written by Carolina Bridges
California is blessed with great weather, beautiful geography, and some of the best festivals you can see th
roughout the country.During this time of cold and snow, I believe that the singing group “The Mommas and the Poppas” said it best. There is nothing like “California dreamin’ on such a winter’s day!”
Let me entice you to come to the Golden State this summer. In the north there is the wine country…and the Father’s Day Festival in Grass Valley. Down south we have Disneyland, and while you are at it, enjoy the 50th anniversary of the Topanga Festvial in LA country. Come on down to San Diego in August…see the beach, join the whales at Sea World…and go to the 3-day Summergrass Festival! Any way you cut it, it’s a “California Dreamin’” style trip!!
Here are more details on each of these three great California festivals.
- 50th Anniversary Topanga Banjo/Fiddle Contest and Folk Festival; May 15
Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills, CA (Los Angeles County)
Centered around the old western town and TV sets at the Paramount Ranch in Topanga Canyon, this year attendees will have the opportunity to compete in over 20 musical contests in folk, old-time, traditional, bluegrass music…and for the first time, singing as well. All of these will share center stage with professional artists performing Cowboy poetry to songs of the open road, to Scottish fiddlers, and old-time banjo, fiddle, guitar…there is something for every musical taste! Want to win a banjo? Deering Banjo Company is creating a special 50th Anniversary Goodtime openback banjo, along with the folks at Remo heads, so don’t forget to stop and purchase your raffle tickets for this one! No festival is complete without good food, great crafts, and a chance to see the latest and greatest musical instruments and related products. For ticket information, visit them online at www.topangabanjofiddle.org .
- California Bluegrass Assn. 36th Father’s Day Festival; June 16-19
Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley, CA
There is an All Star line up of talent already set up for this year’s festival in the lovely mountain community of Grass Valley. The Grammy nominated John Hartford Stringband, all time favorites Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, the wonderfully sweet voiced Dale Ann Bradley, The Chapmans, Gibson Brothers…to name just a few!!Celebrating 36 years as a family oriented festival, this 4-day festival has concerts, workshops, and round-the-clock jamming! Come 3 days early for the bluegrass music camp for students of all ages and learn from some of the best musicians and teachers nation-wide. Want to see Deering banjos and actually meet Janet and Greg Deering? They love Grass Valley and make it a point to be the “Deering representatives” at this festival every year! Visit www.fathersdayfestival.com for more details and to order your tickets.
- 9th Anniversary Summergrass San Diego; August 19-21
Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum in San Diego’s North County
Yet another great opportunity to introduce your children to the love of music! Held on a 40-acre outdoor camping area, the festival sponsors a Kid’s Music Camp, special kids activities…and plenty of opportunities for Mom and Dad to join impromptu jam sessions, music workshops, enjoy tasty food, and listen to top national, international, regional, and local bluegrass bands.
Whether you want to campout or just drive in from beautiful San Diego for the day, bring your lawn chairs, hats, and sun-screen and be prepared to have a good time! Speaking of Goodtime, Deering is sponsoring the festival again this year with a great openback Goodtime banjo and gig bag so don’t forget to buy a raffle ticket! Log on to www.summergrass.net to read the latest updates on workshops, entertainers that will be there this year and to buy your tickets!