Ah, summer. For music lovers and outdoorsy types, there is no better season. This past weekend, our neighbors to the south enjoyed a weekend full of music under the sun (and stars) at the Ojai Music Fest. This weekend we’re looking northward to the 25th annual KCBX Live Oak Music Festival, which packs three days and nights of live folk, bluegrass, jazz, blues, and world music into one of the South Coast’s most picturesque hideaways. The fest takes place at the Live Oak Campground (4600 Hwy. 154) this Friday-Sunday, June 14-16, and in addition to the music, it offers camping, kids activities, workshops, and talent shows. Think of it as music sleep-away camp for the whole family. Below, we run through just some of the weekend highlights. For tickets, info, and schedules, call (805) 549-8855 or visit liveoakfest.org.
1. Robert Earl Keen: Texan singer/songwriter Robert Earl Keen embodies much of Live Oak’s vibe; his songs are deeply rooted in classic Americana, his deliveries are breezy, and his stage presence is about as warm and welcoming as they come. Hear him on the Main Stage Friday, June 14, at 9 p.m.
2. Tom Ball and Kenny Sultan: You can’t well mention Santa Barbara blues without talking about Tom Ball and Kenny Sultan. These two have been jamming together since 1978, and it shows; their prolific history and easy musical dialogue make for one of the better live shows S.B. has to offer. The gents play the Main Stage Saturday, June 15, at 11:20 a.m.
3. Emy Reynolds Band: If heartfelt folk is your game, the young Emy Reynolds is your best bet of the weekend. The band’s sound is a potent mix of simple chords, bright melodies, and somber lyricism that cuts right to the bone. Add to that Reynolds’ voice, a sweet, fragile alto reminiscent of fellow area songwriter Lissie, and you’ve got a great reason to make Sunday your early-rise morning. Catch them on the Hot Licks Stage Sunday, June 16, at 8 a.m.
4. Jerry Douglas: Never mind his own expansive catalog, Jerry Douglas has played guitar on more than 1,600 albums — 1,600. He’s an award winner, an Americana icon, a bluegrass specialist, and, most importantly, one of history’s most shredding lap steel players. Find him on the Mainstage Sunday, June 16, at 8:45 p.m.