facebook tracking pixel Full moon fever: Local artists take to the stage at inaugural Deer Creek Music Festival this weekend | TheUnion.com

Full moon fever: Local artists take to the stage at inaugural Deer Creek Music Festival this weekend

By Hollie Grimaldi Flores
Special to Prospector

People who have been missing gathering to listen to live music outdoors can get their fill this Saturday, June 24, as the Miners Foundry presents the first annual Deer Creek Music Festival at Pioneer Park in Nevada City, with music set to begin at 6 p.m.

The one-day festival is the brainchild of Nevada County native Mark DeMartini who said he was interested in putting together a local festival of local musicians for the public to enjoy. The self-proclaimed “instigator” of the event, DeMartini said, “It’s a festival for us. It is all about connection — our community connection to each other, water and nature. Recently, maintaining connections has been especially difficult due to COVID-19 restrictions, governmental regulations, personal opinions and politics.”

The evening features a variety of local artists including Gabriel Bingham who plays guitar, banjo and mandolin to combine Appalachian traditional music, bluegrass and 90s grunge.

Patrick Donahue will be producing healing tones in tune with the natural world which ties in nicely with DeMartini’s goal of incorporating his love of Deer Creek which runs through the park.

“The festival was named after Deer Creek, which flows through the heart of Nevada City. Deer Creek is a spiritual artery of our town and community, yet so many do not even realize it is there,” DeMartini said. “I basically learned how to swim in Little Deer Creek as a kid, finding deep spots and exploring, climbing on the rocks, and playing. My heart has a deep connection to Deer Creek in many different ways.”

DeMartini said he had been talking with Miners Foundry Executive Director Gretchen Bond for about a year and a half about putting on a festival with Nevada County residents and musicians in mind. Noting many of the festivals taking place within the county bring in people and talent from outside the area, this event is focusing on local musicians.

“This festival is targeted for our awesome and amazing local artists to showcase their talents,” said DeMartini, a retired civil engineer, who has never done anything like this before and is giving credit where credit is due. “I have volunteered at lots of festivals in our community and have been working with an experienced festival producer at Miners Foundry and their awesome management and staff to make the festival happen.”

Also performing will be Tim High & The Mighty who play a mix of hard rock, funk and reggae. Kyle Ledson and friends D’jango Ruckrich and Mei Lin Heirendt will bring more of the Nevada County vibe to the event before headliners Petty Luv take the stage.

Petty Luv has been playing locally since the passing of famed rocker Tom Petty in the fall of 2017. Originally formed with the goal of bringing musicians together to celebrate the life and music of Petty, the group decided one night was not enough and have been sharing the “Petty Luv” ever since.

Coincidentally, there will be a full moon rising as the band performs. (“Full Moon Fever” is the name of Petty’s first solo studio album featuring contributions from his bandmembers in the Heartbreakers as well as the Traveling Wilburys.)

“During our festival we hope to gather in the park to nourish our bodies, share smiles, hugs and conversation, and listen to and dance to some of our area’s most amazing musicians and artist,” DeMartini said. “We offer our gratitude and respect to Little Deer Creek which meanders through the park.”

DeMartini added he hopes this is just the first of many annual festivals with plans for multiple days, expanding to include yoga, mediations, children’s activities, vendors, and an even more local musicians highlighting their talents.

“It’s so nice to be of service and to give something back to the community. I was born and raised here, and I love this area and giving back is a big thing for me. I just like the idea of being able to see all my friends there – their smiles – at a new festival.”

Gates open at 5 p.m. and music goes until 10 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the gate. Food and beverages will be available for purchase at the event. Outside food will be allowed but no alcohol can be brought into the park. Get tickets in advance at minersfoundry.org/events.


And, the live music festivals just keep coming! The Miners Foundry will also be offering the 26th annual Jerry Bash Celebration on Saturday, Aug. 7, at Pioneer Park in Nevada City with music beginning at 2 p.m.

Celebrating the birthday of Grateful Dead founder Jerry Garcia, the day includes all the trappings of an outdoor festival including music, food, libations, art and vendors.

Garcia was born Aug. 1, 1942 and died unexpectedly of a heart attack on Aug. 9, 1995 at the age of 53. His music has impacted generations and spawned countless tribute and cover bands.

The 26th Jerry Bash features musical acts Kyle Ledson and Friends, Wolf Jett and culminates with the Deadbeats who have been playing the music of the Grateful Dead and other similarly themed tunes since 1994. One of the founding members of the Deadbeats Tom Menig said, “When we first did the Jerry Bash in 1996, we could all tell that this was an event that the community could get behind.”

While Jerry Bash could not take place in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Miners Foundry presented a live stream encore of the 2019 Jerry Bash featuring the music of the Grateful Dead as it was performed.

This year Deadbeats and Grateful Dead fans are encouraged to gather at Pioneer Park and enjoy the festival. Patrons are encouraged to bring sunscreen, and plenty of water to stay hydrated. Food and drinks will be available for purchase on the grounds of Pioneer park. Outside food is allowed but alcoholic beverages can not be brought into the event.

Get your tickets now for the Deer Creek Music Festival and Jerry Bash at minersfoundry.org/events

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire, as well as a podcaster at HollieGrams. You can hear her episodes at https://www.buzzsprout.com/1332253. She can be reached at holliesallwrite@gmail.com


WHAT: First Annual Deer Creek Festival

WHO: Miners Foundry

WHERE: Pioneer Park, 421 Nimrod St, Nevada City

WHEN: Saturday, July 24. Doors open at 5 p.m. Music 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

HOW: Tickets are $25 in advance/$30 at the gate. Online at minersfoundry.org/events.

MORE INFO: MinersFoundry.org

Petty Luv has been playing locally since the passing of famed rocker Tom Petty in the fall of 2017. Petty Luv is headlining the Deer Creek Music Festival this Saturday.
Photo by Waking Crow Photogrpahy


The Deadbeats performing in 2017. The Deadbeats return this year to the Miners Foundry’s annual Jerry Bash.
Photo by John Taber
Gabriel Bingham
Kyle Ledson, Mei Lin and Django.
Patrick Donahue[
Petty Luv
Tim High and the Mighty



Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.



Loading comments...