Escondido, CA

Two day arts, music festival expected to attract 3,000

This is last year’s Omni Echo, by Dr. Chris Warren. This year the immersive piece will be on a larger scale.

The first annual A Ship In The Woods Music and Art Festival will happen this weekend at Felicita County Park in Escondido, June 16,-17, 11 a.m.–7:30 p.m. both days.
A Ship in the Woods, which is abbreviated to WSOHOIDPS (don’t ask us to explain how, but we are told it involves a word puzzle) will headline Built To Spill, Shabazz Palaces, Bill Callahan (Smog), and No Age, among other musicians. It’s an event with all Indie artists performing music ranging from No Age to Post Punk.
Both Saturday and Sunday musical acts will be featured on two stages and art exhibitions, sound installations and performance art will be taking place in various locations around the park both days. The festival also features a curated selection of local food vendors, award winning breweries and artisanal retailers.
It will all be very family-friendly and interactive—meaning that you can talk to the artists, and in some cases touch or manipulate their creations. Co-Executive Director Lianne Mueller told The Times-Advocate, “It’s like the Reuben H. Fleet museum meets art!”
A Ship In The Woods Music and Art Festival is produced by the 501 (C) 3 non-profit art and culture incubator of the same name. The festival will take place at Felicita County Park, within a 50 acre oak grove, which includes trails and a thousand year old stream.
The diverse line-up features more than twenty musical acts and more than twenty-five art installations and exhibits. This is an all-ages event at which families are welcome and will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
“Attendees will experience a lineup of diverse, notable, contemporary, independent and emerging performers representing a wide range of genres, including indie-rock, folk, post-punk, post-rock, shoegaze, dreampop, afrofuturist hip-hop, ambient, experimental, and electronic music thanks in part to grant support from the City of San Diego and County of San Diego along with select sponsors,” Mueller said.
There will be immersive outdoor contemporary art installations with a focus on social practice, ecology, and experimentation. Food trucks and vendors supporting conscious forward products and practices will be on hand.
“We are super stoked to be playing the inaugural Ship In The Woods Festival this year,” Randy Randall of the band No Age said. “This is an incredible, inclusive, creative community that supports the rights of all people. Such an awesome collection of bands and artists make this event something unique.”
Mueller added “The mission of the festival is a continuation of the organization’s past programming merging world class talent with local San Diego artists. The diversity of musicians and artists is a beautiful and unique aspect of the festival. Artists range in age, sexual orientation, and ethnicity. This line-up was built around inclusivity and representation.”
Aaron Rose, filmmaker, art curator, cultural icon and director of the “Beautiful Losers” film, which was about the burgeoning art scene in New York City and San Francisco, will construct the La Rosa Social Club, a moveable pop-up exhibition/art bar. Everything in the space is recycled or created by Rose or artist friends including the walls, murals and drink menu. The experience is completely interactive and collaborative.
The musician EMA [aka Erika Michelle Anderson] whose albums include Little Sketches on Tape, Past Life Martyred Saints and The Future’s Void, will perform on a unique stage and explore modern suburban worlds of prosaic fantasy and nightmare, using melody and narrative to explore other realms coexisting with our current reality.
EMA, who has done sound tracks for several films, will have a special performance on her own stage that has props on it. “It will be unique,” said Mueller. “She’s not going to stay up there and play a guitar. She will MOVE.”
The Times-Advocate interviewed Mueller for some more insights about the two-day event. “This is the inaugural event,” she said. “We have had some similar events, but they were on a smaller scale.”
All of the exhibits, which includes works by over 50 artists, are tied together by the environment. “The art will be immersive work and sculptures,” Mueller said. “Each will conceptually relate to the environment. You can interact with them. You can speak to the artist and you may touch and feel the works. Because it is based on environmental concepts there may be more dialogue about the environment.”
Some of the exhibits will be for kids and families. “There will be little seminars for families to engage with a particular activity, like a puppet show. Some arts relate to sound, because it IS a musical festival,” said Mueller.
The Omni Echo by Dr. Chris Warren, will be a larger version of an exhibit he developed several years ago. Dr. Warren, who teaches at San Diego State University and USC, specializes in sound and the manipulation of sound. He has put together similar exhibits at the Fleet museum, but on a much smaller scale.
One of the musical groups performing is the British-American band the Mekons, which plays alt-country, and which has been performing since the 1970s.
Another performer is Lonnie Holley, an African-American singer and songwriter, aka “The Sand Man,” an artist with a unique sound, who was described by the New York Times as “the Insider’s Outsider.”
Bill Callahan of Drag City will also be playing at the inaugural event.
Other performers include song writers who create electronic melodies with a synthesizer. “We are broadly diverse in age and background,” said Mueller. “Inclusivity was important to us when we were putting together this line up and diversity in terms of music. It’s a great range. Hexa is a local band who has won San Diego music awards and has an electronic, dreamy, rhythmic sound. Drew McDowall (Coil, Psychic TV, Poems) is legendary.” One of the classic headliners is Built to Spill. “He has a full band but he has a very unique sound, rhythm, fun and he’s definitely made a difference in the landscape of independent music,” said Mueller.
“When you talk about a large scale event like this, that changes the whole dimension,” said Mueller, who expects attendance to reach 3,000 for the two days. “I think it is very family-friendly. Its purpose is to bring the community together.”
“It’s a multiple non-profit event whose mission is to support non-profits that are associated with non-profits, who are creating an art installation where the underlying message is about the environment,” she said.
As part of that mission, WSOHOIDPS is partnering with the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy, which will have an exhibit on the river watershed. They are also working with the non-profit A Reason to Survive (ARTS) which will be creating an art activity.
The event will also be collected donations for the North County San Diego food Bank. Attendees are invited to bring cans and other non-perishables.
The festival will include special food, ranging from vegan to organic, to gluten free and Hawaiian poke. “There will be everything from cold brew coffee to homemade root beer,” said Mueller. “We really are looking at the local companies that are food conscious. The beer is all craft beer.”
Southern California radio stations including KCRW, KXLU, and 91x Loudspeaker have ticket giveaways planned. Interviews and highlights are running on Alt 949, 91xfm, KKSM and DubLab.
Tickets presale are $60 a day or you can buy weekend passes. Tickets will be on sale for discounted price Lou’s Records in Encinitas. For an online special on tickets visit and use the promo code SAILAWAY until Friday.

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