Story by: Kurt Johnson
Photos by: Kurt and Linda Johnson
Videos by: Kurt Johnson
On Friday and Saturday the 15th and 16th October 2021, the Huichica Music Festival took place at the Gundlach Bundschu Winery located in Northern Califonia’s world famous Sonoma Valley. The Huichica festival (Pronunciation: Wha-Chee-Ka) is a music, wine and food festival that has been a leader within the realm of the new “Micro-Festival”concept. The idea is that wine, food and music situated in a beautiful and relaxing outdoor location where all visitors enjoy an intimate and warm setting. Combined with musical selections that are particularly chosen for just such an atmosphere, Gundlach Bundschu Winery provides the event location along with their high quality wine selections. Local area vendors provide high quality culinary offerings and unique boutique merchandise and souvenier items.
Photos by: Linda Johnson
The Sonoma Huichica Music Festival has been in operation since 2010. It has since spread to Huichica Hudson Valley, New York for their fourth year. In addition, it has further spread to the Pacific Northwest with the first annual Huichica Festival in Walla Wall, Washington in 2019. The location is at the Gundlach Bundschu Winery in Sonoma. The setting was with long rows of grapevines full of purple grapes and many large oak trees providing shade throughout. There was seating with table areas where visitors could relax with a glass of wine or a bite to eat between band performances. The winery had locations set up for wine sales by the bottle or cup. Everyone was issued a Huichica cup to clip to they’re belts at the gate. Food carts provided items to eat and vendor tents were set up throughout. Everything was set up for an atmosphere of relaxation and enjoyment.
The music included calm, relaxing and introspective folk/alternative singer-songwriter duos such as Shana Falana, Meg Baird, Emma Swift and Bedouine. The band’s styles were wide-ranging and eclectic. With sounds anywhere from a channeling of 1970’s Al Green or Marvin Gaye soul, Three Sacred Souls amazed with their vocals, grooves and simply the feel of being back to a real, live MOTOWN show. They were just that good! They were this writer’s favorite of the entire weekend. The sounds then moved to the hard-hitting, hard-rocking power trio The Entrance Band. They hammered and locked the listener into the pocket and the bass groove. Their lead guitarist was a first class entertainer with his moves, licks and jumping off speakers while playing.
Another favorite of this writer was Farmer Dave And The Wizards Of The West. Farmer Dave mounted a steel slide guitar (the same type as Junior Brown plays) above his keyboard and blended the Wah-Wah sound of the bottle slide down the strings. Their theme was a throwback to the 1960’s peace and love of the San Francisco Hippie movement, with all of their songs proclaiming that love is the answer!
There were country-western sets both as a duo and full band from Mapache.
Headlining on Friday night at the Barn Stage was crowd favorite Yo La Tengo with their mind-bending psyche rock and multi-instrumentalist show and sound. They also performed on Saturday night at the Amphitheater stage ahead of closer Mac Demarco.
At the Giraffe stage Farmer Dave And The Wizards Of The West performed a double set while closing the show there. Finally at the Barn Stage, Cass McCombs closed out the festival with a mesmerizing set.
Photos by: Kurt Johnson
It was a wonderful weekend event with outstanding bands, great food and most excellent wine. And everyone that appeared, contributed, sponsored, worked, volunteered or simply attended were the ones that made it all happen. Everyone contributed in they’re own way and everyone made it happen. POW MAGAZINE would like to thank the Huichica Music Festival for allowing us to bring the festival to our viewers with photos, videos and reporting on the events of the 2021 Huichica Music Festival.
You can see more of the Huichica Music festival at their website: