Young and old alike can enjoy traditional American music at the Americana MusicFest from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 3 at Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills. Musicians will perform folk, bluegrass, Cajun and other American music.
Emceeing the festival is multi-talented performer, educator and musician Joe Craven. Headliners include Scott Gates (mandolin extraordinaire), John York (guitarist formerly with The Byrds) and Kirsten Proffit (songwriter, guitarist).
Craven, who emcees half a dozen national music festivals a year, will be wearing many hats at the festival. His “One Man Joe Show” is a crowd pleaser as he plays everything from cake pans to banjos. “Besides entertaining, I like to introduce an educational philosophy to the show too,” says Craven. “We bring someone up from the audience, give them a fiddle and before too long, we’re jamming together. Folk music is much like the spoken word–same architecture, rhythm and pitch. You don’t have to learn to read music to enjoy it. It’s for all ages–from little ones on up.”
Americana MusicFest will also feature hands-on music workshops for those who want to learn about different acoustical instruments (i.e., violin, guitar, banjo, bass). An instrument “petting zoo” will enable young fair-goers to strum away on about 20 different instruments. Jam sessions throughout the day will give attendees an opportunity to play music with some of the best in the business. Fair-goers can bring their own instruments for the jam sessions. No electrical instruments are allowed.
“We invited professional touring musicians from all over the country to perform at the festival,” says Carl Gage, co-festival music coordinator with Gary Lynch. “We also have young talented musicians performing including guitarist Miles Francis, an 18 year old from Thousand Oaks. We’re hoping to show that music can be very cool without being excessively loud or raucous.”
Francis, who graduated from Thousand Oaks High School this year, began playing guitar at age 12. “I always wrote songs, and playing the guitar was a way to express them,” says Francis. His music is influenced by John Meyer, Jack Johnson and Jason Mraz. Describing his sound as “beachy, pop acoustical,” Francis has played at clubs and benefits throughout the Conejo Valley and Los Angeles including Joey’s Café, Borders, Six Flags and at the Club Nokia in downtown Los Angeles.
Francis just finished his debut album at Sound Image Studios. “It was a whole other side of the music industry,” says Francis. “I got to record with talented engineers. It was one of the greatest experiences to see my music come alive.”
His advice to kids who are interested in playing an instrument? “Give several instruments a try and go with the one you’re drawn too,” he suggests. “You’ll get frustrated while learning, but it’s great to be able to express your feelings in a song.”
Proceeds from the Americana MusicFest go to the Kiwanis Club of Thousand Oaks Charitable Foundation, which is dedicated to educate, benefit and empower children in the community. Advance tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for under age 18 if ordered before September 15. Kids under 5 are free. Call (805) 584-0694 for tickets or visit http://www.AmericanaMusicFestKW.org.
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