Get ready for some house rockin’ Blues, Americana, and Country Music as we kick the summer into high gear at the 2nd Annual Santa Cruz American Music Festival on Memorial Day weekend, May 28 & 29, 2016. For more than 23 years Aptos Village Park has been the host to a rich and storied history of great music that brings us all together. This festival will continue to honor the diverse nature of Traditional American Music by bringing world-class artists together for two fun-filled days of LIVE music in this exceptionally beautiful park, featuring a state-of-the-art sound system for your enjoyment. We hope you will join us as we pay tribute to some of the finest musical talents around!

TICKETS $65 Saturday or Sunday/$120 for a 2-Day pass

  • Carolyn Wonderland

    Saturday, May 28, 11-12 pm

    A favorite of Santa Cruz audiences, Texas guitar slinger Carolyn Wonderland has the vocal chops of a bluesy Janis Joplin combined with the soaring axe gymnastics of Stevie Ray Vaughan. From touring in Japan, where fans go absolutely ballistic for Wonderland, to the States where she has been steadily growing her adoring fan base for more than 20 years, Wonderland is a sensation. She has been lauded by Bob Dylan, produced by Ray Benson from Asleep at the Wheel, and sat in with Los Lobos—but it is with her own band that the pyrotechnics ignite. Wonderland destroys every genre from R&B to country with authority and her fiery performances—from whistled solos, to trumpet, to blistering Texas blues guitars—are a trip through the looking glass.

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  • Indigenous

    Saturday, May 28, 12:20-1:35 pm

    Born and raised on the Yankton Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, Indigenous front man Mato Nanji's last release Time Is Coming (May, 2014) on the Blues Bureau International label is a scorching tribute to Nanji’s ancestry and the future of his people. Mato and his family—brother Pte on bass, sister Wanbdi on drums, and cousin Horse on percussion—began Indigenous in their late teens. Years later, the lineup has changed but the mission remains true and the sound remains the same. Perhaps you are expecting a more traditional sound and are surprised by the blistering guitar solos that Nanji squeezes out of his ’62 reissue Stratocaster. His guitar licks are so fiery he was featured on the touring Jimi Hendrix Experience alongside Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Buddy Guy and Jonny Lang. Nanji has the ability to talk with spirits and summon the winds—allow yourself to be taken with the power of Indigenous!

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  • Robert Randolph and the Family Band

    Saturday, May 28, 1:55-2:55 pm

    Randolph’s brilliant and skillful work on the sacred steel guitar is one of the most unique sounds on the festival circuit. When he burst onto the scene in 2000, Randolph’s music was unlike anything anyone had ever heard. Raised in a rough-and-tumble neighborhood, Irvington, NJ, the church community that his family was a part of kept Randoph safe. Unique to all other churches in the area, The Church of the Living God featured sacred steel—more commonly known as pedal steel guitar—in the church band. Wanting to share the sounds and story of sacred pedal steel with the world, Randolph tours with the Family Band featuring drummer Marcus Randolph, vocalist Lenesha Randolph, Ray Ray Randolph and Brett Haas. The band members attribute their onstage chemistry to their tight-knit relationship. Get ready to shake to the blues and funk sound of Robert Randolph and the Family Band.

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  • Trombone Shorty

    Saturday, May 28, 3:25-4:45 pm

    Trombone Shorty is the dynamic spirit of New Orleans wrapped into one incredible artist. A trombone and trumpet player, Trombone Shorty is that rare gifted player who plays his instrument in a way that you can feel it in your bones and soul. Shorty’s exemplary technique came to the attention of Lenny Kravitz, with whom Shorty began touring in 2005. From festival openers to festival headliners, they are now world-class musicians. Shorty has made the big time. Just 29, Shorty earned his spot on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for Music in 2016. Trombone Shorty's accolades have piled up, with appearances on every late night TV show, and collaborations with people as diverse as Galactic, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Kid Rock, and even playing the White House in 2012. So, start tossing beads, because we are going to party New Ore. Jr. Let’s just say Dibbles is Smith on steroids, chew and whiskey. Hold on to your hat, and whoop it up for Granger Smith and friends.

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  • Buddy Guy

    Saturday, May 28, 5:30 pm

    One of the greatest bluesmen of all time, Buddy Guy began performing with bands in Baton Rouge and working as a custodian at Louisiana State University in the early '50s. The self-taught guitarist yearned for the raw and visceral sound of Chicago blues, at the time, usually associated with a guitar and harmonica played through amplifiers that brought a bigger sound to the down-home Mississippi blues. These new wailing, electrified solos influenced musicians for generations to come. When Guy moved to Chicago he found himself in the right hand chair next to Muddy Waters. The spark ignited a Chicago blues explosion. Through it all, Buddy Guy had his own sound, a sonic blast whose frequency was unmistakable. During the revolutionary early 1960s Buddy Guy’s music found an audience of disenfranchised white teenagers who resonated with the frenetic, kinetic energy of Guy’s solos and songs. For Clapton and many others, Buddy Guy was their Elvis, the one person who shined brighter than all the others. Even Jimi Hendrix admittedly borrowed more licks from Buddy Guy than any other artist. The cover of the 2015 release, Born to Play Guitar, has the 79-year-old Guy picking his coiled strings with his teeth. A true showman, Guy’s release is the follow-up to the 2013 double album, Rhythm & Blues, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Blues Albums chart. So, get out of your seat and get ready to climb onboard the spaceship that is Grammy Award Winner Buddy Guy.

