Positively Sundrenched and Soul-Filled – The Third Annual Santa Cruz Mountain Sol Festival

An interview by Julie Horner with Stephen Wyman, co-producer of the annual Santa Cruz Mountain Sol Festival.

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JH: This has become a major outdoor festival for the area so how did you get into it?

SW: Ironically. I’ve been volunteering with Redwood Mountain Faire since its rebirth at Roaring Camp. And as one the owners of the Boulder Creek Brewery, I was interested in producing events that would help drive our business forward. And in broader terms, events that would help bring economic vitality to our community. Fill restaurants, fill motels, hire local folks, local food vendors, and provide artists with an outlet.

JH: How are you able to attract such amazing performers to the event?

SW: Michael Horne is the genius of the business partnership. He’s been a Santa Cruz promoter for over 30 years and has presented more than 3,000 shows! It is very complicated to put great lineups together, so it’s his years of relationships with musicians and agents.

JH: You’ve got Edward Sharpe, George Clinton, and Sheila E at the top of a really impressive lineup of artists.

SW: We have certain artists whom we truly admire and hope to bring to the Santa Cruz Mountains, artists that we and our community have a connection to. We try to bring a blend of classic and new artists. We consider the venue and our neighbors. Although we can’t make everyone happy, we try to be considerate.

JH: Name some of the acts that you’re especially excited to have on board this year.

SW: That’s a loaded question, because every artist we book is a favorite for one reason or another. This year we were inspired by the loss of Prince. We talked lots about the influence he had on music and culture. And we also dug deeper in our discussions like who influenced Prince and how he was so into the 1970’s Bay Area music scene. He came to SF in 1978 to record in the studio used by Santana and other Bay Area greats. Sheila E.‘s dad, Pete Escovedo, was playing in Santana’s band at the time. So this led us to invite Sheila E. and Katdelic and to ask George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic. George Clinton is an icon and we feel the chance to share is now – George Clinton turned 75 this year!

JH: I would imagine the variety of music will appeal to all age groups. What have you got for the younger scene?

SW: On Saturday we have Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. They headlined Coachella this year and had a sold out show this spring at the Greek theater in Berkeley. They should bring some concert goers to Felton who haven’t visited our valley before. And I think folks my age will have a treat in discovering this kind of artist.

JH: It must be an enormous task transforming a quiet mountain meadow into an outdoor good-love-and-vibrations festival space.

SW: Aside from the monetary considerations, there are so many details to contend with. Routing, logistics, travel, backline, staging, etc. Multiply this by every artist timeslot over the course of the weekend and you start to get an idea of the juggling job that is required.

JH: How does the venue at Roaring Camp suit the event, do people just love it?

SW: We love Roaring Camp. It’s an amazing space. There is the beautiful meadow, parking, and some infrastructure. Attendees having been glowing about the festival. We have 4.9 stars out of 5. We’re working on the missing fraction! Roaring Camp and its director have been supportive: Roaring Camp is keenly interested in supporting economic vitality in the valley.

JH: More people than ever seem to be falling in love with summer festivals and I hear Mountain Sol is attracting more peeps! You guys must be feeling pretty stoked!

SW: We are steadily growing. It’s our third year. That’s like Wednesday in the festival business. We’re trying hard to get to the weekend.

JH: What makes the Sol Fest so wonderful?

SW: Our event is a boutique festival. It’s small compared to most music festivals. It’s intimate. Everyone is close to the stage. Festival goers feel a direct connection to the artists and to their community. You’re not looking at a giant live video screen. You are there and in it.

JH: So this festival is all ages and locally do-able.

SW: Named by many of our fans as “the hometown throw down,” it’s more like a community party. We see our neighbors and friends there. People are generally kind and thoughtful – watching out for each other. We attract a wide range of guests: Local families, couples, and college-age young adults.

JH: What can festival goers expect from this year’s festival as far as good vibes, food, and things to purchase?

SW: In addition to our amazing artist lineup, there will be local food vendors, artists, a kid’s area, and of course train rides!

JH: What would you advise people to bring with them?

SW: Bring a hat, refillable water bottles (free filtered water is available), ear plugs for the kids if you’re bringing young children, a designated driver…NO drinking and driving! No, no, no! Low back folding chairs and blankets are allowed but please no dogs and no bad attitudes. DO bring smiles, an open heart, and dancing shoes!

JH: I was at last year’s festival and had such a relaxing, boogie-filled uplifting time! What makes you the happiest about putting on the Sol Fest?

SW: When folks in the community stop me to tell me what wonderful time they had!

