Free-spirited fun, fantastic music and a few merry pranks

Petaluma, CA,- A gentle breeze with sunny skies and temperatures hovering in the 70’s set the stage for a full day of music and hijinks at the Petaluma Music Festival.

Held at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds on August 5th, this year would mark the festival’s 10th year of raising funds to help keep music programs alive in schools. Considering the vibrant musical history in this region of Northern California, Petaluma offers an ideal backdrop.

Unlike mega festivals, the Petaluma Music Festival delivers a warm hometown vibe, much like a gathering of a few thousand of your closest friends. It’s a festival offering a day’s long experience of free-spirited fun, fantastic music and a few merry pranks.

The day’s lineup and audience reflected the lasting impact and positive inspiration of the Grateful Dead as well as the musical and cultural legacy born out of the 60’s and 70’s.

(Gratitude to the two women who brought me suntan lotion along with a big dose of kindness!)

A cursory glance at the lineup from headliner Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Stu Allen & Friends, Moonalice, Midnight North and a host of other terrific jam bands would serve notice that this festival would be a celebration of both new music as well as an homage to  earlier generations. By the swarms of dancing fans and huge smiles, it was a rousing success.

Three outdoor stages and an indoor acoustic hall accommodated the acts and the shows were timed well so you could quickly move between artists to catch a little bit of everyone. Ample shade and seating was available for those that needed a break from the sun. Lagunitas provided frosty beers while a wide selection of food and craft vendors served up everything from icy lemonade to an assortment of tasty bites.

The day was chock full of great tunes and the audience appeared to have some of the following favorites.

Colonel & the Mermaids – Wharf Rat
A super spaced out version of the Grateful Dead classic.

Midnight North
The ever improving Midnight North delivered an energetic version of the Crosby Still and Nash classic Suite Judy Blue Eyes and had the audience dancing away.

Stu Allen & Friends
An eclectic set of music highlighted for us by a jamming version of David Bowie’s Fame. Awesome.

Grateful Bluegrass Boys
Led Zeppelin’s Going to California, bluegrass style. That’s just cool.

Chris Robinson
A fitting show closer with the Jerry Garcia classic, They Love Each Other.

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All in all, The Petaluma Music Festival delivers a full day of music, camaraderie and entertainment that helps keep music in schools. That’s something every music fan can sing about.