Back for a third year in a row, Santa Cruz Music Festival (SCMF) will sprawl across downtown Santa Cruz venues including The Catalyst, Woodstock’s Pizza, Motiv and other locations to round out 15 total stages and 13 hours of musical mayhem on Oct. 10.
This year’s line-up headlines hip-hop DJ RJD2, folk dub reggae group Delhi 2 Dublin and the recently announced electronic DJ G Jones. The list boasts over 100 bands — the majority of which have roots in the Santa Cruz and Bay Area community.
“Santa Cruz has been supporting our music for years,” said Delhi 2 Dublin founder and member Tarun Nayar. “We’ve played Moe’s [Alley] so many times that I can’t keep track. In general, northern California is one of our favorite places to visit and play.”
SCMF will begin at 12 p.m. and run until 1 a.m., starting off with all an ages lunchtime tunes and ending with late night headliners at the atrium and main Catalyst stages. For the first time, SCMF will include all genres of music from metal and punk to reggae, a shift from their previously predominant electronic presence.
“When we were offered the opportunity to play at SCMF we jumped at the chance to party with our friends in town and meet a bunch of new folks,” Nayar said. “The other talent on the bill is rad, and we’re stoked to bring our own flavor to the show.”
In 2014 SCMF was exclusively at The Catalyst over the course of two days. This year, the event is operating on a larger budget and is hoping to close out at 2,000 ticket sales, said SCMF organizer Thomas Dawson. Presale tickets currently cost $40, and will go up to $50 at the door.
“It’s cheap for all intents and purposes. We have made a conscious effort to keep the ticket price down so that everyone can experience the festival,” Dawson said. “There are free events as well, people can find stuff to do even if they don’t want to buy a pass.”
This year, SCMF is incorporating “Santa Cruz Speaks,” a lecture series on the current state of Santa Cruz including topics like “Cannabis, Music and Sustainability.” The series will take place at the Jewel Theater from 12 p.m. to 4:45 p.m, and is free with a wristband or $10 without one. Some of the speakers include Santa Cruz Mayor Don Lane, executive director of youredm.com Jordan Keeling, as well as Superintendent of Santa Cruz School District Michael Watkins.
SCMF was founded with a strong sense of community. Thomas Dawson, organizer and local band manager, hopes that the event will help bridge gaps between the local community and UC Santa Cruz students on campus.
“From what I can tell there is a bit of a strained relationship between locals and students,” said SCMF organizer Thomas Dawson. “I think that this is a great way to bring the UCSC students to downtown, into a more local event.”
Christopher Carr, Ancestree reggae band co-founder, looks back on his times as a UCSC student and community member with fond memories.
“When you look at Ancestree, the band is a product of its environment,” Carr said. “When on tour we represent Santa Cruz. It is our sound, genre and heritage.”
After starting the band with roommates Tomás Gomez and Tom Maimon, Carr and Ancestree looked to local gigs and the support of the community to get their start. After playing SCMF in 2013, Ancestree spent the day at the festival, travelling around the venues and supporting other artists, Carr said.
“For not being a huge city, I feel like we have a huge music scene. This festival is a unique opportunity to have a showcase the whole music scene,” Carr said. “Whatever you are into, you can find it at this festival. I would encourage [students] to check out new spots and invest in the community because in my experience it only helps you grow.”
To view the line-up and set times, or purchase tickets, visit santacruzmusicfestival.com.