Tastemakers Rock Festival to Benefit Local Youth Music

Music fans can expect a heavier rock-n-roll groove at the second annual Tastemaker Festival on Saturday, October 17 says Aaron Gomes, head of the Sound N Vision Foundation, the organization behind the event.

“We built a show that was more of a vibe,” Gomes said of the event at Visalia Rawhide Stadium. “There’s a connective fiber through it. It’s guitar driven. This is a very fluid lineup. These bands fit together well.”

The day of music, food, beer and wine will feature seven bands, all of which are Valley locals, with the exception of headliner Wand, an up-and-coming Los Angeles-based garage psych quartet that right now is in the middle of a two-month European tour. Visalia will be its first performance back in the States.

“There’s a real surge in music in the Valley right now. It’s great to be featuring them,” Gomes said. “Wand is doing incredible things in the live setting. It’s very up tempo. It’s just good-time music for outdoors, very kinetic.”

Good Time for a Good Cause

Tastemakers is not just a chance to drink, eat and be merry. All proceeds from the event will go toward funding year-round free music classes at the Tulare and Visalia Boys and Girls Clubs.

“We’ve been doing the summer classes for six years now with the Boys and Girls club of Visalia,” said Gomes. “At the end of the summer, you get kinda bummed out. You think, ‘I can’t wait until we find the right group of people and do it all year.’ We’ve found those people.”

The foundation is banking on this fundraising festival doing the job. The year-round classes will start in October, and Gomes says the group hopes to add the Fresno area in the near future.

“We can sustain this if the numbers work out right,” he said. “I don’t think there’s ever been anything like this in Visalia. You have to be a bit more affluent usually to get that (music lessons). Now that they (the public) know that’s where the money is going, they’re really getting behind the festival. I want everybody to see what the whole picture is about.”

Buying Tickets

Tickets for the event start at $5, and are available online at tastemakersfestival.com or at Velouria Records, 109 E. Main St. in Visalia. VIP tickets that include access to a shaded lounge area, free appetizers and shorter drink lines are also available. A package of six VIP tickets, plus a T-shirt and poster are $250. Other ticket packages are available.

Local Music, Local Flavor

Food for the festival is being provided by a trio of local eateries, Pita Kabob, the Planning Mill Artisan Pizza and Quesadilla Gorilla. The Cellar Door is donating wine for the event, and Tioga Sequoia Brewery will present a selection of its more popular beers, along with surprise offerings available only at the festival. Other event sponsors include the Visalia Rawhide, Tulare County Federal Credit Union and 4 Creeks Creative.

The six local acts performing include Visalia’s Slow Season (classic rock/psychedelia), Evelyn (‘90s indie) and The Gospel Whiskey Runners (“They’re more like Americana folk. Being local and great people, we want them in the mix,” Gomes said). Fresno-based acts include Dirty Limbs (garage punk) and Light Thieves (experimental art rock).

“Everybody’s local,” said Gomes. “The reason Wand’s on is because we didn’t want to put heat on a local as the headliner.”

Personal Milestone

For Gomes, who is turning 40 this year, the Tastemakers Festival marks an important time in his personal and professional life.

“I really want to take this to the next generation level,” he said. “I’m stoked because some of my kids, as a teacher, are going to be taking drum lessons. For the first time, they’re going to cross over in a cool way.”

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