What a great weekend it was out at the Sand City West End Celebration. The afternoons were sunny, lots of happy people were there enjoying the music, art and each other. Thanks to Steve Vagnini and his crew and the Sand City folks who hosted the event. Stay tuned for some other music productions from Vagnini, who will be retiring from his day job at the end of the year. Then it’s full steam ahead.
There are still two big festivals coming down the pike during what is considered our Indian Summer of September and October. The 65th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival is Sept. 23-25 at the Monterey Fair and Event Center. There’s a great variety of jazz and other roots music styles to enjoy and I’m looking forward to sharing all about that in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, visit the website for lineup and ticket details at www.montereyjazzfestival.org.
If you remember, I announced several weeks ago that there’s a new festival in town coming the weekend of Oct. 15-16, the Rebels & Renegades Music Festival at the Monterey Fair & Event Center presented by the folks who bring the California Roots Music & Arts Festival, Good Vibez Presents. Tickets went on sale at a discounted early bird price back then. Two-day general admission are $129, the Early Bird two-day VIP Palamino Pass is $229. A Pony Pass for kids 5-10 for two-days is $60. Prices go up Thursday at 11:59 p.m. Get your tickets through www.rebelsandrenegadesfest.com and find more festival info there. There are a number of ticket package options, with weekend hotel packages, and other activity options and perks.
Meanwhile I got the lowdown on the fest from Dan Sheehan, who with his wife Amy, are the power couple who own Good Vibez. With life returning to a normal pace and people feeling better about getting together, the Sheehans have picked back up where they left off and more following the quiet period of 2020 and 2021.
Rebels & Renegades was in pre-production mode at the time of the shutdown, so before really getting out of the gate, it got put on the back burner. With the success of the Cali Roots Festival and its lifestyle brand, not to mention the four-day roaring comeback of the festival earlier this year, and with the familiar infrastructure of the Monterey Fair & Event Center in the viewfinder, Good Vibez Presents is able to produce this festival with a similar festival model already established. The big difference is the music style.
“Country music is the most popular music out there when you’re looking at listenership and how many people are going to shows,” Sheehan said in a phone interview from his new offices in Ryan Ranch. “We live in a country market. There’s Salinas, the rodeo, a little more south you’ve got Paso Robles, Atascadero. We live in a country market. We’ve been going to successful country festivals in Avila Beach for years. We know how to do shows at the fairgrounds pretty much better than anybody. We feel confident. But maybe the first year we’ll take a little bit of a loss, that’s part of doing business. I’ve been doing this long enough and I’m not naive, and I know the chances of losing money the first year are great. And that’s fine. But we’re building a brand, we’re building a new event, and ideally about year three we’ll be at 10,000 people.”
The two headlining acts are Cody Jinx and Trampled By Turtles, and the first round of artists announced down bill include Orville Peck, Houndmouth, The Cadillac Three, Shane Smith & The Saints, Nikki Lane, Amigo the Devil, Fruition, Sierra Hull, Charles Wesley Godwin, Kat Hasty and Myron Elkins. The second round of artist announcements come out on Thursday and will be featured on the splash page of the event’s website. So be sure to go check it out.
Sheehan explained that none of the acts on the bill are what you would consider straight ahead country or country pop. There’s a particular brand of country that is less rock’n’roll and more singer/songwriter and folk. Think of a new generation of KPIG radio artists who will be interesting to those who tune in there. The popular locally-based radio station does play many of the artists you’ll find in the lineup. Some of the bands are more bluegrass oriented in the instrumentation and sound, but he says there is a thread that weaves all of the artists on the bill together.
“The biggest thing that all these bands have in common, regardless of the genre of music they play, is they’re all storytellers. And one of the big things is the lyrical power of all these artists. I made a strong commitment to book more females. I’ve got Nikki Lane on the bill and Kat Hasty, who are country folk Americana artists. I think that’s the biggest thing with all of them, it all blends together with good storytelling. There’s not one artist that’s completely out of the box. They all kind of fit into that realm. If you listen to Spotify, all these people will come up. If you’re listening to Orville Peck radio, Cody Jinx will come up. If you’re listening to Cody Jinx radio, Charles Wesley Godwin will come up. They all share that in common.
“Cody Jinx, who’s arguably the largest independent country artist in the country, I’ve been a big fan of his,” said Sheehan. “Orville Peck, he’s a gay country artist who wears a mask; it’s part of his aura. He’s a special artist. Charlie Wesley Godwin definitely goes along the lines of country folk. We’re being mindful of the lineup and who we’re booking because we want to stick with our vision. The artists being announced Thursday are going to add to the lineup. Our whole model is hippies and cowboys. That’s kind of who’s coming to this. A mix of those styles and people, so it should be a lot of fun.”
All the usual festival attractions of food and merchandise vendors, interactive arts, and the likes, with a particular focus on local vendors, will be part of the fun.
“Ticket sales are already at 1,500 two-day tickets sold, which is strong,” Sheehan said. “The goal is 5,000 a day for this one. We’re getting closer. I think for us, we’re local promoters putting on this new, really cool event in the market we understand. We live here, we know the people in the market. We’re supporting local non-profits and businesses in this. We feel confident because we’re not an outside promoter coming in.”
So there you have it for now. Be sure to visit www.rebelsandrenegadesfest.com for the artist additions. Meanwhile back at the ranch….
The Night Market 831 is Friday at the Art Park in Sand City, 5-9 p.m., brought to you by Good Vibez Presents. It features local food, arts and crafts vendors and a different live band each month for the whole family to enjoy. It’s free to enter, located at 525 Ortiz Ave. Performing throughout the evening for several sets is The Whiskey Wasps, a band I last saw at the West End Celebration, a local couple who put on a really good indie folk music performance. They’re adorable!!
Check out Tom Faia & Kate Miller at Big Sur Vineyards, located at 1 Del Fino Place in Carmel Valley Village this Saturday, 3-5 p.m. Faia is a great singer/songwriter complemented by Miler’s lovely voice. They’ve got a new CD filled with great tunes titled “Stay Away From The Flame.” No cover, have a nice glass of wine and enjoy. And for kicks Thursday night, 6-9:30 p.m., The Money Band is at Baja Cantina, next to Quail Lodge at 7166 Carmel Valley Road. Always good for a margarita and Mexican food, and good rock’n’roll covers that fill the dance floor without fail. No cover to enter the outdoor patio and restaurant.
Contributed by local news sources