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Festival brings 20 bands to five Davis venues

Farzad Safavi returns a CD to Nix Glass, who can be found every Thursday spinning records at Delta of Venus in downtown Davis. Glass will be playing at Sophia's Thai Kitchen during the Davis Music Festival on Saturday, June 25. "It'll be a nice change of atmosphere," Glass said. "DJ Vee and I are playing back to back. I'm playing an eclectic mix -- hip-hop, Afro beat, Brazilian, reggae and soul. A little bit of everything." Fred Gladdis/Enterprise photo

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June 16, 2011 | Leave Comment

Feel the beat

What: Davis Music Festival, to benefit arts in Davis schools

When: Saturday, June 25, 5:30 p.m. to midnight

Where: E Street Plaza, Odd Fellows Hall, Sophia’s Thai Kitchen, Delta of Venus and Little Prague

Tickets: $20 each, available at http://davismusicfest.com

The summer festival season is here. Unfortunately, Davis is not a destination for touring acts. For local music fans, it seems like the only advantage to being in Davis is its close proximity to Sacramento and the Bay Area.

But the times they are a-changin’. On Saturday, June 25, Davis residents can experience an all-day music festival in their own back yard. The first Davis Music Festival features 20 bands at five venues in downtown Davis, including E Street Plaza, Odd Fellows Hall, Sophia’s Thai Kitchen, Delta of Venus and Little Prague.

Tickets are $20; proceeds benefit the Davis School Arts Foundation, which supports art, music and performing arts programs in Davis schools.

The line-up includes many local and regional bands and DJs, including Misner & Smith, Rita Hosking & Cousin Jack, the West Nile Ramblers, Truth & Salvage Co., DJ Vee (KDRT), Mr. Glass (KDVS), Jake Mann & the Upper Hand, Miss Lonely Hearts, Shayna & the Bulldog, Uncle Tony, DJ Donsequitur (KDVS), Conscious Souls, The Greening, Garrett Pierce, The Blank Tapes, Youth Rescue Mission, Fine Steps, G. Green, New Heirlooms and Musical Charis.

To purchase tickets and view a full schedule, visit http://davismusicfest.com. For a comprehensive map, pick up the June edition of The Davis Dirt, http://davisdirt.blogspot.com.

Danny Tomasello, a local salesman, family man and music fan, is the festival founder.

“For years I’ve been seeing awesome bands at all these local shows,” Tomasello said, “Sometimes there’d only be 30 people in the crowd. I wanted to spread the word. I wanted to somehow be involved in music, even though I don’t play instruments.”

So he tried his hand at promoting concerts. A friend recruited Tomasello to help launch a benefit concert. The Davis High School Concert on the Green, which benefits the DHS Blue & White Foundation, is now in its third year.

“We had help from the city, volunteers and a descent-sized committee, and it was still a fair amount of work,” Tomasello explains.

“I found that the bands I talked to didn’t connect with this issue (a high school foundation),” he said. “When I brought up the idea of funding arts and music classes, they got it.”

So the Davis School Arts Foundation was brought on board. Having a beneficiary helped legitimize the festival, and local sponsors soon followed.

The eco-friendly coffee roasting and delivery service, The Pepper Peddler, is a double-duty sponsor. Owner Alex Roth not only helps behind the scenes, but is performing with his band, West Nile Ramblers. Roth also books local shows as The Pepper Peddler Presents.

“Alex has been so helpful in referring me to people and giving advice,” Tomasello said.

“I’ve played a lot of benefits,” Roth said. “Often, our budget gets blown on sound. The band is the main focus and the reason we’re able to charge tickets. They’re playing at a cut rate already. They should get compensation.”

The goal of the Davis Music Festival is to “showcase local bands, raise money and drive traffic downtown. (We want to put the) focus on local bands and show that Davis is a music-loving community,” Tomasello said.

“And while we could use more venues in town, the venues we have do a great job as it is.”

This festival wouldn’t exist without local music lovers. A network of like-minded individuals helped bring these ideas to fruition.

Tomasello has too many people to thank and not enough space, but he offered special kudos to Armadillo Music, the Davis Downtown Business Association, Melanie Gentles of The Davis Dirt and city of Davis Promotions Manager Bob Bowen.

Thinking ahead, Tomasello envisions an annual Davis Music Festival. He hopes to have more sponsors next year.

“People are going to be finding out about this the next day,” he said. “We’ll get a nice head start on next year.”

— Reach Landon Christensen at landonissuch@hotmail.com. Full disclosure: Christensen and Tomasello met at Armadillo Music years ago and have been “gig buddies” ever since.

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