This weekend Mill Valley hosts the second annual Mill Valley Music Festival, a two-day festival featuring an eclectic mix of bands from the region and beyond.
Sprawled across Friend’s Field, crowds will enjoy two stages, local food and crafts vendors. The whole shindig is the brainchild of the Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber’s executive director, Jim Welte, spoke to the Pacific Sun about the event.
“I’m a music junkie. A couple of our board of directors’ members are also very much into music,” Welte said. “Arts and culture have always been a huge part of Mill Valley as a community, so we started talking about an outdoor event that was new and different. In all candor, we had no idea what we were doing. We were very much building the plane while flying it, but it all worked, we landed the plane.”
Year One’s single-day event proved the concept.
“It was a really big success and we came out of it thinking, ‘You spend an insane amount of money on infrastructure with an event like this. Maybe just leave it up for two days and save a little bit of money in the future,’” Welte said. “I don’t know that that math pencils out in the end, [but] we’re excited to have 10 bands over two days.”
The festival will be chock full of local vendors offering food, wine, crafts and other wares. Get a Cuban at Hopmonk Tavern or a shawarma from Zalta for lunch. For dessert, how about both a frozen banana from Mariapilar Ice Creamery and a Johnny doughnut. Why not? It’s a festival.
More than a dozen new vendors are joining the festival including a diversity-centric marketplace for Bay Area creators of all types called Spread Love Bay Area and the female-owned boutique Swaay Apparel selling vibrant prints and ethically made clothing.
“Vitality is the driving force of everything that [the Chamber] is about,” Welte said. “And this event in particular is a physical manifestation of that, meaning we’re all going to stand on the lawn from noon to seven, dance and have a great old time.”
Which brings us back to the tunes. “Music with soul was a big part of what we were going for,” Welte said with a hint of pride. “We [held to] the idea of curating bands that would open the minds of people who live in a very, you know, white, affluent town … and expose them to things that are maybe [a little] different. We’re very much [about] educating as well as entertaining our community.”
Of particular interest to many will be the famous purveyors of “High Impact Easy Listening,” Sunday’s headliners Cake, out of Sacramento.
Asked about the occasion, the band’s iconic trumpet player, Vince DiFiore, said, “Our band was born from a similar town of creative musicians incubating ideas in a small scene. The idea of playing a festival such as this was far from our minds when we first started. The quality of music was inherent in [lead singer] John [McCrea]’s songs, and the band that came together to play them was a consequence of an overall welcoming music scene in Sacramento.”
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to play along with the other excellent bands at this year’s Mill Valley Festival,” DiFiore said.
The Mill Valley Music Festival commences on Saturday and Sunday, May 13 and 14 at Friend’s Field at the Mill Valley Community Center, 180 Camino Alto, Mill Valley. Single-day tickets start at $139. Two-day General Admission tickets start at $259, with VIP tickets and parking passes also available. For more information, visit the festival’s website at MillValleyMusicFest.com or follow along on Facebook and Instagram at @millvalleymusicfest.