BRIDGEPORT - The 13th annual music festival Gathering of the Vibes got under way in Bridgeport Friday, attracting large crowds of fans.

The event, which will last until Sunday, is taking place on two and half miles of Seaside Park.

The festival started as a low-scale memorial in 1995 after the death of Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia. But over the last decade, organizers say it has grown in scope and popularity. This year, they expect more than 20,000 people from across the country to come out for the celebration of music.

?It?s about the Grateful Dead, it?s about the family,? says Jonathan Lobdell, a festival-goer, ?and it?s about moms and dads and grandparents passing the baton to the next generation.?

Some of the artists that are scheduled to perform in the festival include the Black Crowes, Dark Star Orchestra and Phil Lesh, of the Grateful Dead.

?It's a conglomeration of beautiful, freaky, weird people getting together to have a real good time,? says Michael Glenn, a performer.

This year marks the fourth time Bridgeport has hosted the Gathering of the Vibes, and organizers say it will not be the last. Seaside Park will remain the venue for the event at least until 2012.