Dan Falkenstein first heard music by the Grateful Dead as a student at The College of William and Mary.
"It just knocked me over," he said.
The music has been part of his life ever since.
Falkenstein's Asheville-based band Circus Mutt will join two local bands Saturday night on the Kimball Theatre stage for "Not Fade Away! A Grateful Dead 50th Anniversary Celebration."
James Drake, a guitarist in local jam band Blind and Dirty, became a "Deadhead" a little earlier than Falkenstein, as a young teenager growing up in Williamsburg, where Drake remembers a sizable scene of Deadheads.
"I know that people are still here, but it seems like they don't get together like they used to," Drake said. "It's kind of important to me to try and put something together to bring the locals back together to celebrate the music."
That's one reason Drake organized the tribute concert. It's something he's had in the works since January. He also wanted to celebrate the band's 50th anniversary on a local scale.
Local folk-rock duo Chris Krehbiel and Joe B. Jones will open Saturday night's concert with an acoustic set.
Circus Mutt, a guitar and mandolin duo with a bluegrass feel, will follow.
As a five-member rock 'n' roll act, Blind and Dirty will headline the concert.
Concertgoers can expect three set lists, three sounds and three bands, Falkenstein said.
"Who knows?" he said, maybe all three bands will share the stage at one point.
One thing is certain: "It's going to be all Grateful Dead songs all night long," Drake said.
Lighting production will accompany four hours of music in the Kimball setting.
"This is not something that happens very often," Jones said, describing the concert as a rare chance for fans and newcomers alike.
"It'll probably carry a little bit of the magic that the Grateful Dead shows carry," Falkenstein said.
The magic comes from the band's live energy. It's a quality that quickly magnetized fans into a community, a family, around the band.
For Drake, a fan of 26 years, music by the Grateful Dead represents freedom.
"It's about being who you are," Drake said. "It's not about style or money or the normal attitude toward fame and music and being popular."
"It's about the music itself," Drake continued.
Saturday's tribute concert has received a big response already, Drake said, with over 200 tickets sold.
Tickets are available at www.colonialwilliamsburg.com/plan/calendar/kimball/grateful-dead or by calling 1-800-HISTORY.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/blindanddirty.
Bridges can be reached 757-345-2342.
Want to go?
When: 7 p.m., Oct. 10
Where: Kimball Theatre, 424 W. Duke of Gloucester St., Williamsburg