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Music fests take center stage in June

June is busting out with music festivals.

The Morro Bay Music Festival will showcase local talent Saturday, June 7, starting at 11 a.m. at Tidelands Park. Chicago Mike Swanberg will kick off, followed by Lenny Blue Band, Lou Lou and the Cow Tippers, Back Bay Betty, Louie and the Lovers, and closing at 6 p.m. with Lou Mars. The event supports the Morro Bay Harbor Festival and will launch a 50-day fundraising campaign for Estero Bay Community Radio, 97.3 FM The Rock. Donations are $2 for adults; kids 12 and younger are free. (http://www.mbhf.com)

This year’s Live Oak Music Festival, a benefit for KCBX public radio at Cachuma Lake, suggests family camping Father’s Day weekend, June 13-15. With eclectic musicians from around the United States performing, several locals such as Panga, Zongo All Stars and The Monroe are featured. (http://www.liveoakfest.org)

Panga’s Nate Zak and Jacob Peter Woehrle became best friends in second grade at Monarch Grove Elementary in Los Osos. Zak claims Woehrle got him in trouble his first day at school. Woehrle claims he was trying to get to know the new kid. Graduates of Morro Bay High School, both agree the Woehrle household was a musical treasure trove. Mark Woehrle’s collection of musical instruments allowed the future musicians to experiment. Ultimately, the Los Osos home became their studio where they create original music and practice their “beachy acoustic rock” sound.

After graduating from Morro Bay High School, Zak attended Darren Clarke’s Modern Music Academy while Woehrle studied music theory and artist performance at Cuesta College. With approval from supportive parents, they decided to pursue careers together as entrepreneurial musicians. Zak writes the music and lyrics while Woehrle provides the backup sound, notably percussion. Their recent debut album, “Panga,” was produced by Clarke Lane Music of San Luis Obispo. 

“I was creative growing up,” Zak said. “I loved art, wrote poetry, and played the trumpet all through high school. Music makes me happy so I tried creating songs and writing

music.”

Their inspiration is the Central Coast lifestyle — nature, the beach, friendships.

“I was vacationing at the beach in Panama and saw the panga boats gently bobbing on the water. I knew it was the perfect name for our group,” Zak said.

Panga first played the International Festival at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Los Osos. They’ve played at Linnaea’s Cafe, Bliss Cafe, Luna Red and SLO Brewing Co. The Live Oak Music Festival is their biggest opportunity. Sam Boorman will join their ensemble from 8-10 p.m. Friday on Stage Too. They are planning a Pacific coastal tour from Los Osos to San Diego to promote their music. Their sound and original music videos can be found at http://www.pangamusic.com

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