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Every July, about 120 miles north east of the Bay Area, set in Calaveras County at Blue Mountain Event Center, is a gathering called Mountain Vibe Music Festival. For seven years this festival has been an escape for its 450 plus (and growing) festival-goers — and its eighth year was no exception. Event attendees enjoy three days of camping, music, and river relaxation that was born out of the founder Allen Drachman’s vision and gave birth to this, almost, indescribably moving experience.
While Blue Mountain Event Center is a treasure, boasting lush trees, an old farmhouse (early 1900), a beautiful meadow surrounding the main barn stage, and The Licking Fork of the Mokelumne River bordering the east side of the property, the true draw of this festival is the incredible local talent that graces its stage. Guided by his fantastic staff and partners, Drachman books the best of the best. Some highlights this year were the East Bay female-fronted powerhouse, Swoon, who delivered soul-shattering vocals that brought the crowd to tears. The four-piece alternative rock band Overland topped off Friday evening’s lineup with an incredibly dynamic set to a raucous crowd with glow sticks pounding the air. Mojo Green out of Reno, NV and Big Sticky Mess from Davis, CA both delivered funky sets on Saturday evening with incredibly talented musicians; the crowd went wild and danced until late in the evening.
The artist lineup is the heartbeat of this festival and there isn’t a band to miss on that stage.
As cheesy as it sounds, the event is all about the vibe. Mountain Vibe Music Festival is life-changing and has the power to fix your ills. The incredible people attending, the gorgeous location, interacting with your favorite bands, and being connected to the outdoors all combines to create a culture of love. MVMF is a grassroots effort and the heart and soul Drachman and his staff put into it is palpable. It seeps into every corner of the space. From the midnight jams around campsites and fire pits, to the vendors like Hippy Bob with his old pup Cletus, to the kids running around the mermaid lagoon, and the many beers shared with friends. It’s an event that I couldn’t possibly gush about enough or recommend any higher.
Vibe on and we’ll see you all again next year!
photos by Rosalyn Lee