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Festival brings legends


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Published 2011-08-22T21:55:00Z”/>

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Summer lovin’ crowds gathered, camped, sang and drank to celebrate Chico talent in the first-ever Chico Legends Music Festival. Juan Mejia

Chico got a little taste of a big music festival as crowds gathered at the Tuscan Ridge Golf Club for two nights of music, food and camping at the Chico Legends Music Festival.

Among the smell of flavored tobacco and marijuana, attendees weren’t hesitant to start dancing as Twisted Strategies opened the festival Friday with a powerful hip-hop and funk hybrid sound, featuring aggressive vocals by lead Cody Goodliffe followed by the harmonic vocals of Mary Battaglia.

Although the turnout Friday hovered at about 100 attendees, band members and producers were optimistic about the remainder of the festival, which aimed to celebrate Chico’s local music culture.

“The first year of a festival is about feeling it out,” Goodliffe said. “You learn a lot actually too, like what to do and what not to do for years to come; but yeah, I expect a decent crowd.”

Chali 2na took the stage later in the night to deliver a simple question answered by cheers from the crowd.

“Who’s ready to get high tonight?” he said.

This message permeated the crowd and kept a calm but funky atmosphere in the hip-hop-dominated day among the dancing, smoking and drinking fans. The atmosphere catered to the hippie and anti-mainstream subculture of attendees throughout the night.

Chico needed a true music festival, said Bob Backstrom and Steve Swim, co-producers of the festival. The idea of a two-night event with the option to camp was received well.

“I haven’t slept in two weeks,” Backstrom said. “We really wanted to celebrate Chico’s local music scene and came up with a formula: it’s 60 percent local bands and the rest are friends.”

The turnout was less than perfect, but it was to be expected as it’s the first year the festival is taking place, he said. There are plans to keep this festival going in hopes of turning it into something bigger.

“We signed a three-year contract, so we’ll be here for three years,” Backstrom said. “I’m going to start calling bands to price-check.”

Saturday was the longer day, starting at noon. With a whopping 21 acts, the event attracted an audience of about 150 people.

Acts like Headphone Union, ZuhG and Dead Winter Carpenters kept the small, united crowd in a sense of brotherhood. Most attendees were either in another band or receptive to meeting one another in what looked like a nomadic tribe having a musical gathering in the middle of a golf course.

A single mobile lamppost illuminated a small stretch of grass in the dark of the night when Dead Winter Carpenters took the stage and rocked the show, turning the dance grass into a barefoot hootenanny suitable for a saloon.

The folk-Americana style of Dead Winter Carpenters urged the dominantly barefoot crowd to get up and jump, dance, swing and release every ounce of energy with their fast-paced beat and shredding riffs by Jenni Charles, who plays a fiddle that complements the North Lake Tahoe band.

“What makes our band work is that we’re a team first and foremost,” Charles said. “We spend a lot of time together. I think that’s what gets us going and every time we go on stage, all our worries go away.”

Although the band is a bluegrass-style band, they also enjoy hip-hop and alternative rock, she said. They try to incorporate those things into their music to give it a little extra flavor, and the festival scene is the perfect way to share their music with people.

“At the bar scene you don’t have the type of community that you have here,” Charles said. “You just leave and you’re off. You never see those people again, but when you have a festival, you can really get to know people, form relationships and create a community, which is what I like about festivals.”

The event took a hit from lack of information and promotion, paired with a promised waterslide that was nowhere to be seen. The vendor booths were rather lonely due in part to the camping atmosphere, which allowed anyone to bring whatever they pleased to the event.

Despite these shortcomings, both producers and fans are optimistic about the future of the festival, they said. It managed to deliver its message of unity and celebration of the Chico music scene. It gave both local artists a chance to perform to an audience full of fellow musicians and Chicoans.

It also gave Chico an opportunity to appreciate the hard work and message that these musicians had come out to share.

“A lot of the musicians and artists have participated for little-to-no money,” Swim said. “Without that kind of support, without them wanting to participate, this couldn’t have happened.”

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<strong>Juan Mejia can be reached at</strong>

<em>[email protected]</em>

 

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