Among the many star-studded fests around the Bay Area this summer, one winery in Sonoma Valley is prepping for a weekend of musical up-and-comers and relevant taste-makers at the fifth annual Huichica Music Festival at Gundlach Bundschu Winery on June 13–14.
Gundlach Bundschu sits on the site of the historic Rancho Huichica (pronounced “we-chica”), named by Mexican general Mariano Vallejo. After 150 years of producing distinctive wines, Gun Bun recently became a destination for great music, hosting unique acts in their outdoor amphitheater.
One such act was the band Fruit Bats. In 2009, bandleader Eric D. Johnson approached Gun Bun owner Jeff Bundschu about starting up an annual festival. That idea snowballed into one of the most dynamic musical events of the summer, and this year boasts a lineup of exciting, eclectic acts and vendors that includes a cornucopia of North West talent and taste.
“I wanted to create an experience that would be as fun for the musicians as it is for the fans, and where the barriers between the two weren’t so big, literally and metaphorically, ” says Johnson. “I like to think of [Huichica] as less a music festival than a party for everyone there.”
Headlining the event is David Longstreth, the frontman of Brooklyn experimental indie-rock outfit Dirty Projectors. The singer, guitarist and driving force behind the Projectors’ idiosyncratic and deeply personal music recently branched out from the critically acclaimed band, playing shows alongside string quartets and reworking arrangements of Hungarian composer Béla Bartók.
The most intriguing name at the festival might be the lo-fi, enigmatic Mount Eerie, formed a decade ago in Washington state by songwriter and sound sculpture Phil Elverum. The music of Mount Eerie ranges from acoustic musings to industrial metal to droning vintage organs and synths.
Also on the bill is a plethora of San Francisco–based acts like folk rockers Vetiver, singer-songwriter Kelley Stoltz and bedroom-pop band Light Fantastic, in addition to appearances by classic folksinger Michael Hurley, the Cairo Gang, Houndstooth and several others. Festival founder Johnson will serve up up DJ sets and music from his latest solo project, EDJ.
In addition to the tasty music, Huichica will feature food and libations from Bunk Sandwiches and Deshutes Brewery from Portland, Salumeria deli and Craftsman and Wolves patisserie from San Francisco, and Napa’s Rancho Gordo.