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The Dirt

Davis Music Fest brings 42 bands to town

By: Kyle Monhollen, Executive Director Davis Music Fest & Davis Live Music Collective, for The Dirt

It’s June in Davis. Heat is starting to roll up the valley in lazy waves pushed back by the Ddelta Bbreeze. Late blossoming trees issue an invitation for patio dining and a cocktail or two, with friends of course, or maybe just the knowing company of the next table over enjoying the same beautiful night. It feels like summer, but it’s not official until music fills the air with our annual three- day celebration of live music and community, Davis Music Fest!

Presented once again by the all-volunteer Davis Live Music Collective with support from local venues, business partners, sponsors, performers, and you, DMF is back for a twelfth year. There’s no better way to kick off summer than a big party with friends new and old, plus 42 bands from near and far at the Ccity’s biggest weekend of live music.

Founded in 2011, Davis Music Fest puts artists, fans, and community first, bringing music lovers together to enjoy a wide range of musical styles as well as all the food, drink, and charm our one of a kind downtown has to offer. Since its origin, DMF has been a celebration of local, regional, and nationally touring artists,; a reason to gather as a community around music—; and importantly but sometimes forgotten—, a fundraiser for art and music education in and beyond Davis public schools.

The festival has more than doubled in size since its start, now spanning three- days and ten stages, showcasing artists from Seattle to San Diego, New Orleans to tThe Bay, and plenty of local favorites from literally right around the corner. Festival organizers, all dedicated local music lovers, volunteer their time year-round to build and promote the event as a widely accessible weekend of musical revelry and discovery, bringing back favorite performers and introducing new artists to returning or curious new guests.

This year we’re excited to welcome back seasoned DMF veterans and local scene favorites like Dog Party, Ten Foot Tiger, Big Sticky Mess, Misner & Smith, Sol Peligro, and last year’s breakout garage-glam rockers The Snares. It wouldn’t be Fest without a few surprises even from our trusted alums, so look for special crowd participation sets and plenty of dancing with cosmic samba legends Boca do Rio, a roaming 2nd Line parade with Element Brass Band, enigmatic Sacramento indie-pop auteur Anton Barbeau performing not once but twice on Saturday, and a special Pence Gallery Courtyard performance by the newly crowned king of the NPR Tiny Desk, Sacramento’s own The Philharmonik who is making his fourth visit to Davis Music Fest.

As an organizer, I take great pleasure in introducing our crowd to new-to-Davis artists like Orchestra Gold who play an infectious blend of polyrhythmic soul and psychedelic rock from Mali, Africa by way of Oakland, CA. There’s also new-to-us Tiny Desk on the Road Tour artist Combo Tezeta who play their own brand of Bay Area instrumental cumbia, Reckling and Skating Polly who are bringing high energy punk harmonies from LA, rising Sacramento MC Jarkhari Smith, Bon Bon Vivant and their impossible to classify bayou dance party, Alex Togashii and YEKENO from the indie sensation No Vacation making their full band solo debuts with us at DMF, and many more. Fans should also be on the lookout for plenty of new artists with local connections like Sour Widows, Rainbow City Park, DMF Youth Band Competition winners Interoception featuring graduating Davis High Senior Uma Armien, plus an all-day artist in residency with Sacramento jazz/soul/hip-hop virtuosos LabRats who will host a curated lineup regional MCs.

Every year we try to bring something new to the table without skimping on what guests enjoyed last year. To that end we’re hosting music on a new stage at Davis Wine Bar on Saturday and partnering with our friends Davis Rave Co. to throw a first ever official DMF after-party. (yYou’ll need a separate ticket and your dancing shoes for that one, but a discount is available for fans of DMF, check the website and socials for details @davismusicfest.). We are welcoming back an expanded stage area at Sudwerk on Friday, KDRT 95.7FM Listening Lyrics Live will be recording artists in performance and conversation on the Armadillo Music stage Saturday, and guests can bathe in an immersive psychedelic light show while they rock out at the Odd Fellows stage courtesy of Mad Alchemy Liquid Lights, also on Saturday.

Fest launches with what can only be called the Ccity’s biggest block party Friday, June 14 at Sudwerk Brewing Co. 4p—-10 pm, with two stages, a not-to-be-missed lineup, award winning beer, and food selections from the Sudwerk kitchen and Chando’s Tacos food truck. The party continues Saturday, June 15, 2p—:00 – 11:30p pm on six stages in familiar spots throughout downtown Davis including Armadillo Music, Davis Wine Bar, the Pence Gallery Courtyard, Odd Fellows Hall, Sophia’s Thai Kitchen, and Delta of Venus Cafe. As has become our custom, we’ve saved some of the best for last with a Father’s Day full of music, food, and fun on two stages at Delta of Venus Sunday, June 16, 12p— – 6pm. Like they say, never miss a Sunday show.

The whole thing is made possible by the generous support of sponsors including Fairfield Subaru, Armadillo Music, Berryessa Brewing Co., Davis Downtown, Davis Rave Co., Sol at West Village, and Sudwerk Brewing Co., as well as financial and volunteer support of the Davis Live Music Collective. DMF is funded in part by Arts and Culture Grants from the Sacramento Foundation and the City of Davis. Additional support comes from 420 F Street Dispensary, Davis Odd Fellows Lodge, Dunloe Brewing, Ink Monkey Graphics, KDRT 95.7FM, Running Rivers Wine Cellar, Super Owl Brewing, Tres Equity Inc., Carbahal & Company, Lori Prizmich RE-MAX Gold, PDQ Parcel Dispatch, and producing donors David & Kirsten Feldman, Stacie & Lucas Frerichs, and Shelly Gilbride & Sangho Byun… and everyone who buys a ticket for the fun!


VFor tickets, and information please visit for tickets and even more info.

F and follow CMFthe event on social media @davismusicfest.

 If you would like to contact festival organizers about volunteer opportunities or with general questions, please contact


  • DMF started in 2011 and is a fundraiser for arts and music education in Davis public schools.
  • This year’s Fest features 42 bands across a wide range of genres performing on 10 stages over 3 days.
  • Digital or physical tickets must be exchanged for an event wristband before entering any venue.
  • Digital or physical tickets may be exchanged for an event wristband at Sudwerk on Friday, Delta of Venus Cafe or Odd Fellows Hall on Saturday, or Delta of Venus Cafe on Sunday.
  • Wristbands provide entry to all venues all weekend. All guests must present a wristband for entry to any DMF venue.
  • Children 12 and under do not require a ticket.
  • Advanced tickets are $40 + fees online and at Armadillo Music.
  • Ticket prices will increase to $50 starting Friday, June 14.
  • A limited number of $40 single day passes will be available for purchase on site, Friday and Sunday only.
  • Full weekend passes are required for all venues Saturday.
  • No single venue entry tickets will be sold Saturday, June 15.
  • DMF merch will be available at Sudwerk and Delta of Venus.
  • Artist merch, when available, will be at that band’s stage.
  • Parking is limited. Consider biking or walking.
  • On Friday you can park on 2nd Street or the DMV.
  • No outside alcohol is permitted at any venue.
  • DMF is run entirely by volunteers, be patient and say thanks!
  • All performers and audio / lighting technicians are paid professionals. This is how they make a living and we are proud to support them.
  • Follow the event on social media @davismusicfest.
  • Contact with questions.
  • Davis Music Fest is funded in part by Arts and Culture Grants from the Sacramento Foundation and the City of Davis.

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