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April 17, 2015 (Rancho San Diego)--Six homegrown bands playing an eclectic mix of folk, jazz, pop and rock will perform on two stages on the grand lawn of Cuyamaca College at the Coyote Music Festival noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 2. Now in its seventh year, the entirely student-run festival will provide the community a free afternoon of live music by local talent in a family-friendly venue, where picnic blankets and lawn chairs are the best seats in the house.

For students enrolled in Music Industry Studies, the festival represents a term project, the culmination of a semester’s work learning every aspect of putting on a big music event. Cuyamaca College is one of the few schools locally offering the transfer degree program that focuses on the practical aspects of developing careers in the music industry.

A combination of classes in music, technology, and business helps students develop as musicians, learn to operate and use the college’s recording studios, work with bands to create demos and other promotional materials, and to plan and produce concerts and festivals with multiple stages. From planning, auditions, promotions, staging and sound engineering, the students do it all. There is so much to learn that students are able to take the course up to four times, each year learning a new aspect of putting on an event of the music festival’s scale.

Think wedding planner minus the nuptials and tack on the technical aspects of concert staging, the nuances of marketing and promotions, and the intricacies of handling talent. Students are constantly amazed by the amount of work that goes into Cuyamaca’s answer to Coachella, said Taylor Smith, head of the college’s performing arts program. Smith teaches the seminar course, along with Annie Zuckerman, a Business Office Technology instructor at Cuyamaca who teaches the marketing and promotions aspect of the event.

Here’s the lineup for the up-and-coming local talent showcasing this year’s original music:

12:00–12:35: The Dapper Bandits -- Blending together styles, the Dapper Bandits say their music is difficult to categorize, but band members gravitate toward a description of a fresher version of jazz. Rich harmonies and polyrhythmic motifs lead listeners to conclude that the sound is unlike the music you would hear on a typical radio jazz station.

12:40–1:15: Dona Nova --  Dona Nova is a hard rock band based in North County that was started in January by brothers Manny Sanchez and Luis Ochoa. The two wrote a slew of hard rock songs and started to book performances even before auditioning the rest of their musical lineup, guitarist Ian Pryor, and bassist Aaron Jaglowski.

1:20–1:55: Barrie Dempsey --  People in El Cajon might remember singer/songwriter Barrie Dempsey in his early years as a member of the Amber Band, which developed a strong following at the Bull and Bear. Dempsey is now  a solo act, playing electric and acoustic guitar, along with the flute, harmonica and piano. His debut CD compilation, “Barrie Dempsey,” has received an Akademia Music Award for Best Album Folk/Singer Songwriter.

2:00-2:35: Enter the Blue Sky -- The American roots sound of Enter the Blue Sky features lead vocalist Sandé Lollis and the accompaniment of equally experienced musicians --   Gale Kellogg, drummer; Warren Ovadia on fiddle; JRod, bass; and John Seever on harmonica.

2:40–3:15: Raelee Nikole --  Back for the third time is Raelee Nikole, who was barely old enough to get her driver’s license the first year she played the Coyote Music Festival. Since then, the young artist with an upbeat acoustic sound has developed into a seasoned singer/songwriter and performs anywhere she can.

3:20-3:55: Abstrack -- Abstrack is a jazz-influenced group whose members are students attending SDSU, Mesa College, Southwestern College, and UC San Diego. These musicians have been together for about a year, playing at local churches and various music venues, with mixes ranging from Jazz, hip hop,  and rhythm and blues. Band members include Cedrice Webber and Sarah black on vocals, Hugo Suarez on piano/keyboards, Malachi Johnson on drums, Darwin Avalos on bass and Brandon Cerquedo on guitar.

Along with the music, vendors selling jewelry, kettle corn and more will be a part of the festival. For more information visit  or call Taylor Smith at (619) 660-4627 or email him at .

Cuyamaca College is at 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway in the community of Rancho San Diego.


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