Center for the Arts takes the reins of WorldFest | TheUnion.com

Center for the Arts takes the reins of WorldFest

Brett Bentley
Staff Writer

The Center for the Arts has purchased the California WorldFest from its founders, Maple Creek Presents, a Chico-based company owned by Dan DeWayne and Christine Myers. The acquisition will give the Center a signature music festival event that it currently lacks in its programming, and opens up opportunity for the nonprofit arts organization to grow.

The Center hit a ceiling with its programming — a variety of music, dance, theater, comedy, literary, visual art and family entertainment — and had been looking for a festival of its own, said Executive Director Julie Baker.

"To be able to manage and present an existing festival … makes the most sense," Baker said of the successful, established event.

WorldFest has been at the Nevada County Fairgrounds every July since it was established 18 years ago. The four-day festival features "eight stages of music from around the world, camping with family and friends, workshops, international food, fine crafts, and the renowned children's program," according to its website.

“We are ecstatic to pass the leadership of WorldFest to The Center for the Arts. Their commitment to the local community, strong board, vast experience in presenting diverse performers, and our shared values of family-first make them the perfect match for continuing WorldFest for years to come.”
former owner Dan DeWayne

The event attracts an average attendance of about 16,000 each year, with daily totals varying between 3,000 to 5,000 people, said DeWayne.

Recommended Stories For You

For DeWayne and his wife Myers, the sale of the event to The Center for the Arts is a win-win. The couple, who also co-founded the Strawberry Music Festival and the Chico World Music Festival, had been looking for the past few years to find a group of folks or organization that shared the same family-friendly values as the event.

"We are ecstatic to pass the leadership of WorldFest to The Center for the Arts," DeWayne said. "Their commitment to the local community, strong board, vast experience in presenting diverse performers, and our shared values of family-first make them the perfect match for continuing WorldFest for years to come."

The Center represented everything they were looking for in an organization, he added. The purchase will ensure that California WorldFest will continue to be presented at a high level, he said.

For the Center, WorldFest represents the signature event they were seeking, that will help the organization be more sustainable, Baker said.

Baker said the purchase agreement is so new that the Center isn't sure yet of the impact on its staffing or programming. She hopes to utilize a lot of the workforce that is a part of the festival each year. As for programming, most likely the Center's regular, ongoing concerts and events will remain the same for seven or eight months out of the year, but lighten up from May through mid-September when the staff is focused on the July event. She will begin booking the 19th annual WorldFest immediately, Baker said.

As part of the agreement, DeWayne and Myers will consult with Center staff for the next few years to help ensure a smooth transition. As they step down from active leadership with the event, DeWayne says he and his wife are most proud of the family-friendly event WorldFest has become. They originally founded the festival because they wanted to get back to a camping event that had a family-friendly atmosphere. The beauty of the Nevada County Fairgrounds provided the perfect backdrop and they booked the acts, offered music education and had arts and crafts activities for children. Now, 18 years later, DeWayne sees families getting together for reunions each year at the event. There's something for all ages, he added.

His hope is that 18 years from now, he and Myers will be sitting in their rocking chairs on the front porch, watching the event continue to thrive, he said.

Baker is excited that the event will truly be a local festival, with money generated by WorldFest staying here in the community. Stay tuned for a lot of things to come as Center staff begins to book acts and develop the 19th annual event, July 16-19. Tickets go on sale for the 2015 WorldFest Wednesday. For more information go to http://www.worldfest.net.

Features Editor Brett Bentley can be reached at bbentley@theunion.com or by calling 530-477-4219.

Go back to article