Matt McBane really means it when he says he likes to mix things up. This weekend’s 17th edition of the Carlsbad Music Festival proves it.
There will be Afro-Cuban jazz, bluegrass, chamber music, Senegalese kora, Mexican jarocho sound and much more.
“I try not to separate the types of music – we want to give audience members a sense of adventure,” said festival art director McBane, a Carlsbad native who lives in Brooklyn when not working. not here on the annual event.
Last year’s festival, which was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, would have been on the 17th. The festival skipped a year, but not a beat.
The 2021 edition will be held entirely outdoors Friday through Sunday at St. Michael’s by-the-Sea and Magee Park.
“Being outside should give people a sense of security,” said McBane, whose own band, Matt McBane + Build, performs on Saturday.
Two food trucks will be present at the festival each day and a craft market will include around fifteen stands.
On Sunday night, Los Angeles guitarist / singer Sunny War will perform.
In a recent interview, she recalled coming to San Diego years ago to donate on the streets.
“Sometimes I would take the train from LA and hang out there, mostly at Ocean Beach,” said War, 30. “I was once invited to play ArtWalk, right by the beach.”
Praised for her distinctive style of finger-picking guitar, she sees herself more as a poet than a musician.
In high school, War learned to play Elizabeth Cotton’s “Freight Train”. She discovers Chet Atkins and frequently listens to Mississippi John Hurt.
While some call her a folk-blues singer, War brings another sensibility to her music. A runaway teenager with a history of drug addiction – and a keen observer of social ills – she adores punk rock. His first band was a punk band, but with acoustic instruments and no amplifiers.
“I want to sound like a blues player with lyrics like Black Flag,” she said with a laugh.
It is not that far from the truth. His new album, “Simple Syrup”, is bluesy with insightful and socially conscious lyrics that can move and provoke listeners.
One of his songs, “Its Name is Fear,” was written during the confusing first months of the pandemic, when misinformation created paranoia. Another, “Losing Hand”, expresses the pain of her own past, when she lived on the streets.
Born Sydney Ward to a single mother in Nashville, she started learning guitar at age 7. After moving to LA as a teenager, her favorite haunt was Venice Beach. Eventually she moved to San Francisco and traveled with gutter punks.
“When I was in Northern California, I drank myself to death,” she recalls.
The only time she ate during that time, she said, was in the East Bay chapter of Foods Not Bombs. Now living in downtown LA and drug-free for 11 years, War can’t ignore the homeless.
“In LA I did Instagram stories about the homeless here and said we should start a chapter. At first, I was completely overwhelmed. But people have come together and now we serve 100 vegan meals every Wednesday. “
“Different ways of listening”
Born and raised in Pakistan, Arooj Aftab is a Brooklyn-based songwriter / singer whose CD, “Vulture Prince” was among Pitchfork’s best new albums of 2021. One of her tracks, “Mohabbat,” landed on Barack Obama’s playlist this summer.
Originally from California, Gyan Riley is featured on “Vulture Prince” but comes to the Carlsbad Music Festival for his own concert. The New York-based guitarist / songwriter, known for his many collaborations and compositions, is the son of minimalist and pioneering composer Terry Riley.
Shahzad Ismaily plays electric bass, guitar, drums, percussion, and synthesizers. Born in the United States of Pakistani immigrants, Ismaily has worked with many notable musicians, including Elvis Costello and Laurie Anderson. Last month he appeared in Bob Dylan’s mysterious streaming concert, “Shadow Kingdom”.
Most artists at the Carlsbad Music Festival will have much less travel time.
Steph Richards Power Vibe is led by genre trumpeter / songwriter and UC San Diego professor Steph Richards. Its members include harpist Tasha Smith Godinez, violist Amy Cimini and drummer Andrew Munsey.
Of the many local artists attending the festival this year, only two appeared at the 2019 edition: Trouble in the Wind and the Chunky Hustle Brass Band. It has become a festival tradition for Chunky Hustle to frolic in the streets of Carlsbad with his second-line parade music in New Orleans.
“People can come for a band they want to hear,” McBane said. “They’re going to scratch that itch, and then they go for a walk and open their ears to a new style. We show you different ways to listen. Some music makes you want to dance. With other music, you sit and listen with your ears and your head.
17th Annual Carlsbad Music Festival
When: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday; 3 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday; 1 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sunday
Or: St. Michael’s by-the-Sea 2775 Carlsbad Blvd., Carlsbad (all outdoor concerts)
Tickets: $ 21 to $ 25, day pass; $ 59 to $ 69, three-day pass; VIP passes available
In line: carlsbadmusicfestival.org
COVID-19 protocols: Participants will be required to present proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours before the event for each day of the festival. Unvaccinated people should wear a mask. Wearing the mask throughout the festival is strongly encouraged.
Wood is independent.