Tickets to ride
A look at the diverse array of nearby summer music festivals
Folks who live in Northern California are pretty lucky. Not only do we have some of the most beautiful nature in the country right outside our back doors, but when summer rolls around and the body sweat begins a-tricklin', there always seems to be a steady lineup of nearby music festivals if you feel like taking a few days off to dance in the sun. Living in Chico, you almost have to make plans to get away periodically, because the sweltering afternoons can become maddeningly redundant, to say the least.
Here’s a brief rundown of the main, established festivals within decent driving range, with phone numbers and info about the lineups. (A note about the ticket prices: These vary dependent on age, when you buy them and where, so the guides below are rough estimates; you should consult official sites or call for more precise information.)
Be sure to bring lots of water and sunscreen. This Northern California sun is ‘pow’ful hot,’ as Huck Finn might say.
Sierra Nevada World Music Festival (Angels Camp)
June 20-22 at Frogtown, Angels Camp.
This is the 10th anniversary of the festival that features some of the best world and reggae music on two outdoor stages, with kids’ activities, multicultural sights and sounds, festival food and crafts.
This year’s artists include: The Wailers, Capleton, Yami Bolo, Stone Love, Mikey Dread, Pablo Moses, Barrington Levy, U-Roy, Prince Buster, Twinkle Bros, Pato Banton, Peter Rowan, Sister Carol, Johnny Clarke, Leroy Sibbles, Fully Fullwood, Brigadier Jerry, Mighty Crown, Shabaz, Hamsa Lila, Eek-a-Mouse, Big Mountain, B Side Players.
Camping is paid separately at the gate (not included in 3-day ticket price). Campsite rules: Absolutely no dogs; no vending; midnight sound curfew; no amplified sound in the campground; no nitrous.
Tickets are being sold locally in Chico at Diamond Western Wear ($40 to $47 a day), or you can try Ticketmaster in other locations.
Directions: From Sacramento take Hwy 99 south to Hwy 12 east to San Andreas, then Hwy 49 south to Angels Camp and continue 2 miles to Frogtown.
Other info at www.snwmf.com.
Kate Wolf Memorial Festival (Laytonville)
June 27-29 at the Black Oak Ranch
This is an annual tribute to the great Northern California singer/songwriter, Kate Wolf, who helped popularize folk in the 1970s before she died in 1986.
Artists officially booked at press time include: Greg Brown, Taj Mahal & Hula Blues Band, Iris Dement, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Dave Alvin, Tim O’Brien Band, Utah Phillips & Rose Tattoo, The Waifs, Norton Buffalo & friends, Nina Gerber, Rosalie Sorrels, Eddie from Ohio, Patty Larkin, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Tracy Grammer, Karen Savoca with Pete Heitzman and more.
Offsite camping and other lodging listed at Web site below. Please no pets. Children 6 and under get in free.
For tickets (which range from $35 for one day to $130 for full festival pass—check the Web site or call Cumulus Presents at (707) 829-7067 or email Cloud at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Directions: From the Sacramento Area: Take Hwy. 5 north to Williams, turn on Hwy. 20 west, follow all the way to Hwy. 101 north, go approximately 40 miles north to Laytonville. Black Oak Ranch is 5 miles north of Laytonville.
Web site: www.monitor.net/kate/.
High Sierra Music Festival (Quincy)
July 3-6, Quincy, Plumas County fairgrounds
The closest local fiesta for you jamband fanatics out there has an interesting lineup for this its 13th year. The picturesque and eclectic festival features both small and big stages, informal workshops, children’s activities, radio broadcasts and a lot more.
Artists include: Stevie Winwood (Traffic, Spencer Davis Group), The Del McCoury Band, John Scofield, Les Claypool and Frog Brigade, Karl Denson, The Sun Ra Arkestra, Antibalas Orchestra, Keller Williams, The North Mississippi All-Stars, Yonder Mountain String Band, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Robert Walters, The Slip, Om Trio and lots more.
There’s on-site camping, kids’ programs, play shops, fine microbrews, late-night music—lots of fun to be had (but no dogs allowed). Kids 5 and under get in free. Other tickets range from $30-$40 for kids 6 to 12 (3- and 4-day passes) and $110 to $140 for adults depending on when you buy them.
Directions: Take I-5 South to Red Bluff, then 99 South to Hwy 70. Take Hwy 70 East to Quincy.
Visit www.highsierramusic.com or call (510)420-1529.
California Worldfest (Grass Valley)
July 17-20 at the Fairgrounds in Grass Valley
The seventh-annual California Worldfest offers seven stages of eclectic and colorful varieties of world music, from Celtic and world beat to bluegrass, jazz, Afro pop, blues, samba and Americana.
Among the acts this year: Robert Cray Band, John Cowan Band, Laura Love Duo, Joaquin Diaz, Alasdair Fraser, Tommy Emmanuel, Waifs, Perla Batalla, Mumbo Gumbo, Balkan Cabaret, Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca, Obo Addy—as well as some familiar local names: Sid Lewis’ Acoustic College, Troika Folk Dance, CSU, Chico Ethos Camp All-Stars, Fiddle for Kids, Al-Kemi and Daca da Luz.
There is good camping available as well as food and drink. Tickets are priced from 1 day for $25 to 4-day with camping $90 (it’s cheaper if you buy before July 16).
From Marysville/Yuba City it’s about a 45 minute drive (take Hwy 20 East to Grass Valley and exit on McCourtney Road and follow signs to fairground).
For more information and pictures, check www.worldfest.net or call (530) 891-4098.
Reggae on the River (Piercy)
August 1-3 at French’s Camp (Humboldt County)
The nation’s premier reggae festival celebrates its 20th anniversary with a stellar lineup of international reggae greats: Jimmy Cliff, Culture featuring Joseph Hill, Judy Mowatt, Marcia Griffith, Toots & the Maytals, Pato Banton, Ben Harper, Baby Cham, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Third World, Wayne Wonder, Tre Hardson, Anthony B, and lots of others currently being added.
The Reggae on the River Festival Site is located on Hwy 101 at French’s Camp. The Festival entrance is ON THE HWY just after exits for Piercy. Piercy is located in Humboldt County, Northern California, 200 miles north of San Francisco and 75 miles south of Eureka. Once you see the Piercy exits, you will begin to see signs for the festival. Stay on Hwy 101 and follow the signs. You can’t miss it!
Tickets are already almost sold out; but you may be able to score a $145 3-day pass. Check out their Web site at www.reggaeontheriver.com or call the hotline at (707) 923-4583.