Talent aplenty at Carlsbad Music Festival

Talent aplenty at Carlsbad Music Festival
The 14th annual Carlsbad Music Festival last weekend in Carlsbad Village featured a variety of music and musicians, including the G Burns Jug Band, above, which played “old American music.” Photos by Angela McLaughlin

CARLSBAD — A cool ocean breeze complemented the eclectic mix of melodies performed by talented musicians as the Carlsbad Music Festival entertained guests yet again Aug. 25 through Aug. 27.

Celebrating its 14th year, the festival took place in Carlsbad Village, where numerous free and ticketed shows were brought to several stages throughout the area, resulting in a weekend of musical creativity in this seaside community.

Sick Balloons rocked out in the gazebo at Magee Park.

The festival’s hub was at St. Michael’s by-the-Sea Church — complete with a beer garden by Green Flash, artisan market and food trucks — offering visitors plenty of entertainment for the whole family. Only a short distance from public beach access, music at the outdoor venues drew in many visitors walking in the area.

Wanting to bring more music to his hometown, event founder and artistic director Matt McBane says he started the festival right after college, and it has continued to grow over time.

“It has really become something that people look forward to each year,” he added. “It’s a really fun event that is for any age.”

Event-goers meandered between different locations while enjoying a mix of musical talent.

“The programming is a mix of contemporary classical, world music, indie rock and more,” Managing Director George Tortarolo said.

Children danced on the lawns, people relaxed on blankets and chairs, heads bobbing and bodies swaying to the beats as they soaked up the music that rang through the air. The festival brought dozens of artists including many recognizable names, such as Julia Holter.

As a nonprofit performing arts organization, all of the proceeds from the festival go to help support the festival.

“We are doing this for the community,” Tortarolo adds. “Art for art’s sake. We bring a collection of well-regarded musicians to the area and give other local artists the opportunity to play alongside them.”

Though many of the shows are free, Tortarolo says that they rely on donations and sales of the ticketed shows for continued success of the festival.

Community members and visitors from surrounding areas came to enjoy the festival, the music and the city of Carlsbad.

“I love hearing all the different groups play — there’s always something that surprises me every year,” says McBane. “I enjoy bringing all these people together and having music be the thing that brings the community and all kinds of people together. It’s a great mix of music and people, and it has become a community institution over the years.”

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