Submitted by Peter Wilson
The 21st annual California WorldFest will take place July 13-16, 2017, at the beautiful Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley.
Music industry magazine Pollstar calls the California WorldFest a “festival of discovery.” FestForum awarded WorldFest their 2016 award for “Innovation in Music.” 2016 headliner Nahko Bear of Nahko and Medicine for the People says, “It’s not very often that I get to play a festival where Indigenous People are held in such an honorable way.”
Accolades for California WorldFest continue to pour in. For 20 years this music festival has sought to bring people and cultures together to celebrate music and art, and seek the common thread.
The Sierra Gold Country festival transforms “California’s most beautiful fairgrounds” into a world village complete with eight stages of live music, sustainability workshops, a global Indigenous People’s village, onsite camping and a village marketplace complete with crafts, shopping, dining and foods of the world. Families are encouraged to attend with family-friendly activities and classes to keep kids of all ages enriched and entertained.
WorldFest is presented by regional arts nonprofit The Center for the Arts. Center Executive Director Julie Baker says: “Honoring Native Peoples, emphasizing conscious living and sustainability practices, providing a safe and friendly environment for families to gather, celebrating global cultures and bringing people together through music is our mission.”
Baker adds, “We are thrilled that Michael Franti and Spearhead will be closing 2017’s festival on Sunday night. His message of love, unity and tolerance is perfectly in line with the Festival’s vision. We look forward to WorldFest patrons leaving with a smile on their faces and hope in their hearts. Music truly connects us all.”
Michael Franti is a musician, filmmaker and humanitarian who is recognized as a pioneering force in the music industry. Long known for his globally conscious lyrics, powerful performances, and dynamic live shows, Franti has continually been at the forefront of lyrical activism, using his music as a positive force for change.
“I make music because I believe it can change people’s lives and make a difference in the world,” enthuses Franti, “music gives us new energy and a stronger sense of purpose.” He and his band Spearhead, known for their authentic and uplifting music, have found global success with multi-platinum songs like “Say Hey (I Love You).”
Also on the bill, from Nigeria, Seun Kuti is the youngest son of legendary Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti. Seun performed with his father and his band Egypt 80 until his father’s untimely death in 1997. He has since continued to lead the band and followed the political and social ethos of his father – adding his own twist to the music, digging deep into various African traditions to reflect the continent’s struggles and cultures.
Folk icon Peter Yarrow’s (Peter, Paul & Mary) music conveys a message of humanity and caring. His gift for songwriting has produced some of the most moving songs from Peter, Paul & Mary, including Puff, the Magic Dragon, Day is Done, Light One Candle and The Great Mandala. As a member of the renowned musical trio, Yarrow has earned multiple gold and platinum albums, as well as numerous Grammys.
Earth Guardians Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, 16 years old, and his brother Itzcuauhtli Martinez are indigenous environmental activists, eco hip-hop artists and public speakers from Boulder, Colorado. They have been speaking to crowds at conferences, schools and demonstrations from the Rio+20 United Nations Summit in Rio de Janeiro to the General Assembly at the United Nations New York.
Ukrainian “ethno chaos” band DakhaBrakha creates a world of unexpected new music. With an astonishingly powerful and uncompromising vocal range, combined with Indian, Arabic, African, Russian and Australian traditional instrumentation, they create a trans-national sound rooted in Ukrainian culture.
Latin Grammy Nominees Mariachi Flor de Toloache make New York City history as its first and only all-women mariachi group. Reminiscent of the early days of mariachi, Mariachi Flor de Toloache’s performances have illuminated world renowned stages from Europe to India to the Grand Ol’ Opry.
Alash are masters of Tuvan throat singing, a remarkable technique for singing multiple pitches at the same time. What distinguishes this gifted trio from earlier generations of Tuvan throat singers
is the subtle infusion of modern influences into their traditional music. One can find complex harmonies, western instruments, and contemporary song forms in Alash’s music, but its overall sound and spirit is decidedly Tuvan.
Native American hip-hop phenom Supaman is a member of the Apsaalooke Nation. Supaman has been the recipient of the Nammy Native American Music Award, North American Indigenous Image Award, and 7 Tunney Awards. His latest videos have gone viral and have received over 2 million views.
From Austria, seven-piece Federspiel takes a creative approach to deconstructing brass-band music. Virtuosic playing meet youthful charm, spontaneity and joy. The band features self-penned compositions with pop-elements, arrangements of traditional Mexican music, and even zither as a solo instrument.
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 WorldFest plans to expand the Global Indigenous People’s Village to celebrate indigenous voices, crafts, and entertainment and to encourage a more broad cultural exchange and awareness through dance and music. The Nisenan – Nevada County’s indigenous tribe – will open the festival and host the Global Indigenous People’s Village housing its own stage featuring music, dance performances and workshops promoting knowledge and understanding of world cultures.
WorldFest also offers a family-friendly atmosphere for all ages. 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.
Attendees 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.