Each June, some serious musical talent pours into Live Oak Camp near Lake Cachuma to wow folks with an array of genres, including folk, bluegrass, blues, gospel, and world music. Closing in on its third decade of existence, this year’s several-day Live Oak Festival sports a lineup not to be missed.
For instance, the legendary Steve Earle will grace the main stage on Sunday, June 21, along with his band, The Dukes. Inspired by the music of singer/songwriter Townes Van Zandt, Earle took up the guitar at the age of 11 and started playing out by age 19. In the course of his career, he’s made 15 albums, won three Grammys, and had his work covered by such luminaries as Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, and Waylon Jennings.
Another performer sure to thrill is Sean Watkins, who will play Saturday, June 20. Watkins may be best known for his work with Nickel Creek, which includes his sister Sara on fiddle, but the guitarist extraordinaire also has an active solo career that includes four albums, the latest being 2014’s All I Do Is Lie. While his roots are bluegrass, Watkins now also incorporates country, indie rock, and acoustic folk into his repertoire.
Other artists featured at the weekend-long event include area favorites Cache Valley Drifters and Hot Buttered Rum, up-and-comers Shadowlands, New Times Music Award winners Próxima Parada, the “Afromericana” trio Mamajowali, and Grammy-winning country and folk singer Suzy Bogguss. While you can pop up to the fest for just one concert, the best thing to do is dust off your tent and head out to the valley for a full weekend of unforgettable music
Live Oak Festival takes place Friday-Sunday, June 19-21, at Live Oak Camp. For more information, call 781-3030 or see liveoakfest.org.