No Harmony fest this year
By JEREMY HAY
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Published: Thursday, March 29, 2012 at 12:32 p.m.
The Harmony Festival, a counterculture-rooted event that took over the Sonoma County Fairgrounds for three days every summer, will not take place in Santa Rosa this year, its organizers said Thursday on Facebook.
“It is with a deep sense of regret that we announce that after 33 years we will not be producing a Harmony Festival in Santa Rosa, CA in June 2012,” festival CEO Howard “Bo” Sapper said in the announcement, addressed to the “Harmony Festival family.”
“We are working on plans to reorganize the company and the possibility of creating Harmony Festivals in the future,” wrote
He did not explain in the announcement the reason for the decision.
The festival’s founder, Debra Giusti of Sebastopol, said that the company that put it on, Harmony Festival, Inc., had not ceased operations. She said the event would return.
“Its full intention is to,” Giusti said. “This is a 33-year tradition with many, many people involved, so it’s a matter of reorganizing it.”
At the same time, Sonoma County Fair Director Tawny Tesconi said a similar event is planned for the weekend the festival traditionally opened.
That event, on June 8, is to be presented by some people formerly associated with the Harmony Festival, Tesconi said.
“It’s a one day event, offering a lot of the vendor opportunities and entertainment,” she said. “More of the old Harmony days, not the more recent years; a lot of spiritual vendors and that kind of thing.”
The festival, originally named the Health & Harmony Music & Arts Festival, started in 1978. It billed itself as “California’s largest outdoor multicultural music celebration and arts and crafts faire with a health and environmental exposition.”
In the mid-2000’s, it changed its name to simply the Harmony Festival, defined itself as a celebration of “progressive culture” and began broadening its focus, adding skateboarding competitions and punk music and country concerts.
It drew crowds upwards of 30,000 but also spurred complaints that it had grown too expensive.
“I’ve been going since before my daughter was born and she’s turning 18 this year,” said Celeste Winders of Sonoma. “But the last several years we just have not been able to go to. We cannot afford the ticket prices.”
You can reach Staff Writer Jeremy Hay at 521-5212 or [email protected].