Santa Cruz Mountain Sol Festival September 17-18, 2016 Roaring Camp Meadows. Felton, California 95018 On Facebook: www.facebook.com/scmsfest

Tickets: www.santacruzmountainsol.com/tickets.shtml

Email: info@santacruzmountainsol.com

Copyright 2016 Julie Horner

www.slvpost.com

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The Leftovers – Hashtag: Feelgoodmusic

By Julie Horner

Another glorious hot summer day under a bright blue sky, bare feet stompin’ in the cool grass of a mountain meadow. A sea of sun-browned revelers sway as a human tide among blankets colorfully unfurled. Music festival season is in full swing and on stage: The Leftovers, ‘sick’ locally grown Santa Cruz Mountains reggae.

It’s a groove that gets right into your bones. The bass thick and heavy, with steady snare, powerful skank, and the distinctly playful ‘rap rap rap rap’ of the timbale. Everyone’s moving, bobbing to the rhythm and somehow you know every little thing is gonna be alright.

The Leftovers Band Photo #1

Guitar player/vocalist, Sean Conner, told me, “We did the Hop N Barley Festival this year – I love day gigs – it’s a totally different vibe. We play the bars, attract the nighttime partiers. But in the day you get to jam out a little more, interact with the crowd – it’s a different feeling.”

Based in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Sean said, “Some of us went to school together at SLVHS. Back then Sean played in a metal band with drummer, Travis Salangsang. Now as The Leftovers they have gigs just about every weekend, sometimes twice a week. “The music, it’s so much fun – that’s what started it for us – we didn’t even think of a band.” Then someone said, “Why aren’t you guys playing out?” So they decided to give it a shot. “We all just love playing music so much.”

“We’ve been around for about four years now,” Sean said. He and Joey Storm (guitar/vocals) are the originating members, and they recently added Travis and Andrew Zook (bass), David Churchill (keyboards/vocals), Greg Del Bene (Percussion), and Vince D’Andrea (saxophone/vocal). “Sometimes we have girls singing with us (Taylor Rae and Sydney Gorham), but this is the core.”

Sean said they started off definitely reggae-rock. “Now we’re a lot harder to describe. If I had to pick a genre, I’d say reggae, but at the shows we’re all over the place. One minute we’re playing roots reggae, next we’re doing hip hop reggae.” They’ve started calling it “mountain reggae.” It’s simply “The Leftovers sound.”

“We do about half and half, originals and covers that we rotate through. We totally collaborate on new material.” Sometimes they draw inspiration from shows they go to. He cites Raging Fire as an influence when he saw them at the Catalyst, and after seeing Boostive at Bocce’s Cellar, Sean said “We got back from that show and were just feeling it. We were supposed to be practicing and we wound up just jamming out.” They came up with a trippy instrumental with an eerie groove that they named “Frankenstein.” In the key of F, of course.

The Leftovers have played just about every music venue in Santa Cruz County including Zelda’s (one of Sean’s favorites), Moe’s Alley (always a great spot), the Crow’s Nest, Felton Trout Farm, Henfling’s, Don Quixote’s, and outdoors at Junction Park and the Santa Cruz Mountains Art, Music and Wine Festival, among others. And Joey and Sean do an acoustic guitar set every other Tuesday night at Pono Bar and Grill in Santa Cruz. “It’s sort of a residency there.”

“We’ve done well in Santa Cruz…the music is so popular…people seem to want us back.”

The shows are really well attended. “Zelda’s manager was blown away. First he was shocked, ‘Wow, you guys brought so many people!’” Sean admits, “It was so packed it was crazy…you couldn’t even walk around. You had to dance – dance where you were standing!” So the manager invited them to play regularly once a month. It’s been so packed that now the manager wants them twice a month. “Bar sales were through the roof…he was pumped, we were pumped!” People seem to be seeking the necessary nourishment of positivity…and a guaranteed great time out on the town.

With a stage show that includes their own disco ball and laser light experience, Sean says “It’s been getting better and better, there’s such good energy.”

With day jobs and a blazing performance schedule, they’re also somehow finding time to commit their sound to on-demand media. “We’re really pushing on recording.” They did a self-produced 5-song EP but they really want to get a full length professional album made. They’re working on new material with Henry Chadwick at Indigital studios in Santa Cruz. “We grew up with him so we’re already super connected – it’s really easy to work with him, he’s a super awesome guy and a talented musician in his own band. He has a lot of good ideas – it’s good to have an outside voice who’s been there and done it.”

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The Leftovers radiate vibrance and positivity like a breath of fresh air. “We just love the music. If you give someone positive energy, they will give it back – it’s in our nature. That’s our goal with our music is to share the love, that’s what it’s all about.”

Get a taste of The Leftovers at the Santa Cruz Mountains Harvest Festival in Boulder Creek on September 24, and at venues throughout Santa Cruz.

