Taste of Redding saw a sold-out event on Sunday.
Pick up a newspaper or flip to some news on the Internet or TV, and you’ll be reminded that times are tough right now. You hear it from friends. You can sort of see it in the streets.
So what are we to do? We have to press on.
This past weekend, I played music at a pair of outdoor festivals and I was pleased to see so many people getting out. We need these connections with our neighbors. We also need some distractions — especially during a challenging period like this.
On Saturday, I was part of the opening band (with Brendon Alvord) at a festival at North Star Brewery in Shasta Lake. The bill included songwriter Kate Gaffney, the Sacremento band East Portal Express and South Lake Tahoe’s Blue Turtle Seduction.
Brewery owner Shawn Sease plans to host more outdoor festivals throughout the summer and I’d love to see these events flourish. The next event, “Summerfest,” is set for 2 to 10 p.m. July 18 (a Saturday) and will feature Poor Man’s Whiskey and Blue Turtle Seduction, bands from Sacramento and San Francisco, and the Redding bands Freddie Diablo and His Victims, and Sticks and Strings.
Sease is staging North Star’s festivals on a nice grassy area (with some shade trees) on the north side of the brewery. Saturday’s event included an excellent barbecue and, of course, the brewery’s outstanding creations. (Have you tried the Pango brew?)
North Star could find its niche by bringing in jam bands, bluegrass fusion groups and rock acts that appeal to a little bit different audience than other summer events around here. Big kudos to Sease for bringing in a pro sound team and having a nice stage. The brewery gave it the “A” effort and when they get a huge crowd out there the good times are gonna flow. (Heard some rumblings about Floater and Devil Makes Three possibly playing out there this summer.
On Sunday, the Jim Dyar Band joined four other groups (Majical, Slam Buckra, Club J and the Billies) to perform at the Taste of Redding at City Hall.
Event officials said they sold out (750 paid attendees) which I’m sure was thrilling for Redding West Rotary, which sponsored the event. They sure caught a break by having such a beautiful day for their event, which combines music, great food by dozens of restaurants, and wine and brews by several distributors. Officials estimate that there were 1,100 people in total in attendance.
After our noon to 2 p.m. gig ended, we went around eating and drinking so fast that I almost made myself sick. (It’s kind of pathetic to watch a bunch of starving musicians scarfing everything they can get their hands on.)
Anyway, the food and spirits were outstanding. Congrats to Redding West Rotary for success on its big annual fundraising event. Proceeds go to scholarship programs and community enhancements such as (this year) new benches and trail improvements on the Buenaventura Trail.
• Just a reminder that the next opportunity to get outside and enjoy live music (and it’s free) happens tomorrow night (Wednesday) as Mosquito Serenade kicks off at the Anderson River Park. Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen will entertain the masses. The show starts at 7 p.m.