Rock 'n' rain 'n' wine
Musical talent—both emerging and legendary—descended upon Sonoma's vineyards at the second annual Huichica Music Festival
Sarah + Peter Berkley / Cult Sonoma
Who knew Gewürztraminer, raindrops and rock could go so well together?
While the lion's share of North Bay events were canceled last weekend in the shadow of severe rain storm forecasts, Gundlach Bundschu's 2nd annual Huichica Music Festival cared less about getting its feet wet, nor did its nine musical acts and its hundreds of attendees.
"The music was mesmerizing, the vibe was infectious, and Mother Nature was awesome," says Gun Bun president and festival co-producer Jeff Bundschu. "Pulling that off was not easy. The intensity of the weather forced us to make some big changes, including moving the second stage indoors and reconfiguring the band line up an hour before show time."
While guests at last year's sold-out show shimmied to indie acts in their tank tops under sweltering June sun, this year's crowd was outfitted in Wellingtons, rain slickers and surprisingly upbeat attitudes. Cramming into tents and clinking wine glasses together during periodic downpours only seemed to further the bonding experience.
In the makeshift indoor second stage—Gun Bun's wine production facility—attendees squeezed in close to catch musical acts David Williams, CB Brand, Tu Fawning and Breathe Owl Breathe. Through it all the nationally-renowned recording outfit Daytrotter caught the intimate performances on camera. And it only seemed appropriate when Breathe Owl Breathe's lead vocalist Micah Middaugh donned a snorkel to sing a song about swimming, (later follwed by a scuba diving hood.)
By the time the festival moved outside to the main stage, most of the storm had passed and the evening acts were "blessed with clear skies," said Bundschu.
Picnic blankets and tarps dotted a saturated hillside while These United States, Richard Swift and popular SF-based Sonny and the Sunsets pulled off rollicking sets.
Armed with only his guitar, a couple pedals and an inimitable, raspy and velcro voice, Dinosaur Junior's legendary J Mascis played a series of stripped down, beautiful songs from his new solo album Several Shades of Why. The Fruit Bats—whose lead singer and core member Eric D. Johnson co-produced the festival with Bundschu—finished the evening off with a multi-band jam session, despite an amp being pulled down midway into their set.
Huichica proved that despite the bizarrely timed deluge, the collective spirit and interest in seeing independent artists play at Bundschu's historic winery was far from dampened.
"I know I speak for Eric when I say that as nascent festival producers, the second Huichica Festival was an even greater success because of its challenges. It showed us that our passion for sharing new music in this beautiful setting is clearly valued by all of you," said Bundschu.
photos courtesy of Cult Sonoma: