As the Petaluma Music Festival prepares to raise the curtain on its 10th year, festival director Cliff Eveland says this year’s lineup is the best one yet.
The Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Poor Man’s Whiskey, the T Sisters and Moonalice are among the better-known groups who will play on Saturday, Aug. 5, along with local groups such as the Incubators, the Pulsators, the Bootleg Honeys and Miss Moonshine. A total of fourteen bands will play on three stages at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds. Gates open at 11:30 a.m. and music will go from 12:30 to 9:30 p.m.
The growth of the festival over the last decade has not only enabled organizers to book more high-profile bands, but to succeed at its primary mission: keeping music in the schools.
Last year, the festival donated more than $60,000 to the music programs in all Petaluma area public schools. In the last seven years, it has donated more than $205,000.
“We have continued to grow and get better,” said Eveland, who has been the band and choir director at Petaluma High School for 20 years. “We couldn’t have booked a band like the Chris Robinson Brotherhood in year one or year two.”
As a school fundraiser, it is entirely appropriate that the festival is kid-friendly. While general admission is $50, and tickets are just $20 for youngsters 13-17, and children 12 and under can enter for free and play in the Kids Area, which includes a petting zoo, an arts-and-crafts center, a bouncy house and a giant slide.
“Some festivals will charge for kids,” said Eveland. “And people who want to see their favorite bands play at a nightclub can’t bring kids along.”
Eveland heads the festival’s 14-member board of directors and its 11-member advisory board, all volunteers. They strongly believe in the positive influence of music in children’s lives. But because funding for the arts in public schools is inadequate, the festival fills a real need. Funds are distributed directly to the principal or music teacher at local schools. Schools use the money to fill their particular need, whether it is music instruction, purchase of instruments or instrument repair.
The 4,000 people who attend the festival every year make a real difference, Eveland said. The event also brings in revenue through booth rentals for vendors, a silent action and a raffle of quality guitars signed by well-known musicians. An army of volunteers helps to keep the overhead down.
“It is a great event for our community,” said Eveland. “I am very thankful f everyone who comes out to support us.”
(Chris Samson is the former editor of the Argus-Courier. Contact him at email@example.com.)
PETALUMA MUSIC FESTIVAL
When: Saturday, Aug. 5, 12:30-9:30 p.m. Gates open at 11:30 a.m.
Where: Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds, 175 Fairgrounds Drive, Petaluma.
Performers: Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Poor Man’s Whiskey, Scott Law & Ross James’ Cosmic Twang, Stu Allen & Friends, Scott Law, Lebo, the T Sisters, Moonalice, Midnight North, Royal Jelly Jive, the Grateful Bluegrass Boys, Colonel & the Mermaids, the Incubators, the Pulsators, the Bootleg Honeys and Miss Moonshine.
Admission: $50 general admission, $20 ages 13-17, free for kids 12 and under.
Further information: www.petalumamusicfestival.org.