The 5th Annual Monterey Rock & Art Festival marks the continued growth of local festival.
Thursday, July 12, 2001
It isn''t the biggest music festival on the Peninsula, nor is it the most organized. But in terms of its intimate feeling, the Monterey Rock & Art Festival is in a league by itself. And that''s a good thing.
For the last five years, the Monterey Rock & Art Festival has provided a mellow showcase for underground and cutting-edge bands on the Central Coast, given audiences a taste of the music they don''t get to hear the other 51 weeks in the year, and is one of the few places in town where you might catch local musicians bonding--instead of bickering--while they consume cold cuts and energy drinks.
Brad Mallory and Susan Collins spearheaded the festival five years ago hoping to fulfill what they saw as a gap in the Monterey music and art scene.
"We were inspired by the creativity of both the artists and musicians on the Monterey Peninsula." Mallory says. "It was amazing to us that there was not a big event for cutting-edge art and music."
Despite the obvious need for a festival that appeals to a younger audience, the RAF didn''t have an easy birth. The first year, there were something like 70 bands scheduled for a two-day festival at the Monterey Fairgrounds. It was an ambitious undertaking for a first-year festival and audiences were slim. There were only about 1,200 total tickets sold--that means there were only about 600 people in attendance each day, a crowd that looks even smaller when spread among multiple stages in the sprawling Monterey Fairgrounds.
"We kind of overestimated the initial turn-out. So we regrouped and started taking smaller steps," says Mallory. "Now we are just sticking our necks out little by little." Since that first year, the audience for the RAF has been growing. Last year''s attendance was approximately 1,100 for just one day.
But somehow you get the feeling that the numbers are secondary to the ambiance that Mallory and company have tried to create. The Monterey Rock & Art Festival almost seems more like a family party for musicians and the people who love them. There''s a cozy feeling to the festival that comes from the interaction of the musicians among themselves and with their audiences.
The "reunion" atmosphere is further enriched by the interaction of local bands with bands from the Bay Area and bands with national touring schedules.
Noon --Worship BandCircus Stage
12:45pm --420 Express
1:30pm --Clay Bell
2:15pm --20 Years Later
3pm --KMBY Special Guest
3:45pm --Amazon Mollies
4:30pm --Travis Larson Band
5:15pm --Blind Curve
6pm --Dog Loves Girl
8:30pm --Mother Hips
10pm --P Hux with Parthenon Huxley
Noon --RelapseTurf Club
12:45pm --Legion Victorious
2:15pm --Liquid 8
3:45pm --Roger Coffin & The Psycho Lounge Act
4:30pm --Time Spent Driving
5:15 --Bad Dawgs
6pm --Live Sex Show 6:45pm --Red Light Nightmare
7:30pm --Ribsy''s Nickel
12:30pm --Roberta DonnayTurf Club Patio
1:30pm --Elin JR.
2:30pm --Molly X & The Dustin Broome
3:30pm --Heather Combs
4:30pm --Natasha & Exit West
5:30pm --Cat Mclean
6:30pm --Electric Peach
9:30pm --Righteous Anger
10:30pm --Gilding The Lily
2:30pm --Sunrise HarmonyPond Stage
3:30pm --Blue Buddah
4:30pm --Ty Miles
5:30 --Todd Anthony
Noon --Ty Miles
12:45 --Sunrise Harmony
1:30pm --Sean Corkery
3pm --David Balch
3:45pm --Diane Wegner
4:30pm --Randy Baldwin
6pm --Aaron Birk
6:45pm --Cheryl & Ramone
7:30pm --Brad & Eddie G.
8:15pm --Dharma Bums
One of the headliners for this year''s festival, Mother Hips, has shared stages with country legend Johnny Cash and Wilco. On Saturday they''ll share a stage with some of our own local blood. Mother Hips sees itself as a "California Soul" group, music some say is reminiscent of Brian Wilson''s melodic genius mixed with the lyrical melancholy of Gram Parsons.
Following Mother Hips will be Parthenon Huxley, aka P Hux. Huxley is a progressive musician whose recording work comes straight out of the late ''60s method of tube-grooving sound. Together with members of Electric Light Orchestra II, Huxley plays music for crowds yearning for a new type of alt-rock. Parthenon Huxley will begin at 10pm, finishing the performances on the Garden of Eden Stage.
But before Mother Hips and P. Hux, local groups will compliment these headliners on the Garden, Circus, Turf Club, Patio and Pond stages.
And then there''s the art part of the festival''s equation, too.
Local artwork and some strange "secret" multimedia things will be displayed inside many of the buildings. But we''re not talking about stuffy, look-but-don''t-touch type exhibits, people who attend are encouraged to paint or draw their own work.
With five stages running almost non-stop, as well as the art exhibits, the toughest part of the festival now seems to be keeping the musicians satisfied.
"The hardest thing is trying to make everybody happy with their playing slots," says Mallory. "Because all of the bands play for free, I try to make it as pleasurable an experience as possible."
Tickets: $15/advance (at Recycled Records and Vinyl Revolution) or $20/door. More info: www.montereyrockandart.com