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  • Leaving Austin

    Sunday, May 29, 11:15-12 pm

    Thought country band Leaving Austin is from rural California, Fresno/Clovis/Visalia and Hanford (not Austin), everything seems to be falling into place. The rhythm machine and the rest of the band members are grateful that people keep helping Leaving Austin along the way. Austin Machado and rhythm guitarist Davis Forney along with bassist Michael Stevens and lead guitarist Terry Ashford played together in Christian alternative rock bands. Chin played the heavier rock stuff but soon became good friends with Austin and as the band veered into the country scene, everything began to click. “It used to be that you had to be from Nashville to move ahead in the country circuit,” says Chin. “We just played with Wynona which is amazing because we are a newer country band with an edgier millennial vibe.” Begin your crisp, clean Sunday with a welcome yahoo for the first act of the day, Leaving Austin.

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  • Brodie Stewart

    Sunday, May 29, 12:15-1 pm

    Brodie Stewart grew up in NorCal, then fronted a southern rock band, started touring, thriving and surviving on the road, playing arenas and charting on Billboard. But for this multi-platform artist, his heart is pure country and he needed to get back to writing songs that spoke to and for his soul. While working on tracks for his own band Stewart also wrote and produced songs for other artists. Brodie Stewart is the frontman, but you can’t have a down-in-the-dirt, tried-and-true band without a couple of guys who can bring the music to life. Expect searing guitar licks from Mathieu Grace and pounding rhythms from Jason Shoemaker. Brodie states, “I’ve found my place in country music where my heart has always been. The great lyrics, honesty, passion and one kickass party is what it’s all about!”

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  • Canaan Smith

    Sunday, May 29, 1:15-2:30 pm

    Whether Canaan Smith is chronicling a complex relationship, celebrating the power of hard work, or exploring the loss of a loved one, he has a gift for telling stories. He carries on country music’s most beloved tradition and adds to the narrative that has become the soundtrack of American life. “I made a promise to myself, no matter how far we go musically, or what boundaries we push, to just tell stories and be honest in the lyrics, and to get to the root of country music,” Smith states. “The songs that have resonated with people the most are just the ones that tell true, honest stories that people can relate to." Rolling Stone raves, “If you haven’t heard of Canaan Smith yet, chances are you will be hearing quite a lot of him. Overall, we feel the singer-songwriter is one of the sharper artists to keep an eye on.”

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  • Granger Smith

    Sunday, May 29, 2:45-4 pm

    Granger Smith was born and raised in Dallas, and proudly wears that Texan pride. By the time he was 19 and attending Texas A&M, Smith had written enough songs to make his first album. Since then Smith has performed three times at the White House and performed for the troops in Iraq and Kuwait. His 2013 album Dirt Road Driveway peaked at 15 on the country charts. Smith’s EP 4X4 reached No. 51 on Billboard 200. The lead single was "Backroad Song", which sold 32,000 downloads in its first week, entering the iTunes Country Singles chart at #2, the iTunes Canada Country Chart at #1, and the Billboard Country Digital Sales Chart at #4. With his ability to cross over genres and crowds with his heartfelt music, the path to the top is cleared and it’s just a matter of time before his name is heard on every radio station in the nation. To amp it up a notch, Smith has an alter-ego who might make an appearance at SCAMF named Earl Dibbles, Jr. Let’s just say Dibbles is Smith on steroids, chew and whiskey. Hold on to your hat, and whoop it up for Granger Smith and friends.

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  • David Nail

    Sunday, May 29, 4:30-5:30 pm

    David Nail was born and raised in Kennett, Missouri and he could have easily been drawn into a future and career in sports, playing baseball, but music drew him deeper into the life of a country artist, so he moved to Nashville. Music City was overwhelming the first time around, and he was back home in Missouri within a year. He tried Nashville again, this time landing a recording contract with Mercury Nashville in 2002. A series of successes ensued until he pre-released "Let It Rain," which soared to #11 just before his second album, The Sound of a Million Dreams, was issued in November of 2011 — and went on to become Nail's first country chart #1 in early 2012. Then the single "Whatever She's Got" climbed to #2 on the Billboard country charts in fall, 2013. It seems David Nail cannot keep from hitting his crafted tunes out of the park. You will have no problem getting hot with the heat Nail throws off stage. Hands up in the air, butt out of the chair and give a warm welcome to David Nail.

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  • Josh Turner

    Sunday, May 29, 6 pm

    Multi-platinum MCA Nashville recording artist Josh Turner, was raised in a strong Christian family in a tight-knit community in rural South Carolina. He is now one of country music’s most recognizable hit-makers. With a rich, deep voice and distinctive style, Turner has sold more than 12 million units, is a disciple of traditional country music and one of the youngest members of the Grand Ole Opry. From his 2003 Platinum-selling debut Long Black Train to his most recent 2012 Billboard No. 1 release Punching Bag, Turner has garnered multiple nominations. Turner knows how to capture emotions that everyone feels and turn them into hit songs. A man of faith, Turners ability to lift people up is one of his greatest gifts. Whether he is touring around the country with his wife Jennifer who plays keyboards in the band, or lending a helping hand to those less fortunate than himself, Turner epitomizes what a country artist should be: kind, talented and always living from the heart. Welcome the voice of a generation, Josh Turner.

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