Over the course of a decade, Petaluma’s Rivertown Revival—dubbed the Greatest Slough on Earth—has become one of the North Bay’s most beloved annual summer events.
The planned 11th annual Rivertown Revival was originally scheduled to happen this summer on Saturday, July 18, on the Petaluma River to benefit the conservation and education organization Friends of the Petaluma River. But Covid-19 and the North Bay’s shelter-in-place orders forced the one-day festival to cancel the show in the name of public health and safety.
In place of the one-day event, organizers instead took to the internet to present a free online venture, Living Room Live, which has showcased all of the best parts of the festival over the course of four streaming weekly concerts since late May.
This weekend, on July 18—the date Rivertown Revival was scheduled to take place—Living Room Live concludes it’s online run with its biggest and best show of the summer, a 3-hour virtual variety show headlined by popular North Bay singer-songwriter David Luning.
“The concert series has been a lot of fun and a way to create community when both things are needed so badly right now,” Friends of the Petaluma River executive director Stephanie Bastianon says, in a statement. “With the original date for the Rivertown Revival festival coming up on July 18th, we wanted to mark this day of celebration for Petaluma with one last show.”
“The Rivertown Revival festival has always been about more than one sunny day in July,” says Rivertown Revival music director Josh Windmiller. “It is an ongoing effort from within the community to celebrate life, support the arts and raise awareness and funds for environmental protection and education.”
To that effect, the Living Room Live series embraces Rivertown Revival’s fundraising mindset, and has raised almost $10,000 for Friends of the Petaluma River to support their conservation and education work in the Petaluma Watershed.
For this final showcase, Windmiller will once again play Johnny Carson by hosting and interviewing musicians, artists and others from the comfort of his living-room couch.
This weekend’s show boasts a stellar lineup, headlined by North Bay singer-songwriter David Luning, who has climbed the ranks from open mics to headlining gigs and major festival appearances over the past decade. The Forestville native performs with a passionate streak, offering up Americana music that both kicks out the lights and tugs at the heartstrings.
Other performers appearing online as part of the upcoming variety show include Maya Leon, a Santa Rosa singer-songwriter who was a contestant on the Spanish-language television talent show Tengo Talento, Mucho Talento. Eclectic blues-rock ensemble Lee Vandeveer Band, energetic folk-punk trio Snaps for Sinners, North Bay hip-hop artist Kayatta and blues singer-songwriter Layla Musselwhite—daughter of blues legend Charlie Musselwhite—are all scheduled to appear as well.
In addition to the music, Living Room Live’s final showcase encapsulates the whimsical and fun-loving spirit of the Rivertown Revival festival with non-musical interludes such as “Our Town is Magical” with Gio Bennedetti, a show-within-a-show journey through the weird and magical happenings in the Bay Area. The variety show also invites Bonnie Cromwell of the educational outreach program ‘Classroom Safari’ to share her lemurs, sloths and bobcats, and will feature additional visual arts and family-friendly fun.
Windmiller hopes folks will continue to hit the donate button on the live stream this weekend to support the Friends of the Petaluma River.
“Stuff like Rivertown, it’s these crossroads, these meeting points, where you get to encounter your own community, and we still want to be that,” Windmiller says. “I’m really happy, and Rivertown is really happy, to provide another place where people and the artists can meet and build something stronger. That’s what the event has always been, so this is the same thing. A different time, different conditions, but the same thing.”