Music News & Reviews

New folk music festival coming to the Central Coast

Moonsville Collective will perform May 6 at the Red Barn in Los Osos as part of the Central Coast Folk Festival.
Moonsville Collective will perform May 6 at the Red Barn in Los Osos as part of the Central Coast Folk Festival.

There’s a new festival for folks who love folk music.

On May 6, the inaugural Central Coast Folk Festival will bring together 10 bands from a variety of genres — including Americana, country and Cajun — at the Red Barn in Los Osos.

“If you want a crash course in folk music, come to this,” said festival organizer Jonas Richardson, who runs the monthly Red Barn Community Music Series.

Typically held the first Saturday of every month at the rustic Red Barn in Los Osos Community Park, the concert series celebrates all forms of traditional music, such as blues, bluegrass, Celtic music and gypsy jazz.

Richardson, who’s been hosting Red Barn concerts since 2006, has long envisioned a festival where folk musicians from across California can jam. At first, he planned a jug band festival but later expanded his scope to include other genres.

“It’s more about fun than anything else,” Richardson said.

Headliners for the first Central Coast Folk Festival include Los Osos singer-songwriter Amber Cross, Los Angeles band Moonsville Collective, San Diego’s G Burns Jug Band and Willy Tea Taylor, a folk troubadour from Oakdale. (The members of Moonsville Collective include Richardson’s older brother, slide guitarist Dan Richardson, and nephew, upright bass player Seth Richardson; the latter helped organize the festival.)

Also performing are bluesy folk duo Mapache, Echo Mountain String Band, High Life Cajun Band, Victoria Bailey and Peter Beck. Jonas Richardson’s own Yo Pitzy Jug Band rounds out the lineup.

Many of the acts scheduled to play are Red Barn regulars, Richardson said.

“I’ve never had nothing but fun with these bands. They’re all super people,” enthused the concert organizer, who will be housing a few of them at his Los Osos home. (Morro Bay folk band The Turkey Buzzards will join Cross, Moonsville Collective and other festival performers for a pre-festival jam, 7 to 10 p.m. May 5 at Libertine Pub in Morro Bay; admission is $10 at the door, or free with a Central Coast Folk Festival ticket.)

Richardson noted that several of the performers are in their 20s and 30s, which is notable because traditional music tends to skew older.

“It’s nice to see the younger kids coming to play this kind of stuff,” he said. “For folk music, this is a big deal.”

In addition to ’round-the-clock concerts inside and outside, the nearly seven-hour festival will feature jam sessions and workshops on instruments including banjo, fiddle, guitar and mandolin. Richardson will even show eventgoers how to make an old-fashioned washtub bass.

In place of the traditional Red Barn potluck, there will be food trucks on-site.

Although a typical Red Barn concert draws about 100 people, Richardson expects 200 to 400 people to attend the festival.

“It’s going to be awesome,” he said.

Central Coast Folk Festival

1:30 to 8 p.m. May 6

Red Barn, Los Osos Community Park, 2180 Palisades Ave., Los Osos

$35, $40 at the door

805-215-3238 or