If you are wondering how to spend a Saturday afternoon or evening immersed in live music and not put the slightest dent in your entertainment budget, may I suggest a leisurely stroll through downtown Carlsbad this coming Saturday (June 20) for the annual Carlsbad Music Festival Village Walk?There simply is no other place where nearly 30 different bands, ensembles, quartets, soloists, and even mini-orchestras will offer their best repertory simply for the courtesy you extend to stop and listen. If you like the rousing sounds of New Orleans brass bands, for example, Carlsbad offers Euphoria Band. If you want to sample traditional Persian music, you can hear Kouroush Taghavi Trio, or if you are sufficiently curious, stop and discover how the Nathan Hubbard Quartet fuses jazz and classical chamber music.
While the Village Walk opens at 4:00 p.m. in the charming gazebo of Magee Park and doesn’t stop until 10:00 p.m., the performances happen in another 15 locations spread throughout the village, including various business establishments, parking lots, and my personal favorite, the historic wooden Chapel at St. Michael’s Church.
Numerous virtuoso soloists strut their stuff: contemporary classical cellist Jennifer Bewerse, solo percussionist Erin Martysz, singer and songwriter Steve Marshall, electronic Music minimalist Daniel Corral, and of course, violinist and creative composer Matt McBane, the ambitious and visionary guy who founded the Carlsbad Music Festival 12 years ago. The Carlsbad Music Festival–for which the Village Walk is a lavish coming attractions–happens at the end of the summer season August 28-30, and has grown into a contemporary music festival of international note.
If this initial listing of musicians is sounding a tad far-out for your musical tastes, rest assured that the world of pop music has a place at the Village Walk too. The Lovebirds is a folk-pop duo and the gift machine is a quartet specializing in indie pop psych-rock. The Liquorsmiths is a dynamic folk-rock trio, and the ensemble that calls itself The Red Fox Tails has perfected their “surf meets jazz” idiom, nowhere more appropriate than in Carlsbad.
Yes, there is much more, but for this teaser, I have saved the best for last: Scott Paulson and the Teeny-Tiny Pit Orchestra. A recovering oboist, Paulson has acquired over the years a museum worthy collection of toy and slightly kinky real musical instruments–not to mention percussion sound effects sufficient to sink a yacht–that he and his collaborators fuse into madcap musical accompaniments for silent films. Paulson seems to have channeled Spike Jones, Harpo Marx and Victor Borge, but the mix is clearly his own.
So you don’t feel like driving up the coast? In daylight hours the Coaster stops right in the middle of the Village Walk in downtown Carlsbad, and if you stay really late, the last Amtrak from Los Angeles will stop for you in Carlsbad Village and bring you back to Old Town or the great old Santa Fe station at the foot of Broadway in downtown San Diego.