By Dave Pehling
SONOMA (KPIX) — Beloved psychedelic indie rockers Yo La Tengo, songwriter Mac Demarco and Bay Area prog-pop favorites Once and Future Band were among the headliners announced Wednesday for the eleventh annual Huichica Music Festival happening in Sonoma in mid-October.
Organizers are taking a calculated risk with the announcement of the October 16-17 dates, presuming that the loosening of current shelter order and social distancing requirements from the coronavirus pandemic will allow such an event to take place by this fall.
“We’ve always strayed away from calling Huichica a ‘music festival’ because we designed it to be spread out across bucolic, open spaces,” said festival host and winery operator Jeff Bundschu in a statement. “Since its inception, we’ve limited our guest count and ticket sales to ensure that Huichica remains a very intimate experience–so we don’t anticipate our guest’s experience to change that much. Of course, we’ll be taking all appropriate measures to ensure that our staff and volunteers are safe and adhere to guidelines from the state and county.”
The festival, traditionally held on the grounds of the Gundlach Bundschu Winery each June, is organized by Bay Area concert promoter (((folkYEAH!))) and Bundschu. The Huichica (pronounced “wah-CHEEK-ah”) Festival was started as a smaller, more intimate alternative to larger festivals like BottleRock Napa and Outside Lands with a narrower musical focus while still offering the type of gourmet food and expansive wine options those festivals have a reputation of providing.
While there is no guarantee that state and county health orders will allow the festival to be held in October, the relatively small size of the festival’s crowd and the amount of real estate available at the winery should allow for social and physical distancing rules to be met. In addition to appearances by the above mentioned artists, the two-day event’s line-up includes such notable songwriters as Jonathan Richman, Gary Wilson and local favorite Meg Baird (a solo act who is also a member of Sub Pop psych super group Heron Oblivion), pioneering Japanese folk-rock singer Sachiko Kanenobu, reunited Mexican psych/prog heroes Los Dug Dug’s, Bay Area psych-folk band Vetiver, comic dance-rock outfit Thumpasaurus, bossa nova-tinged LA songstress Claude Fontain, Oakland heavy rock juggernaut Drunk Horse and folk-pop act Shannon Lay.
The festival will be held on October 16-17 and tickets go on sale to the public on Friday, Feb. 22. For more information, visit the Huichica Music Festival website.