Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post by Stevee Stubblefield, co-founder of the DIO Fest. We invited Stevee to write this post to share the overall awesomeness that is the Do-It-Ourselves Fest. This music festival, with a unique community spirit, takes place later this month in the Santa Cruz Mountains and benefits a worthy charity. It also sounds like a ton of fun.
When walking through security at most major music festivals, you’ll often hear something along the lines of, “You’ll have to pour out your canteen ma’am, there are no outside beverages allowed into the event. Waters are available for $5 each.”
This type of scenario is the norm at most of today’s largest music festivals.
Over the last 20 years, the scene has exploded – Coachella, Bonnaroo, Outside Lands and more. These events are surely a lot of fun and feature some truly stellar acts, I’ve enjoyed them myself, but they’re not the only way to experience authentic music, art and culture.
Let’s Do it Ourselves
That’s what the third annual Do it Ourselves Fest (DIO Fest), held in the Santa Cruz Mountains at the end of April, is all about – creating a festival experience of our own design. An experience that’s not dictated by big corporate sponsorship or fat-cat promotion companies. DIO Fest is a grassroots event that blurs the lines between artist and audience, creating an inclusive and collaboratory vibe.
Your Local Grassroots Music Fest
Held on a breathtaking private property of redwood forests in the Santa Cruz Mountains (a summer camp for special needs called Camp Krem), DIO Fest is carving it’s own place in the music festival scene, creating something special in our own backyard.
What more perfect place than Santa Cruz to call home.
Do it Ourselves Fest started as just a seed – a gathering of friends and local musicians to celebrate the art of expression and support those with special needs. It has now grown into the premiere local camping and music festival in Santa Cruz County, featuring some of the best acoustic and electric groups from not only Santa Cruz County, but from San Francisco and around California as well.
Happening April 24th to 26th, 2015 at Camp Krem in Boulder Creek, CA, tickets include primitive camping for Friday and Saturday nights, live music from over 20 local and regional performers, and rad stuff like workshops, live art, off-stage collaborations and more. There are also a number of Saturday day passes available.
2015 DIO Music Lineup
Photo Credit: Sarah Shashaani
There are some pretty impressive local and regional acts coming together for the event this year – bringing together a poignant display of how much talent we are blessed to hold here in the greater Santa Cruz area and beyond.
Lagos Roots Afrobeat Ensemble – Joining the DIO Fest lineup for the first time, Lagos Roots is sure to bring heavy grooves and dancing beats to the mainstage on Saturday night – Lagos Roots is a 15-piece afrobeat group out of Oakland bringing it back to the roots of modern afrobeat: 1970’s West Africa.
The Mattson 2 – If you could soundtrack the jangle of the sea and the jazz of the surf, the Mattson 2 would most certainly be the composers. The foot stomps of a shoe-gazed salty air meets the tight groove and polished shake of the night with each of the duo’s multi-layered tracks. And with their third record, “Feeling Hands” (Galaxia records. Produced by Thomas Campbell), audiences around the globe are witnessing the growth of two musicians hitting full stride with deft layering, detailed composition and an altogether unmistakable sound.
Royal Jelly Jive – An intoxicating mixed drink of Gypsy Rock and Soul Jive, Royal Jelly Jive dives deep head-first into the old school throwback sounds of the 1940’s with a groovy new twist. Rapturous horns, sleek bass, an intoxicating mixed drink of Gypsy Rock and Soul Jive, Royal Jelly Jive’s elegant keys and swingin’ cymbals are just some of the sweet tastes you may devour if you’re lucky enough to catch them.
Additional artists include:
McCoy Tyler Band
Marty O’Reilly and the Old Soul Orchestra
The Coffis Brothers
Erin Inglish & Stringtown Ambassadors
Kelly McFarling and the Home Team
Sugar by the Pound
Check out this year’s full lineup here.
Assistant DIO Fest Director, Shayla Thernes, came to the event for the first time in 2014 and was immediately inspired to get more involved. Here’s a little word from Shayla giving a first-hand account of her life-changing experience last year as a DIO Fest ‘virgin’ (meaning it was her first time at the event):
As soon as I arrived at Camp Krem I knew I was in for something special.
I came on Thursday as a volunteer and instantly felt like I was part of the team although I’d never been to the festival before. It started raining as we set up camp but not one smile was turned upside-down.
On Friday it rained even harder as the general public began to arrive. We had to bring everything inside, including ourselves. But again, it didn’t dampen the mood — it enhanced the sense of community.
Everyone was thrilled to wake up to the sun the next morning. There was a recycling parade – you could hear it coming over the hillside. Led by musicians with instruments in hand reminding us through song to keep the grounds clean. There was music everywhere. As you walked through the camp people all over were jamming and creating together. I’d never seen anything like it!
There were three stages that we built ourselves. The Amphitheater Stage, Main Stage, and Late Night Stage located in the mess hall. The Amphitheater Stage was a favorite of mine because of it’s intimacy. Seats planted in a horseshoe formation with a giant fire pit below that became a dancing ring during Steep Ravine’s memorable set.
Many of the DIO crew members are also musicians. Stevee, one of the founders of the festival being one of them. He played an unforgettable set with North Pacific String Band on the Main Stage. This stage sits on a hill overlooking the vast and tranquil Santa Cruz Mountains. From there you feel like you’re on top of it all.
Everyone contributes in some way creating the most beautiful and welcoming atmosphere. We really Do It Ourselves.
So if you love great local music, art and pristine redwood camping, then consider checking out Do it Ourselves Fest. See photos, videos, recordings and more at diofest.com to get a feel for the event and see if the do it ourselves spirit inspires you!
Attendees receive a complimentary stainless steel pint mug, co-presented by Mountain Feed and Farm Supply of Ben Lomond, in order to eliminate single-use containers at the event. A portion of proceeds are donated to Camp Krem’s Music Enrichment Program for Special Needs.
Many of the artists who have been a part of the DIO Fest family since the beginning in 2013 are now well on their way to successful careers in the music industry (Kendra McKinley,Marty O’Reilly, Steep Ravine and more). DIO Fest is grateful to the town of Boulder Creek and the amazing community of folks like you make the event possible.
See for yourself what it’s all about at diofest.com. Head over to the tickets page and see if you can’t convince yourself to experience this unique event for the first time – you’ll be welcomed with open arms.
April 24-26, 2015
Camp Krem, Boulder Creek
Buy Tickets Here
Top photo credit: Eric Ekstam