TEMPLETON – The California certified organic winery and music hub of the area, Castoro Cellars, is on it’s fifth year of bringing back an all ages soulful event, something reminiscent of the groovy 60s. Castoro’s Udsen family doesn’t make a penny on the Whale Rock Festival. All profits benefit Templeton school music education. The Whale Rock Music Festival will be Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 16, beginning at noon each day. Tickets for the first day are almost sold out.
The festival (formerly known as Beaverstock) will have it’s usual mostly Central Coastal lineup of country western, folk, eclectic, soul, global and funk banks at the same time as gatherings and meetups for yoga classes, as well as art, food, and wine to discover. Aside from the new name, a little marketplace with local vendors will debut, and a trippy ‘Silent Disco’ experience, where headphone gear accompanies a dance party under a tent of contrasting boogie moves.
Luke Udsen, Neils and Bimmer Udsen’s son, Castoro’s GM, and Whale Rock’s Talent Booker advises to buying tickets online in advance, which avoids a long walk to the car if the day sells out. Udsen wants Whale Rockers to partake in the healthy food, including some thoughtful and Earth conscious choices, and also to come to the Festival with an open mind.
“There’s a lot of music – all kind of genres from all over the country,” said Udsen, who’s most excited about hearing the Suffers and Motet play, but he wants people to trust that he’s chosen the lineup carefully, and all the music is going to be sweet. “I think people tend to gravitate toward the one thing they recognize and there’s just incredible music all day, both days, and the fun of the festival, really, is just going and discovering...so we’re kind of encouraging people to get a little out of their comfort zone.”
Even more ‘out there,’ Whale Rock will be hosting a ‘Silent Disco’ tent for those willing to try dancing in an entirely bizarre setting. Festival goers at Lightning in a Bottle or the High Sierra Music Festival might already be hip to this latest craze, but for the newbies, ‘Silent Disco’ consists of putting on a pair of headphones, choosing a genre (disco, country western, classic soul, for example) and getting down. Simultaneously, other dancers are listening to other stations.
“There will be this color on their headphones and the color indicates what you’re listening to, so you can see who else is listening to the same music as you, or different music, and everyone’s kind of dancing. So it turns into this mish mosh of motion because obviously the songs you are listening to aren’t the same,” Udsen said. Meanwhile, throughout and about the oak trees and vineyards, Udsen’s wife, Lauren, a certified Yogini and wellness event co-ordinator for Castoro, has gathered the lotus petals of the Central Coast for a stretch of six to seven yoga classes per day, including Trevor Deirtle’s AcroYoga 101 (as in lifting another person in the air with your ankles), Shawna Marie’s Shakti Flow (a feminine blend of dance, yoga, fitness and meditation), Liz Crosby’s “Surf the Breath” (rejuvenating sweet vinyasa flow paired with kundalini), and Bridget Salisbury’s “Kids Bliss Yoga” for all levels.
Also for children, the dedicated “Kit’s Corner” kids area will be holding a musical petting zoo, tie dye crafts, games and face paintings. Organizers warn, “Your kids might have more fun than you.”
This year Whale Rock worked with Michael Franti, who is headlining with Spearhead on Saturday at 8 p.m, to hold a $10 ‘Meet Up’ before the event. The yoga session with perks, which will be held before Saturday’s opening at 11 a.m., is a special benefit for Franti’s non-profit “Do it for the Love,” which raises money to grant wishes, like sending terminally ill music lovers to concerts. Udsen said the event, which Franti may very well participate in, has 60 participants already, and was highly requested by the public.
Another new twist to this year’s festival is a little mercantile with a handful of local vendors selling various crafts and goods.
“In the past we’ve only had artists on display,” said Udsen, who wanted to start small with the little booths selling jewelry, clothing, and artisan items such as leather moccasins.
For food the fair is highlighting local favorites such as Imlak’esh Organics, Fire & Wine Wood Fired Catering, Nimita’s Cuisine, Choco’s Mexican Grill, Lemoine Creperie, and The Pairing Knife. Udsen said the vegetarian options are all very good this year, and made a special request to all the vendors to make the veggie options exciting.
The drinks are also coming from SLO County. Beer will come from Firestone Walker, Toro Creek and Barrelhouse. Wines and spirits will of course be Castoro Cellars and Bethel Road Distillery, and other libations will come from Bristols Cider House, Tin City Cider Co., and Whale Bird Kombucha.
The Whale Rock Festival began as a 30-year-old anniversary party for Castoro Cellars in 2013. Back then, Neils and Bimmer Udsen, winemaker/owners of Castoro Cellars called the event ‘Beaverstock’ and it was such a far out blast, they kept it going as an ongoing annual festival.
The family contributed to MUST! Charities the first year, but in subsequent years, has contributed more than $50,000 to both the Templeton Education Foundation and the Templeton High School Band. This year the Udsens will donate to Templeton Unified School District (TIMBA) once again.
“We don’t profit on the event at all,” said Udsen. “We try to cover our festival cost and then give what we can to the non-profit from there.”
Luke Udsen said it’s “cool” working with family. “We kind of all have different areas that we focus on. Our little niches...My wife does all the art and yoga, vendor planning, and then I book the music and do all the marketing. And my brother (Max) does most of the festival build out stuff. He’s got a shop and he builds a lot of the signs and puts the shade structures up and all that stuff,” he said. Also key to the Whale Rock team are Kyle Wommack, Logistics and “Volunteer Whisperer” and Ali Bowman, the event coordinator who has been with the festival since the beginning.
