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June 2, 2005


Summer Festival Guide


Callin' out around the world,
are you ready for a brand new beat?
Summer's here and the time is right
for dancin' in the streets
All we need is music, sweet music --
there'll be music everywhere

("Dancin' In the Streets" by M. Gaye, I. Hunter, W. Stevenson)


SUMMERTIME IN HUMBOLDT COUNTY IS ALSO TIME for dancing in meadows, along rivers or by the bay. Here's a quick guide to the highlights of a string of festivals bringing musicians here from around the world.

Summer Arts and Music Festival : The Mateel Community Center's 29th annual summertime kickoff is this weekend. Their most ambitious event to date includes arts and crafts, fun for kids, music and more music -- two days, four stages, more than 100 acts in a multitude of styles. Among the musical artists: Apple Gabriel and Groundation, The Joe Craven Trio, Tempest, Aphrodesia, Chris James' Natural Four, Otis Goodnight, Thicker Than Thieves and dozens of local musicians and combos. And, to make it even more inviting, it's way cheap: just $7 a day, $12 for both days, kids 10 and under free. Saturday and Sunday, June 4 and 5, at Benbow Lake State Recreation Area, south of Garberville. ( or 923-3368)

Redwood Run 2004 : Billed as "the ultimate biker party," the event on the Eel near Piercy begins Friday, June 10, with sets by a couple of Humboldt's hot blues/rock outfits, Jimi Jeff and the Gypsy Band and the Clint Warner Band, followed by Tommy Castro and later, the Brit blues band Foghat. Saturday's fun includes biker games plus music by Lydia Pense and Cold Blood, guitarist Joe Bonamassa and rock legends Cheap Trick. June 10 and 11, (916) 473-6981.

Blues by the Bay Vol. IX: The blues bash deluxe on the shore of the bay has yet another strong lineup including W.C. Handy Award winners Mavis Staples and The Holmes Brothers on Saturday along with The Paul deLay Band, Mitch Woods and His Rocket 88's and SoHum bluesers BlueThorn. Sunday's show includes hip bluesman/film star Chris Thomas King plus Elvin Bishop, Deborah Coleman, Candye Kane and Humboldt Bay blues boys Mojo Daddy. July 9 and 10 at Waterfront Park near Eureka's Adorni Center. ( or 4453378)

Humboldt Folklife Festival: The Humboldt Folklife Society's 27th annual Folklife Festival features a slew of local acts in a weeklong collection of shows on the folky side. It begins Sunday, July 17, with a fiddle festival on Annie and Mary Day (along with Dell'Arte's flashy Blue Lake Pageant), then moves on with daily concerts in the Carlo Theatre including evenings devoted to bluegrass, world music, singer-songwriters, Native American songs and stories, and old timey music, culminating with the all-day Free Festival Saturday, July 23, with two outdoor stages and many acts, among them: The Rubberneckers, Cuckoo's Nest, Earl Thomas and Kulica. July 17-23 in Blue Lake. ( or 822-5394)

Reggae on the River : This year's Reggae is officially dedicated to "New Beginnings," marking "the beginning of a new era," which may be an oblique reference to the possibility that it could be the last time the festival is held at French's Camp. The music continues the trend toward dancehall and hip hop with a few exceptions. Rappers Lyrics Born and Tre Hardson are included in Friday's eclectic lineup with crooner Maxi Priest closing the show. Saturday is pretty much all reggae with Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley and Buju Banton closing. Sunday's show includes neo-calypsonian David Kirton, Senegalese rap from Daara J, Ozomatli, more dancehall, and the return of African reggae master Alpha Blondy. Aug. 5-7 at French's Camp, Piercy. (

The Buddy Brown Blues Festival: The lineup for the all-local blues celebration should be announced soon. Saturday, Aug. 13, at Perigot Park in Blue Lake. (

Bummerfest 2005 : Is tentatively scheduled for its usual spot in the dark basement of the Eureka Veterans Hall, but it's moved to a much later weekend: Aug. 27-28. Watch for details as the time grows nearer. (BTW, Summerfest is on hiatus until 2006.)


Among the many festivals out of the county:

Kate Wolf Memorial Music Festival: This is it for those who love folk music. This year's lineup includes Donovan, Richard Thompson, Greg Brown and his wife Iris Dement, Karla Bonoff, David Lindley, Rosalie Sorrels, The David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, Robert Earl Keen, The Duhks and, as always, Kate's friend Nina Gerber. June 24-26 at the Black Oak Ranch, just north of Laytonville.

Camp Betty Campout: New this year, another festival at Black Oak Ranch. This one, organized by Jennefer White of Eureka, celebrates the music, arts and creativity of women. The 50+ acts include locals Eileen Hemphill-Haley, Lila Nelson, Tamaras and the ELFS DJs, and some bigger names: Alix Olson, Cris Williamson, Lucy Kaplansky, Melissa Ferrick, Jessica Lurie, Toshi Reagon, Laura Love and Jen Todd among them. July 22-24, Black Oak Ranch, just north of Laytonville. ( or 707-442-3607)

Harmony Festival 2005. The Health & Harmony Music and Arts Festival has a shorter name and an even wider range of musical styles than before, including Kitaro , Nu Ladies of Funk with George Clinton, Holly Near, The Family Stone Experience (sans Sly), Jon Anderson (from Yes) and African reggae star Majek Fashek, plus new age and political speakers. June 11 and 12, at Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa. ( or 861-2035)

Sierra Nevada World Music Festival : The 12th annual music festival has turned reggae-centric with headliners including Shaggy, Toots and the Maytals, Steel Pulse, Luciano, Morgan Heritage and The Abyssinians, with a few nods to world music like Thomas Mapfumo. June 17-19 at Frogtown in Angels Camp. (

High Sierra Music Festival: California's premier high country jamband fest pulls together a broad range of sounds from the expected, Yonder Mountain String Band, Steve Kimock Band, Keller Williams, Les Claypool, Gov't Mule, ALO and dozens of mid-level jammers, to less jammy fare like The Waifs, Bill Frisell, Michael Franti and Majek Fashek. June 30-July 3 at Plumas-Sierra County Fairgrounds in Quincy. ( or 510-420-1529)

Earthdance 2005: It's a long way off, but the celebration of peace is looking better than ever with Ani DiFranco, Zap Mama, Spearhead, Karl Denson, Lyrics Born, and locals Something Different and Joanne Rand among those confirmed so far. Sept. 16-18, Black Oak Ranch, Laytonville. ( or 541-770-5112)



Bob Doran



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