In a wooded spot within view of the Sierras, there's a festival that does everything a festival should: Open ears and minds, get the party started, make spaces for people of all ages to kick back or get amped. At California WorldFest (http://worldfest.net/) the focus is on the music and on creating a sustainable global community.
"In any kind of festival with a strong curatorial perspective, it's crucial to find that balance, the flow of the event from one performer to another," explains festival head Julie Baker. "It's about phenomenal quality, first and foremost, we want people to have a great time, discover new artists and come away feeling connected on a global level."
WorldFest puts the emphasis on "world" for its 20th edition, while keeping the community-rooted, locally grown spirit. From big-name crowd pleasers (Boz Scaggs) to new discoveries (My Bubba, Eva Salina, Suitcase Junket, Boogat, Liz Vice) from rebel voices (Third World, Nano Stern, Emel Mathlouthi) to celebratory pleasures (Mariachi Flor del Toloache, who have recently been on the road with members of the Black Keys, Los Pinguos, Delhi to Dublin), WorldFest creates spaces for intimate connection with unexpected music and people from across the planet. "A festival of discovery", says Baker.
The quality is showcased in traditional festival format, on stages, as well as in less expected contexts. WorldFest arranges times for festival-goers to meet and talk with performers in the Global Lounge, as well as hear novel combinations of musicians jam, a format that brings fans right into the creative process.
This year, for example, in the Global Indigenous Village, festival goers this year will get to hear several young Native American bands play together, including activist musician collective Earth Guardians who will be teaming up with Nahko & The Medicine for the People for unique musical (and non-musical) conversations.
WorldFest also caters to families. With three areas dedicated to activities and music for kids from toddlers to teenagers, parents can relax knowing their children are engaged in a safe and friendly environment. Patrons can camp onsite in tents or RVs, participate in over 50 workshops in music, dance, and wellness; shop world crafts from artisans and food vendors; and learn about beekeeping and cob home building in the Conscious Living expo.
"WorldFest is a place for people to engage. To disconnect from the world of gadgets and technology and instead connect with people on a global scale. The music is amazing. If you look at the lineup, if you're very into world music, you'll know some of these names. If you're a general music fan, there won't be a whole lot of names you'll recognize, necessarily," Baker says. "It's about artists who will be able to open music fans' eyes and ears and minds. You may not hear this music on commercial radio, but you'll be blown away in person. You will walk away with a brand new playlist."