Photo and Article By L. Paul Mann
Cat Power and Scottish Indie rockers Teenage Fan Club have been added to the line-up of the Starry Nites festival. The event is set to take place March 18 and 19 at the beautiful Live Oak campgrounds in the majestic Santa Ynez mountain range, just above Santa Barbara. The inaugural festival is being organized by the same promoters who have produced one of the most highly regarded community festivals in California, the Desert Stars Festival, since 2007. Unlike the massive corporate festivals that have taken over the music world, the concept of the community festival is a more toned down approach focusing on a more pleasurable and intimate festival experience. Instead of massive headline acts and huge crowds of people, the community festival concentrates on a lineup of talented acts that may not usually play on the same stage. If there is a theme at the Starry Sites festival, it seems to be a gravitation towards psychedelic rock and jam music.
Longtime Santa Barbara resident Alan Parsons will be headlining with his latest incantation of the Alan Parsons Project. Parsons has rarely played live shows in the new millennium, most of which have been special benefit concerts. But recently he has launched a world tour with precious few dates for his lucky fans to choose. Parsons is a living legend in the music world. At the age of 19, he found himself working as an assistant engineer at Abbey Road studios on the final two Beatles Albums. But it was his musical engineer work on the seminal Pink Floyd album, “The Dark Side of The Moon” that put him on the map in the music world.
In 1975 he met Eric Woolfson and the two joined forces to form the Alan Parsons Project, a very progressive rock band for their time. According to Parson’s website; “The APP’s debut album, Tales Of Mystery And Imagination based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe paved the way for a signing to Clive Davis’ newly launched Arista label and a string of hit albums, namely I Robot (1977), Pyramid (1978), The Turn of a Friendly Card (1980), Eye in the Sky (1982), Ammonia Avenue (1984), Vulture Culture(1985), Stereotomy (1986) and Gaudi (1987).” The band has sold over 30 million records across the world.
Parsons will be joined by another legendary Psychedelic rock band, Strawberry Alarm Clock, who are celebrating their 50th Anniversary tour. The Los Angeles band had one of the biggest hits of the era, Incense, and Peppermint, and charted five hit songs.
Other headliners at the festival represent different generations but share some of the same experimental traits in their musical approach. The Kills are an indie rock band formed by American singer Alison Mosshart and British guitarist Jamie Hince, with punk roots. The duo has been a festival staple in the new millennium and is well known for their explosive live shows.
The festival also features the 90’s version of neo-psychedelia with the Portland band The Dandy Warhols and the post-Goth sounds of California band, She Wants Revenge. The festival will employ musicians from the newest generations of neo-psychedelia as well, with and EDM stage and bands like Black Mountain. This Vancouver-based band has been producing their unique sound since 2004. Imagine a band that sounds like a cross between My Morning Jacket and Black Sabbath. A complete list of the bands announced in the first round can be found at the festival website.
The Starry Nites is the first large-scale multi-day music festival in Santa Barbara since the ill-fated West Beach Festival ended its run in 2010. The festival will feature four stages, more than 35 bands, DJ’s, immersive visuals, and camping on site. Ticket prices for the two-day festival start at about the same price for a good seat at most any major concert in Santa Barbara. There are even a few special discount packages available as part of the Jumpstart program for early birds, which can also be found at the festival website: www.starrynitesfestival.com