett Brothers, and Dweezil Zappa's salute to his father Frank's music, "Zappa Plays Zappa."
"Diversity is critical or we become stagnant," Hays said. "That's something we always fight with, and we make sure we bring in some creative up-and-coming young artists and offer them a platform where they can be in front of thousands of people.
"I'm really pleased with how the lineup came together. We have a bunch of bands that have been with us before at the Vibes, a bunch of bands that we haven't seen on the Vibes' stage in many years, and a handful of artists that have never performed here. It's a solid lineup with incredible musicians.
"I feel good that we have something to offer everybody."
For tickets or more information, call 203-908-3030, visit www.gatheringofthevibes.com, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.