Third annual Ramona Music Fest delivers

By A.J. Bess

   Imagine yourself relaxing on the beach of some secluded island, or on the roof of your house watching the sun fade slowly behind the mountains. Remember the first time you heard that song? You know the one, the song that reminds you of the best time in your life, or watching your best friend get married.

   That’s what it was like in Dos Picos Park on Saturday. March 20.

   The annual Ramona Music Fest returned for the third time, and better than ever. The flawless weather set the stage for the best and brightest local musicians and singers Ramona has to offer. Thanks to the Ramona Rotary and Kiwanis clubs, as well as many otther local sponsors, this year’s festival brought to the table something for everyone.

   The beautiful spring day kicked off with a knockout performance by country artist Aja Alycean of Ramona and her band. The 14-year-old singer/songwriter was born in San Diego and has had tremendous local success. And with several summer festivals and a new album on the way, Aja shows no signs of slowing down.

   It was her first time performing at the Ramona Music Fest, and her dazzlingly pure voice, coupled with a talented band, made the performance one of the most memorable of the day.

   But the festival is not just for country music fans. “The Amalgamated,” a local ska/reggae band, didn’t disappoint with its eclectically up-tempo tunes that couldn’t help but put a smile on every face in the audience.

   The hits just kept coming with notable performances from Phillip Twitchell, Derrick Streibig, Ted Lennon, the Royal Alliance Jazz Band, even the Ramona Town Hall Brass Band.

   And of course a show stopping set from Ramona rockabilly quartet The Rumblers, who seemed to transport the audience to another time and place. The convergence of hard-hitting drum beats, howling vocals, wailing guitar and stand-up bass riffs, with a cool throwback style, created an unrivaled one-two punch. The Rumblers successfully achieved a new classic level without being cheesy, not an easy task.

Finally the magnetic harmonies of Cactus Twang & Whyte, led by Marc “Twang” Intravaia, “Cactus” Jim Soldi and Sharon Whyte seamlessly brought the afternoon to a close. Aside from the tremendous performances from all of the bands and artists, the afternoon was full of great food, prizes and a live auction to benefit Ramona scholarships and various community projects. A special thanks to the many hands that made the Ramona Music Fest possible.

   The festival truly reaffirmed the importance of the music and art that exists right here in Ramona.

   “This is where all great bands start, in a good community,” said Jon Hasz from Ramona Music Center.

   And Ramona has that, in spades.

   
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