Nothing says “Happy Father’s Day” like a good ole-fashioned family camping trip. And nothing says “family camping trip” like the annual Live Oak Music Festival. Nestled into the hills above Santa Barbara, Live Oak boasts one of the most picturesque and pristine of settings the area has to offer. Add to that more than 20 national and nearby folk, jazz, reggae, blues, and gospel acts—not to mention a handful of crafts, food, and activities—and you’ve got the makings for one hoppin’ three-day adventure. This Friday, June 17, through Sunday, June 19, the Live Oak Music Fest sets up camp for the 23rd year running. So pack the car, and grab the kiddos because this is one weekend getaway you’re not going to want to miss. Below, we run down a handful of must-dos. For tickets, info, and schedules, visit liveoakfest.org.
1. The Headliners: Over the years, Live Oak has hosted some of the best and brightest in music, and 2011 is no exception. For this go-round, ticket holders will get an earful of great area acts (SambaDá, Kate Wallace, Sparrows Gate), as well as a heavy-handed helping of world-renowned players. On Friday, reggae legends Toots and the Maytals take to the festival’s main stage; on Saturday, Tex-Mex icons The Texas Tornados are on headlining duty. And Sunday, living legend Mavis Staples closes the weekend with one of the most powerful voices in American music. While Staples’s singing career stretches back all the way to 1950, it’s her recent accomplishments that have us all aflutter. Just this year, she took home the Best Americana Album Grammy for the magnificent You Are Not Alone, produced by Wilco frontman/mastermind Jeff Tweedy. Talk about legendary.
2. The Cause: It also stands to mention that 100 percent of proceeds from the Live Oak Music Festival will go toward funding for KCBX FM 90 Public Radio. Serving Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, KCBX is responsible for bringing us programming ranging from Democracy Now and All Things Considered to A Prairie Home Companion and This American Life. For a full rundown of the station’s programming, community event listings, and ongoing pledge drives, visit kcbx.org.
3. The Fam: Let’s face it: Nine times out of 10, kids and music festivals simply don’t mix. Lucky for us, Live Oak is the ultimate exception to the rule. With supervised activities geared specifically for children (think juggling workshops, outdoor education, rock-wall climbing, pottery lessons, and talent shows), parents can truly sit back and enjoy the music.