The 3rd annual Unity Festival in Guerneville took place on September 13-15, 2013. The event was far better than some expected. Why? For several reasons, the quality of many of the performing artists just doesn't shine on their sound and video recordings and live appearances create a different impression than that given by merely cruising their websites or facebook pages.
Live performances bring so much more to the picture with the energy, personality and style that can't be as easily read in some recordings. Newer bands also tend to lack professional development and marketing of their music and suffer from the inadequate media presentation of what they have to offer. The Unity Festival served a noteworthy purpose in their focus of bringing a full range of musicians to the stage. The well known headliners might attract more widespread attention but the smaller and not necessarily less talented bands bring in their loyal local supporters while simultaneously introducing themselves to new fans.
The Unity Festival is designed to feature music with a positive foundation and much of this comes from the Reggae genre whether Roots or Rock or infused with other complimentary elements from the music world. Some of the names alone can give a festival patron an idea of what to expect in the atmosphere. Highest Intention, Irie Love (that's actually her real given first and middle name), Natural Heights, Cali Conscious, Clear Conscience, IrieFuse, and Ambition Clique all brought their inspiring vibes and skills to the three day event.
Irie means, in part, state of joy, positive vibrations, good feeling, and pleasing. The Unity Festival worked throughout the event and for many long hours in preparation to organize an outdoor concert dedicated to these ideals. Their key motivator was promoting unity, friendship, good music, and also raising funds for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. They were successful in these endeavors and hope to continue to grow each year.
This third year in the annual event could have benefited from more attendees but organizers, artists and all involved have their eyes and hearts aimed forward to the event's expansion as word and attendance grows just like a tree takes time to spread its branches and bear ample fruit. Their Sacramento neighbor similar festival (One Love, One Heart) held their 5th annual event two weeks prior and found it to be their most successfully attended year to date. In other words, it takes time to develop a draw that will consistently fill the event. It takes time and hard work as well as offering the people what they want.
Festival attendees who populated the riverside venue clearly enjoyed the offerings. At times, the crowd was small as three-day stayers relaxed in their tents while the morning performance schedule commenced. Others trickled in and got comfortable on the lawns or chairs they brought in. Friday was surprisingly a well attended day although not a holiday and more difficult for many to arrive with that typical 9 to 5 bread earner making its demands. Sunday crowds were slow and, according to some, was in part due to the late night partying the night before. This did not, however, stop the stars from shining and imparting their musical glory upon appreciative ears. By the night's end, the venue gathered in dancing and arm waving crowds who were "Irie" inspired to the final moment as Irie Love then Marlon Asher brought the Unity Festival to a close.
If you enjoy a variety of Reggae and other music of positive intent with friendly people, good vendors, and beautiful grounds, the Unity Festival in Guerneville can be highly recommended as an addition to your must-do music events.