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Ridgestock Festival to educate and entertain at North Columbia Schoolhouse

Poor Man's Whiskey is the headliner at this years Ridgestock Festival. Band members include: Josh Brough — banjo, keyboards, harmonica, and vocals; Jason Beard — guitar and mandolin; Aspen Stevenson — bass; George Smeltz — drums; David Noble — guitar and vocals.
Courtesy of Poor Man’s Whiskey |

KNOW & GO

WHAT: Ridgestock Music and Sustainability Festival 2017

WHEN: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday.

WHERE: North Columbia Schoolhouse & Amphitheater — 17897 Tyler Foote Rd.

TICKETS: Tickets are $35 for the day, $15 for youth, children 10 and under are free. Tickets may be purchased in advance for $30 adult & $10 youth on the Ridge at Mother Truckers, or online at brownpapertickets.com.

FOR INFORMATION: Contact Roo Cantada at 530-798-3355, and roocantada@yahoo.com; website: http://www.ridgestock.org

This year, like every year, Ridgestock Music and Sustainability Festival offers not only great music, but also speakers and vendors that specialize in ecological sustainability. The ever-popular local festival brings together people of all ages that want to create green lifestyles for planetary regeneration, and to celebrate life on San Juan Ridge.

World-renowned ecological activist Julia Butterfly Hill will be on hand to give a keynote speech in the Amphitheater at 4:30 p.m. Grammy award winning, children’s hip-hop superstar family Secret Agent 23 Skidoo will open the afternoon entertainment at 3 p.m.

The festival began in 2000 as a grass roots effort to showcase local music and green living in the local area. Ridgestock brings together attendees to meet people in local organizations and businesses that will educate and inform them about green energy and sustainable technology.



Ridgestock will take place on Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. at the North Columbia Schoolhouse and Amphitheater in North San Juan.

“Ridgestock was started by me and a group of friends and musicians in an effort to bring folks from town up the hill to showcase green living and good times on the San Juan Ridge,” said Roo Cantada Festival founder and producer.




“We coined the name Ridgestock as a spoof of Woodstock, thinking it would be a memorable moniker, and it stuck,” said Cantada. “Every Ridgestock is a unique experience, and this year is no exception, as it will be full of surprises, including special guest appearances by environmental activist Julia Butterfly Hill, and Grammy winner Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, who are now Nevada County residents.”

Buck Star begins the music entertainment at 3:45 p.m.; Julia Butterfly Hill speaks on “Finding Your Personal Tree” at 4:30 p.m.; Northern Roots plays at 5 p.m.; System Krush House Band plays at 6:15 p.m.; Mojo Green takes the stage at 7:30 p.m. There is an intermission show from 8:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.; and then headliner Poor Man’s Whiskey will play from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Family fun

Ridgestock partners with local organization Mud and Pearls to offer sustainable workshops in a family-friendly atmosphere. Mud and Pearls is a do-it–yourself group that fosters hands-on learning of essential mountain skills. Ridgestock attendees are urged to attend the festival to learn about new sustainable technologies, but also to listen and dance to great bands under the stars and tall pines.

Demonstrations, workshops, and speakers will be in large supply all during the daytime hours. “The San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center will provide a Children’s Area complete with fun activities,” Cantada affirmed. “And we are excited to welcome solar specialist Martin Webb as our sustainability coordinator, who promises to bring hands-on activities and ways to make sustainability part of everyday thinking.”

Other talks will include clothing choices, energy alternatives, alternative building methods, green activism, solar technology, sustainable gardening, mobility choices, and cannabis rights and ordinances. “These perspectives are usually from longtime residents and pioneering business owners, and offer creative viewpoints with demonstrations and Q & A’s,” Cantada explained. “We want to bring sustainability into the minds of participants by being as inclusive and accessible as possible.”

In addition to talks and workshops, there will be craft vendors displaying handmade jewelry, up-cycled clothing, leatherwork, and much more. And the event will also have several food vendors, including organic food items, hand-dipped ice cream, and cold drinks — including beer and wine.

The Tunes

Come for the green technology, but stay for the music in the afternoon and evening. “The evening music starts out with Buck Star, musicians based out of the Ridge and Nevada City, who will be performing country-rock and R&B originals,” said Cantada. “Northern Roots then plays their unique roots-rock and reggae. System Krush House Band will then play a unique fusion of African drum rhythms and rock music.”

Next up, Mojo Green will throw down old-school funk and soul drum grooves with a Motown flair. It’s a seven-piece, singer-fronted, horn-heavy band from Reno. Over the last few years, Mojo Green has played over 200 shows, taking their high energy, funkadelic dance party to many concerts and festivals up and down the West Coast.

Headliner Poor Man’s Whiskey is a Northern California band that brings a reputation for high-energy, live shows, with an incomparable fusion of bluegrass, old time country, and Southern rock to stages worldwide. “Our headliner is Poor Man’s Whisky, a jam band with bluegrass and Southern rock roots, who will delight dancers and music aficionados alike,” Cantada insisted.

Poor Man’s Whiskey has been growing more popular during the past five years – selling out venues across the country such as the legendary Fillmore West in San Francisco. They are reported to be a “high-octane hootenanny” that will delight those interested in having a foot-stompin’ good time.

Poor Man’s Whiskey has already released six studio albums, and has a stunning song repertoire to choose from. In addition to their upbeat original sets, the group has developed “tribute sets” which include “Dark Side of the Moonshine” (a bluegrass interpretation of the classic Pink Floyd album), and “Graceland” (a tribute to the classic Paul Simon album). http://www.poormanswhiskey.com

David Gaines is a freelance writer who lives in Grass Valley. He can be contacted at gvlyspirit@gmail.com.


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