This Friday and Saturday, the Sonoma Music Festival returns to Sonoma for its second year. The festival was formed by two musicians, Roy Blumenfeld and Kurt Krauthamer, in an effort to fill a gap that was left by the Sonoma Jazz Plus music festival. For seven years, Sonoma Jazz Plus brought big national names to the little town of Sonoma. Unfortunately, they excluded local musicians and vendors and eventually rung up a sizeable debt that they were unable to pay back. The 2011 festival suffered an operating loss of more than $351,000, despite featuring big names like Sheryl Crow, John Fogerty and the Gipsy Kings. After unsuccessfully asking for help from the city, the organizer cancelled their 2012 festival and in stepped Blumenfeld and Krauthamer.
Right away, these new, seasoned, music veterans had a smart approach to building a music festival from the ground up. They started with a modest three-band bill last August and this year will present six bands over two days at the historic Sebastiani Theater. Organizer Kurt Krauthamer told the Sonoma Valley Sun:
“The last thing we wanted to do was create a huge splash, book a bunch of bands and not be able to handle the growth of the event. We want to grow this thing organically, starting out small and taking the necessary steps to increase the talent and the number of performers over time. And rather than do a one weekend a year event, our plan is to do several events throughout the year.”