Summer Festivals

Summer Festivals

There’s something glorious about a festival. People from all walks of life gather together to honor traditions, or celebrate regional flavors and products, or just to revel in the sheer, sometimes quirky, joy of their passions. Festivals are part of human civilization the world over and, since time immemorial, they have taken us out of the mundane and given us the spectacle, color, music, and variety we crave in life. We mingle and eat and browse and eat and marvel and eat and eat and eat! In our bounteous region, local foods and specialties are some of the things we celebrate most, but summer festival season is also the best time of the year to soak up the rich diversity of activities and culture the area has to offer.

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The Ojai Music Scene

The Ojai Music Scene

Heading north on Highway 101 in Ventura, you will notice a road sign inviting you to join Highway 33 toward Ojai. Ojai is 13 miles east of Ventura and nestled under the mystical Topa Topa Mountains. Take that road and you’ll find yourself in quintessential small-town America. Tucked neatly inside the mountain range on what is historically Chumash territory, Ojai is a well-known artistic community. It is famed for the “Ojai Vortex” — a vortex where, apparently, all of your previous life experiences drain away and you discover the inner beauty of all things living and past. Yeah, that’s what I thought, too. Then I went there and discovered, much to my horror, that the Ojai Vortex exists.

That vortex most certainly exists in this tiny town’s musical offerings. Ojai has been (and is) home to so many famous actors, directors, and musicians that it makes the head spin.

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Get your live music fix in Santa Barbara

Get your live music fix in Santa Barbara

John Denver only got it half right in 1971 when he said country roads take you home. Those very same blue highways can also unwittingly take you on adventures of the musical kind.

Blue highways paint this country from top to bottom. But, in our non-stop, gotta-be-there-right-now, constant-engagement lives, somehow we have become disconnected from the journey itself. Yet, we know full well that the most important part of any journey IS the journey. Think Simon and Garfunkel’s classic America as a starting point. The line, “‘Cathy, I’m lost,’ I said, ‘though I knew she was sleeping’” has got nothing to do with being physically lost. It’s a state of mind: One that we should all look to embrace a bit more when we travel.

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