The festival is located at Castoro Cellars in the Whale Rock Vineyard. 1315 N. Bethel Rd., Templeton, CA 93465. Kids 12 and under are free with a paid adult ticket. Bring a low back lawn chair. No outside food or beverages permitted. Sealed water bottles are fine. Tickets include parking. No pets.
You may contact Reporter Beth Giuffre at [email protected] for questions and/or feedback.
1:00 p.m Bear Market Riot: Power-folk Americana from the Central Coast duo. Bear Market Riot is two men playing seven instruments, blending folk and R&B into an infectious dance sound.
2:30 p.m. Hot Buttered Rum: The five-person band plays acoustic music rooted in West Coast bluegrass.
4:15 p.m. Las Cafeteras: A worldly mix of punk, hip-hop, cumbia and rock.
6:00 p.m. The Motet: Said Luke Udsen of the Denver funk band. “They’re just insane.”
8:00 p.m. Michael Franti & Spearhead: Headlining the festival is the spoken word musician, filmmaker and activist with his band. The music is a blend of hip-hop, funk, reggae, jazz, folk and rock including the popular hit, “Say Hey (I Love You).”
12:00 p.m. Hilary + Kate: Hilary Watson and Kate Feldtkeller combine their voices, guitar, and violin to make a folky, bluegrass sound.
2:00 p.m. The Cimo Brothers: The violin duo from San Luis Obispo is a made of two classically-trained string artists who mix in tango, folk, and jazz into their performances.
3:45 p.m. & 5:30 p.m. Próxima Parada: Soulful melodies and hard-hitting rhythms make up the acoustic dance party sound of these four musicians.
7:30 p.m. Hot Buttered Rum: The five-person band plays acoustic music rooted in West Coast bluegrass.
1:00 p.m. Shawn Clark Family Band: A collection of local musicians performing original country music songs as well as inspired cover songs.
2:30 p.m. The Coffis Brothers & the Mountain Men: A rootsy rock ‘n’ roll band from the Santa Cruz Mountains inspired by Tom Petty and Neil Young.
4:15 p.m. The Suffers: This nine-piece soul-revival group from Houston is one of the bands that Luke Udsen is “super-excited” about. They once performed on David Letterman.
6:00 p.m. Turkuaz: A nine-piece “Power funk” outfit from Brooklyn.
8:00 p.m. Jamestown Revival: Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance make up the headlining band, with Texas country music described as “back porch folk rock.”
12:00 p.m. Nicole Stromsoe: With local musicians Dorian Michael, Ken Hustad and Dean Giles, Nicole Stromsoe uses her rich voice to sing eclectic Americana songs, mixed in with some jazz and blues.
2:00 p.m. The Turkey Buzzards: This Americana folk band from the Central Coast will be playing their outlaw country music.
3:45 p.m. Dan Curcio: The San Luis Obispo singer-songwriter plays a soulful show with an eclectic folk rock sound.
5:30 p.m. The Coffis Brothers & the Mountain Men: A rootsy rock ‘n’ roll band from the Santa Cruz Mountains inspired by Tom Petty and Neil Young.
7:30 p.m. Samba Loca: An Afro-Brazilian drum line that marches around with intense musical energy.
$10 goes directly to Michael Franti's non-profit.
12:00 - 1:00 P.M./ TUNE UP AND TUNE IN/ KIM DODGE
1:00 - 2:00 P.M./ POWER FLOW/ LINDSEY WOODWARD
2:15 - 3:15 P.M./ FESTY FLOW/ KJ JONES
3:30 - 4:30 P.M./ PRE GROOVIN-MOOVIN/ MARIN HINSCHBERGER
4:45 - 5:45 P.M./ SOLAR DETOX FLOW/ LAUREN SHANNON
6:00 - 7:00 P.M./ SAMADHI VIBES/ JENNIFER LOVAS
12:00 - 1:00 P.M./ BHAKTI FLOW/ KHRISTINE JONES
1:00 - 2:00 P.M./ ACRO 101/ TREVOR DIETERLE
2:15 - 3:15 P.M./ FREEDOM FLOW/ LAUREN UDSEN
3:30 - 4:30 P.M./ KIDS BLISS YOGA/ BRIDGET SALISBURY
4:45 - 5:45 P.M./ SURF THE BREATH/ LIZ CROZBY
6:00 - 7:00 P.M./ SHAKTI FLOW/ SHAWNA MARIE
7:00 - 7:30 P.M./ SOUND BATH BLISS/ CHRISTIANNA REINSTEIN
What’s in a Name?
Why Beaverstock is now called Whale Rock Music Festival
“Last year, in the spring, we got a cease and desist order from Woodstock,” said Luke Udsen. His family had to change the name due to legal reasons. But the Udsen family and Castoro Cellars still hosts the festival with the same crew. “Since it’s a benefit for a non-profit, not geared as a money making endeavor for us, we didn’t really feel like it was worth trying to spend money fighting a cease and desist when we could just change the name and give that money to our non-profit. We opted to not even attempt to combat it. We just changed the name to the name of the vineyard that it’s in.”
Now that Beaverstock has become Whale Rock, do people still know it’s the same exact festival that’s been going on for five years?
“Apparently so,” said Udsen. “We’re selling a lot more tickets.”