Santa Cruz’s Kaleidoscope Music Festival

California has a long tradition of music festivals. From Monterey Pop to Coachella, festivalgoers have had many opportunities to enjoy the best that popular music has to offer, all in a festival setting. While its scale is more modest than its bigger and better-known brothers, the inaugural Kaleidoscope Music Festival aims to shine a light on Santa Cruz and its homegrown music scene. The festival happens Saturday, March 30 at the Santa Cruz County Veterans Memorial Building.

The festival is the brainchild of local musician and entrepreneur Jimmy Palafox. Head of Mountain Music Productions, Palafox says that the inspiration for the Kaleidoscope Music Festival grew out of enthusiasm surrounding the impending release of a new album from his band, The New Horizons. That album, Kaleidoscope “took about five years to complete, so I figured that I’d do a big celebration,” he says. “And I’d go about celebrating by choosing some of the best bands in the area.” The event’s lineup will include five groups: Flat Sun Society, Floratura, Santa Cruda, Santa Cruz Latin Collective and The New Horizons.

Working with a team of organizers that includes Julie Horner and Michelle Murphy, Palafox began work only eight months ago on the largest festival project with which he’s ever been involved. The venue for the festival has a special meaning for him, as the Santa Cruz County Veterans Memorial Building was the site of the very first New Horizons gig. “And that show was the very first event I ever put together, shortly after I finished high school,” he says.

Palafox says that planning and organization have all proceeded smoothly and without incident. “Getting everyone to come together in one place at one time was a little difficult,” he admits, “but everything has fallen into place.”

Membership in the five bands includes some overlap: Palafox, for example, is a member of both The New Horizons and Santa Cruz Latin Collective. “Here in Santa Cruz,” he explains, “it’s a small community of musicians. We all know each other, and our bands end up sharing [musicians].” The evening will feature six hours of music from the five bands, all of which are based in Santa Cruz. Palafox says that he and his co-organizers “hope the community will come out and listen to the different styles of music that Santa Cruz has to offer.”

The five bands on the bill for the inaugural Kaleidoscope Music Festival explore different corners of the musical landscape, but all share a love of and dedication to the spirit of making music together. “There’s a lot of great music here in Santa Cruz, music that a lot of people don’t know about,” says festival organizer and musician Jimmy Palafox. “And this festival is a great opportunity to come out and appreciate it.”

The bill featured these five bands. Click on each for a feature.