Live, eclectic music and cultural connections will be set against the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada this weekend at the 20th annual Millpond Music Festival.
In addition to musical acts including the Marc Atkinson Trio, Incendio, The Bills, the Joe Craven Trio and world famous Los Lobos, this year’s festival will feature food and art vendors, kids crafts and two authentic cultural villages.
The villages, one featuring Native American demonstrations, music and crafts, and the other featuring Latino activities, dance and crafts, are funded through two grants, one from The James Irvine Foundation and one of the California Arts Council.
According to Inyo Council for the Arts Executive Director Lynn Cooper, the Native American village will feature a small stage where local performers, including main stage act Sage Romero, will perform smaller, more intimate concerts featuring Native American flutes and traditional Paiute songs.
There will also be hand games, local Native American art vendors and demonstrations of basket weaving and other crafts of cultural importance.
In the Latino village, Cooper said there will be live music, special arts and crafts for youngsters, and piñata making and dance demonstrations.
“It’s very cool,” Cooper said. “And that’s all in addition to the normal things we do.”
Those “normal things” Cooper was referring to include the popular workshop tent at the festival.
Removed from the Main Stage, the workshop tent gives festivalgoers and performers an opportunity to get up close and personal to discuss the elements of music, instruments of choice and the songwriting process.
“The workshop tent is all booked,” Cooper said. “For a lot of the festivalgoers, the feedback is that the workshop is their favorite part because it’s a chance to talk to the musicians.”
The workshop tent opens at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday with an open mic session. Anyone and everyone who is interested in sharing their musical or lyrical stylings is welcome to attend the open mic, Cooper said.
Millpond also boasts seven food vendors and nearly 20 art vendors in addition to those who will be set up in the cultural villages.
For the youngsters, Cooper said Millpond will have kids’ arts and crafts Saturday and Sunday, a bounce house provided by Calvary Baptist Church from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, and hands-on fun learning experiences provided by the Eastern Sierra Institute for Collaborative Education from noon-6 p.m. Sunday.
The ESICE programs will be similar to last year’s event, and include educational looks at the local environment, from tree rings to life in a Sierra stream.
Those who have not yet purchased their tickets for Millpond may do so at the main gate to the county park north of Bishop.
For more information, call the Inyo Council for the Arts at (760) 873-8014.