The night before the Christmas Valley Music Festival takes over the stage at RE Flowerree Memorial Park on Aug. 13, musicians, sponsors and supporters will gather at Rocker D Ranch, the home of co-founder Earl Diment. They will visit, drink and dine like good old friends often do, and before the night is over, music will be played as everyone prepares for the next day's event, which is much more than a festival. It is a mission to care for the local community's most vulnerable members: its children.
The Christmas Valley Music festival evolved from a concept Diment and co-founder Brad Rehm had for a musicians' retreat. Diment says, "The first year we had no infrastructure. People just showed up and we played music on the front porch and passed the whiskey bottle around." Then, John Flowerree, who owned the local amphitheater, told Diment about his desire to have music played on his stage. Diment thought, "Shoot, why don't we just do a little festival?"
With the festival being held in the community, Diment and Rehm decided they should try to pump some money into the local economy. They called on local businesses to supply beer and food, and they came across a program called High Desert Brain Food that caught their attention and became their purpose.
With Christmas Valley schools open just four days a week, the Brain Food program provides food to students who may not eat from the time the school doors close on Thursday to when they open again on Monday. "All of the money we get at the door and any money we raise goes to giving those kids as much as we can," says Diment.
Fundraising efforts for the festival take place throughout the year in the form of a silent auction. The Festival is also supported by a standing grant from John Flowerree's Christmas Valley Foundation, as well as a grant from the Lake County Coalition for the Arts.
Last year Diment and Rehm turned the festival into a 501c3 nonprofit organization. They also started to raise funds for a small scholarship. Now, Diment says, "When we have a graduating senior from the school out here who decides they want to take a music major or minor, we'll be able to give them a little bit of money."
This year the Christmas Valley Music Festival will feature eight bands including Diment's band Loose Change, DC Malone & The Jones, Ma Fondue, ¡Chiringa!, Saint Jack's Parade, Dakota Bob & Friends, Michael Manning, and The Weasels. Local food vendors will provide burgers and pizza, Pour House will host a beer garden, 10 Barrel Brewing will donate beer.
Diment says, "Last year, off the music festival alone, we fed kids for about two and a half months. This year we are hoping to do much better." The Christmas Valley Music festival offers musicians and music lovers alike the opportunity to enjoy great tunes and, more importantly, prove that music does really make a difference.
4th Annual Christmas Valley Music Festival
Saturday, Aug. 13, noon-10pm
$5-$10 donation requested
RE Flowerree Memorial Amphitheater, Christmas Valley Highway, Christmas Valley