Arts & Culture

6 SLO County festivals to spice up your summer

Tim McGraw performs at the 2009 California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles.
Photo by Nick Lucero  07-26-09
Tim McGraw performs at the 2009 California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles. Photo by Nick Lucero 07-26-09

As the mercury rises and summer kicks into high gear, the Central Coast entertainment scene heats up.

July offers a full slate of local events catered toward families, music fans, beer lovers, theater buffs and more.

Here's a partial sampling of fun fairs and festivals in store this month.

California Mid-State Fair

Forget cotton candy and carnival rides. The real reason families flock to the California Mid-State Fair year after year is arena concerts by big-name acts.

This summer’s star-packed entertainment lineup includes rapper Pitbull; pop star Meghan Trainor; rock bands Alice Cooper, Def Leppard and Motley Crue; and country acts Jason Aldean, Alan Jackson, Brantley Gilbert and Keith Urban. Classic rock band Boston will headline the popular Evening of Music & Wine concert, and bluesman Robert Cray and rock legend Stephen Stills will play the new Evening of Brews & Blues concert.

When: Various times, July 22 through Aug. 2

Where: Paso Robles Event Center, 2198 Riverside Ave., Paso Robles

How much: $17 to $131, plus fair admission

Info: (800) 909-FAIR (3247) or

Central Coast Pride

Celebrate diversity at Central Coast Pride, sponsored by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance of the Central Coast. The festivities continue Friday, July 3, with the opening of “Color Our World With Pride” art exhibition during Art After Dark at GALA headquarters in downtown San Luis Obispo, followed by Saturday’s Pride Beach & BBQ event in Pismo Beach.

Also in store are a July 10 drag show at SLO Brewing Co. in San Luis Obispo and a July 11 comedy show at the Fremont Theatre in San Luis Obispo. On July 12, Belinda Carlisle of The Go-Gos will headline Pride in the Plaza in Mission Plaza in downtown San Luis Obispo.

When: Various times, July 3 through July 12

Where: Various locations

How much: $20 drag show; $25 to $50 comedy show, $10 dance party. All other events free.

Info: 541-4254 or

Central Coast Renaissance Festival

Journey back in time to 1585, when England’s Queen Elizabeth I and her court reigned supreme.

Now in its 31st year, the Central Coast Renaissance Festival recreates a 16th century English village with more than 500 participants in period costumes wandering the six-acre complex. (Should you desire a leather doublet or a pewter tankard of your own, there are more than 60 vendors on hand.)

The family-friendly entertainment includes twice-daily jousting matches, comedy, dancing, music, marionettes and a magic show.

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 18, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 19

Where: Laguna Lark Park, 504 Madonna Road, San Luis Obispo

How much: $18, $12 seniors and children ages 6 to 15, ages 5 and under free

Info: 550-9177 or

Central Coast Shakespeare Festival

San Luis Obispo County’s only outdoor theater festival returns to Filipponi Ranch in San Luis Obispo for a second year of laughter, tears and romance.

This year, the festival presents two of William Shakespeare’s lesser-known plays: "The Winter's Tale" and "The Two Gentlemen of Verona." The former transcends time and space to touch on themes of jealousy, love, faith and forgiveness, while the latter, which is considered the Bard’s earliest comedy, deals with friendship, infidelity and the difficulties of falling for your best pal’s main squeeze.

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 6 p.m. Sundays; July 16 through Aug. 8

Where: Filipponi Ranch, 1850 Calle Joaquin, San Luis Obispo

How much: $20, $18 seniors and students, $12 ages 12 and under

Info: 546-4224 or

Festival Mozaic

The county's premiere chamber and classical music festival celebrates its 45th anniversary this summer with a full slate of concerts, notable encounter talks and soirees — all inspired by the legacy of baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach.

Music Director Scott Yoo and the Festival Orchestra will join the Bach Collegium San Diego to perform Bach’s Mass in B minor on July 24 at Mission San Miguel and July 25 at Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa.

Other highlights include a pair of July 19 concerts by Celtic group Colcannon at See Canyon Fruit Ranch in Avila Beach, the “Baroque in the Vines” concert at Chapel HIll in Shandon and the “Classical Musicians Doing Un-Classical Things” concert on July 23 at Cuesta College’s Cultural and Performing Arts Center.

When: Various times, July 16 through 26

Where: Various locations, San Luis Obispo County

How much: $35 to $175, $10 to $25 children

Info: 781-3009 or

Seven Sisters Craft Beer and Music Fest

If you love craft brews, live music and camping under the stars, this is the fun-packed festival for you.

San Luis Obispo’s Tap It Brewing Co. leads a list of more than 40 breweries and wineries pouring at the event. Sip your new finds and savor food from local vendors while grooving to an eclectic entertainment lineup that includes New Orleans rock combo Cowboy Mouth, Gulf Coast soul band The Suffers and California-centric jam rockers Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers.

If you need a break, the festival offers music workshops and outdoor activities such as guided hikes, stargazing and yoga.

When: 3:30 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. July 10, 11 a.m. to 10:15 p.m. July 11, 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. July 12

Where: El Chorro Regional Park and Campground, Highway 1, north of San Luis Obispo

How much: $80 to $115 festival passes, $28 to $65 daily passes. Proceeds benefit local nonprofit organizations Infinite Music Foundation and Woods Humane Society.

Info: (888) 825-5484 or