When Ron Rios set out to create a musical event for The Silicon Valley, diversity and inclusiveness were two of the main goals sought after to develop stronger community. Communications Director and co-founder of the festival, Veronica Garcia worked long and hard hours to see this manifest in the streets of downtown San Jose. As the young festival has begun to pick up heavy momentum, the two goals of diversity and inclusiveness were met at many turns, along the way to Festival Day, Saint Patrick's Day, 2018 for The California Clover Music Festival.
The festival's lineup grew significantly in one year to include eighteen acts. Although last year's lineup had a multi-Grammy winner in George Pajon of Cairo Knife Fight, this year's lineup was more heavily represented in sheer numbers. Bands and acts appearing ranged from the co-headliners NKRIOT, and Chicago, The Tribute, to the funky groove of The L.A. Project. Original acts included Esha K, who has just released new music, The South County Band, The Open Road, War of Icaza, Ivan LeDarth, Jahny Wallz, Byrds of A Feather, and Lee Tafari. The excellent cover bands appearing were No Vendetta, LenCat, Vista Point, The Rose Peddlers, and solo artists were: Catherine John (various traditional stringed instruments), and David E. Rios (trumpet).
The food can be summed up in one word: delicious! Whether it was the great divers menu at Gordon Biersch, the Mexican food from Chacho's, or the many vendors at The San Pedro Square Market, all types of food and drink were available. From the looks of the crowd, not a soul went without on that day. The spirits were flowing and the food moving out of all those kitchens and onto tables all day and night. With such a large selection to choose from, it may have been difficult to choose which incredible culinary choice to pick.
Speaking of choices to pick, there was not another crowd anywhere that the festival would choose over all the great people that showed up to the SPSM and SFS Zones. The diversity found in the crowd was mirrored in the choice of venues by this year's staff. All involved in the organization had a good, long day. At the end of the day, there were so many smiles to go around, that everyone was in tune with the good time unfolding. The people ate, danced, enjoyed drinks and mingled. It was a great sight to see.
Highlights of the party were found throughout the downtown area, and under the roofs of several venues. The Deluxe on San Fernando Street was moving all day long, with their specialty cocktails in the room that looks like it was built in New York. The dancing was almost nonstop from noon to 9:30 PM, when NKRIOT, from Boyle Heights in Southern California finished their set. Visitors from as far as Fresno enjoyed the set and were treated to a live filming of an interview with the artist. Next door, Los San Patricio’s Cantina hosted solo acts that kept Festival Headquarters in the groove all day long. On the same street, reggae was heard emanating from the stylish Gordon Biersch Restaurant. Sasha Debriere and all the wonderful staff there accommodated the strongest grooves, sounding like they were fresh from Jamaica. Finally, at The San Pedro Square Garage Bar, the staff served up libations for the more than enthusiastic festivalgoers. This went on all day, from the first set by original artist Esha K., and on throughout all of Saint Patrick's Day.
Along the way to completing another big, green party in downtown San Jose, much input was received. One of the recurring themes mentioned was inclusiveness. From the surface, a Saint Patrick's Day event hosted in a a West Coast City, in the center of a Spanish surnamed region, hosted by a multi-culturally diverse group seemed off-base to some. However, with every passing smile, song, dance, and conversation, the spirit of inclusiveness won out over exclusivity. Individuals from locally represented cultures mixed with others from foreign countries, who happened upon the festival while on break from nearby conferences. The reach of the good will emanating from the festival's two zones provided a warm welcome. The welcome was solid and inviting and created a sense of community that lasted all through the day and night.
As the California Clover Music Festival's staff closed down the evening with the final band, The L.A. Project, everyone in attendance moved to the rhythm of the music, and the friendly community shared on this good day. People are already asking about #calicloverfestSJ 2019, and with good reason; it's the best green party in San Jose!
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