The Leftovers Cali roots reggae: #feelgoodmusic

On Facebook: www.facebook.com/Theleftoversca

Julie Horner is an Irish folk musician and writer living in the Santa Cruz Mountains, California. Email: leap2three@gmail.com | www.slvpost.com

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Felton Trout Farm Devastated by Fire

Beloved Felton Trout Farm Inn Burns

June 10, 2016

By Julie Horner

While many of us were reveling in the music and magic at the annual Redwood Mountain Faire on Sunday, June 5, the much loved Felton Trout Farm Inn suffered a devastating fire just two miles away. The fire started in the vent above the kitchen’s grill around 2:20 in the afternoon. Cooks, wait staff, and owner, Kelly McGuire helped safely evacuate patrons enjoying lunch and using the pool as responders from Zayante, Ben Lomond, Felton and Scotts Valley fire departments arrived to battle the blaze. This tight-knit mountain community and all of San Lorenzo Valley has lost another precious local landmark and social hub.

Within a few minutes of initial news, friends and neighbors were sharing posts on Facebook: “What a terrible, terrible day. Our favorite place has burned down. We are told everyone is okay, which is the most important thing. But now knowing that everyone is safe, we can grieve for our loss, The Trout Farm. We love the Trout Farm and all of the people there. Kelly McGuire and Yvonne McGuire we love you, and will do whatever we can to help you rebuild.”

“We just went there yesterday to play in the pool. I really hope that it can be rebuilt. What a horrible loss to the community. Please keep the group posted about fund raisers.”

“I’m in tears, the McGuire family have worked hard to make The Trout Farm a special place to enjoy the history and the great food and dance bands. We had our wedding reception there and it was a ball! Kelly, Yvonne, Mandy, Luis and the rest of the crew…we will be praying for all of you and the future of The Trout Farm…that this all comes out in the best way.”

“Utterly devastating…so sad. Yvonne, Kelly and the whole team family were so warm and really built a community destination. I’ll miss it terribly but have faith that Trout will rise like a Phoenix. I’ll follow along and be there when the cause calls for lending a hand.”

“I was there with my wife and two kids at the pool on Saturday. We would’ve been there on Sunday too but for the Redwood Mountain Faire. We are all shocked and deeply saddened by this tragedy.”

According to reports, McGuire had been standing at the bar just feet from the kitchen when the fire broke out and the interior quickly filled with smoke. Firefighters responded within five minutes but the dry old bones of the structure rapidly became engulfed.

“The firefighters did everything they could,” McGuire said in a statement to Santa Cruz Sentinel reporter, Ryan Masters. “They could have been parked out front and it wouldn’t have made a difference. That’s how fast it went up.”

The original bar and gaming room was built across Zayante Creek on land that once housed a trout hatchery. In Ed Jasmin’s Web archive, The History of the Trout Farm Inn, he writes, “In 1942 the bar was moved to its current location and Bill Fischer and his mother purchased it in 1946 from Austin and Jackie Berry. In 1955 he began a small dining room where one could get a steak, trout or chicken dinner for $1.95 while ‘Ma’ Fischer managed the trout ponds. The lounge was later extended in 1956 and 1958. The Trout Farm in the 40’s and 50’s served as an Inn providing overnight accommodations located where the swimming pool now lies.”

The cabins were moved to locations along the creek as permanent residences so that the pool could be modernized to accommodate growing numbers of tourists. “Several owners followed Bill and his partner Bob. In early 2005, the stewardship of this landmark passed to Penny Siler and John Heibel.” The McGuires took ownership of the Trout Farm Inn in 2012 offering a full bar and restaurant, live music performance space and of course, the inviting family pool.

The building was declared a total loss by Troy Adams, Zayante Fire District
Battalion Chief.

Facebook posts continue to accumulate in support:

“My first job was washing dishes at the TF in 1975 … working for Bill and Bob was a wild introduction to the food industry. I’m sorry for your loss … we’ll stay tuned as we vacation every Summer in Ben Lomond. Thoughts and prayers!!!” “I’m so sad to hear this but glad everyone us safe. I grew up at the Trout Farm Inn, knew Ma Fisher, Bill Fisher, Bob. Had my first job there at the pool and worked as a waitress for several years back in the early 70’s. My mom was a hostess. Lots of great memories. I’m heartbroken. We just watched old videos of swimming in the pool when my brother and I were young.”

