Last Saturday, as Santa Barbara’s Solstice masses danced in the sunshine of Alameda Park, a similar affair was going down on the grass meadows and wooden benches of Ojai’s Libbey Bowl. Called Locally Grown 3, hundreds of outdoor-loving music fans gathered to support Food for Thought Ojai, an organized group of parents, teachers, and farmers who advocate for serving good, clean food to the children of the Ojai Unified School District.
The day and evening of music featured the reggae-influenced stylings of the Culver City Dub Collective, the Latin-infused goodness of Quetzal, with special guest Perla Batalla, and the renowned folkster songsmithing of Minnesota-based guitarman Mason Jennings. And as a special treat, none other than world-famous, sometimes Santa Barbara-living Jack Johnson showed up – thick beard and all – to drop a few of everyone’s favorite tunes.
To check in on how things went, I asked the concert’s production manager Javier Moreno a few questions. In addition to explaining that he’s already hard at work on Locally Grown 4, here’s what he had to say.
How much money was raised?
We are still rolling in with receipts and such, but a conservative estimate would be $45,000, which would translate to covering the salaries of staff for one year.
Was the event bigger than in years past?
Although our numbers for attendees were much greater for Locally Grown 1 in 2005 (with headliner Jack Johnson and a Malloy brothers’ film), Locally Grown 3 had a larger, more wholesome feel, bringing together a diverse range of music. An added bonus was that the event happened to be on Solstice, so our mission to reconnect with the earth was more apparent and achieved a sense of fulfillment, especially since the weather was extremely enjoyable at Libbey Bowl.
Is there a specific use for money raised from the event?
The money will be used to pay for expenses in each of the programs that Food for Thought operates at Ojai schools. The income from Locally Grown, being unrestricted funds, allows for flexibility in covering costs (namely overhead and administrative) that many grants do not permit.
Was everyone pleased with the outcome?
The overwhelming response was that the event was a treat. The community as a whole was left with a buzz on Sunday about the wondrous family event that happened at the Libbey Bowl the night before. This was more transparent with the tunes that were coming out of the speakers at the Ojai Coffee Roasting Company in the early a.m.: Mason Jennings.
A similar buzz was portrayed once I returned to Santa Barbara, where I live. People I knew that had attended Locally Grown mentioned that the concert made them “feel good and grounded,” and some who attended both Solstice celebrations in S.B. and Locally Grown 3 commented that it was one of the best days ever, with a great jovial morning in S.B. followed by a laid-back, grounded, and energizing concert in the evening in the beauty of the outdoors at Libbey Bowl.
Talent for the event also responded positively and some have expressed interest in partaking in events for years to come as well as further supporting the good work of Food for Thought, The Ojai Healthy Schools Program.
For a full photo gallery by Timothy Teague, go here.