Music for the Mind

Annual music and health festival celebrates 20 years

Nineteen ninety-one was a year that changed everything for Garen and Shari Staglin.

That was when the couple, who worked in the financial and healthcare industries, respectively, and owned Rutherfiord’s Staglin Family Vineyards, watched their son suffer his first psychotic break due to schizophrenia. Medications and therapy were able to help get him back on track, but the family knew they were facing a lifelong struggle.

“We realized that not everyone was that fortunate, and he was certainly a long way from being really cured,” says Garen Staglin in a phone interview. “So we decided to run toward the problem, instead of running away.”

In 1994, the Staglins founded One Mind, a nonprofit dedicated to funding mental-health research and raising awareness of brain illnesses. They also began their first Music Festival for Brain Health. This weekend the festival celebrates its 20th year with live music, fine wine and food, and engaging discussions centered on the issues of mental health.

The Staglin Family Vineyard is once again the location for the first day of the festival. The day begins with a symposium featuring the brightest minds in brain research, including a keynote address from Eric S. Lander, one of the principal leaders of the Human Genome Project.

A winetasting featuring more than 80 wineries held in Staglin’s wine caves follows. Then the sounds of Vintage Trouble rock the vineyard. Hailing from Los Angeles, the funky, roots-rock outfit is perfect accompaniment for dancing and grooving. Capping off the day is a VIP dinner created by six local chefs, including One Market’s Mark Dommen, Perbacco’s Stephen Terje and Farallon’s Terri Wu.

Sunday is another packed day that takes place at Lincoln Theater, in Yountville. The “fStop Warrior Project Exhibit” will showcase photography from military veterans suffering from PTSD or having other mental issues, and a food truck outside will cater to the crowds before festival headliner Jewel performs. Jewel has maintained a steady output of critically acclaimed folk and pop for more than 20 years, and she brings her powerful voice to the intimate space of the theater.

One Mind brings a focus on stigmatized conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorders and depression. “I think we are seeing growing awareness that these are not diseases of character; they’re diseases of chemicals, and more people are willing to talk about it,” says Staglin.

“The festival,” Staglin adds, “is a way to get the science out there and get people to be hopeful about the fact that speaking out and getting treatment can improve conditions in the lives of people today, and ultimately cure their illnesses tomorrow.”

Sonoma County Library