“My grandmother, Bernice Fischer, started the Trout Farm in the mid 1930’s. My dad, Bill Fischer, owned it for 50 years, selling it in the mid 80’s. We moved the cabins to the creekside (from the current location of the pool), built the pool, expanded the bar and dining room, had luaus, floated Christmas trees in the pool and never missed the Friday night fights on TV in the bar during the 50’s. So much history – another chapter in life, closed. I pray for the owners to get through this tragedy, and extend my condolences to you!!! Thank you ALL for caring about the property, the business, and the historical landmark that it became. God give you strength, hope, and new vision. Sincerely, Cheryl and Francis Busa – Montana”

More about the Trout Farm: http://edjasmin.com/assets/Pages/8-Web/websites/thetroutfarminn/assets/pages/history.htm

On Facebook:

www.facebook.com/troutfarminn

www.facebook.com/feltontroutfarmfamily

#FeltonTroutFarmInn
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A Toast to the Craft – Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing at The Cremer House

By Julie Horner

For two luxurious sun-drenched days, the Santa Cruz Mountains Art, Wine, and Music Festival invited revelers to stay local, kick off their shoes, dance on the green to live music, and enjoy a final taste of summer among the redwoods. On hand to pour hand-crafted suds: Boulder Creek Brewing on Saturday and Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing on Sunday.

Local brewer and owner of Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, Emily Thomas, remembers when the Art and Wine Festival was on the street and how, like the Redwood Mountain Fair, these home grown festivals bring everyone out. “The mountains needed another incarnation of being outside as a community.” Now that the Art and Wine Festival is at Garrahan Park, she says, “It’s successful and will continue to keep growing.”

“So many places are void of life and creativity. A mountain town so close to the beach captures the best of both types of people, mountain people and beach communities and brings them together. You want people to come here and experience it…if you’re raised in Fresno and that’s all you know, that’s kind of a shame. Living in the mountains – the nature of it – can change your whole perspective on life.”

Fresh from Santa Cruz Mountain Brewery to the redwoods, Emily welcomes visitors to her new tap room and restaurant, a clean, simple space without pretention at the historical Cremer House in downtown Felton where locals and travelers enjoy tasty plates and award winning, certified organic craft brew.

The Cremer House will celebrate its one-year anniversary in December and from all accounts the endeavor has been a raving success with a consistent customer base of mountain dwellers and weekend warriors from over the hill and Santa Cruz. Emily says Saturdays and Sundays are busiest. “We get a lot of foodies, and the beer selection is pretty unique” from flagship ales to “wildly inventive seasonals that will bend your taste buds and challenge your senses.”

Emily has always loved food. Her mom was the cook at the Quaker Center in Ben Lomond when Emily was growing up in SLV. But it’s the brewing that ultimately sparked the idea of getting into the restaurant business.

While at college in Portland in the early 90s, two uncles who “didn’t believe in books” taught her how to “brew beer, work on cars, and clear brush.” She did earn her software engineering degree and moved to San Diego to live the corporate life. Eventually eschewing cubical confines and back in the Santa Cruz area to raise her family, the urge to brew bloomed and she opened Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing on the Westside in 2005.

“Our original model was a tasting room to take your beer home with you. But the first week we opened there were hundreds of people drinking the beer in the sun along the railroad tracks.” That got her thinking, “What are the spaces where people hang out?” So she created the tap room and beer garden.

That’s where the beer is brewed for the Cremer House because Felton’s infrastructure at the site won’t support the necessary ebb and flow of craft brewing in volumes enough to serve throngs of the curious thirsty.

Emily made the proposal to SCM Brewing co-owner, Bob Locatelli, to do a joint restaurant as well. She said that neither of them was initially of a mindset to take on a project that big but in the end decided to go for it. It took four years to get all the permitting in place, and the old Cremer building needed to be retrofitted to support modern requirements while still maintaining the historical elements. Emily designed the interior space, local contractor, Chuck Reason, updated the structure.

“That’s how we differentiate ourselves – craft brewers are only 10% of the market, big corporations are still dominant – so small brewers work together, looking for things that make us look unique in our own business.”

The Cremer House serves lunch and dinner and showcases a variety of 25 craft beers on tap including Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing and select offerings from other local brewers, ciders, wines, and homemade sodas.

The Santa Cruz Mountain Art, Wine, and Music Festival thanks Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing for sharing their hand crafted brew at the festival and for keeping gracious community spirit alive in the mountains.

Cremer House
6256 Highway 9
Felton CA. 95018
http://www.thecremerhouse.com
Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing
402 Ingalls St #27
Santa Cruz CA. 95060
http://www.scmbrew.com

(c) Julie Horner, September 2015 for the San Lorenzo Valley Post.

Julie Horner is an Irish folk musician and writer living in the Santa Cruz Mountains, California. Email: leap2three@gmail.com

On the Web: santacruzmountainslocal.com

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