Somehow, some way, 2022 is upon us. Around the Monterey Peninsula, it brings with it a groundswell of great music to pair with a flourish of fests like one of the West’s preeminent mushroom festivals (Foragers Fest) and one the state’s leading swing dance gatherings (SwingFest).
*Many events and venues are returning for the first time after many months dark due to COVID, which means a lot of added enthusiasm — and often proof of vaccination too.
Featured Photo: Courtesy of BW Chicago, WikiCommons
January 12 — 17
Here come intensive classes from pros like Benji Schwimmer and Sarah Vann Drake, nightly dance contests and popular open dance sessions. At this West Coast Swing production the programming flies from 10am until deep into the night.
More info: Monterey SwingFest’s Facebook page
The Smothers Brothers at Golden State Theatre
Tom and Dick are simultaneously comedians, folk singers, musicians and (spoiler alert) brothers. They’ve also been evolving their chemistry and craft for decades. On this night they empty out their bag of tricks with a throwback performance that includes video clips, a question-and-answer session and a bumper crop of comedy.
More info: goldenstatetheatre.com
Bedouine + Shannon Lay at Henry Miller Memorial Library
Syrian-American Bedouine does a unique style of airy insightful folk that feels predestined for the incomparable backdrop that is Henry Miller Library. Shannon Lay’s take on folk-punk sweetens the situation.
More info: folkyeah.com
Punch Brothers at Carmel-by-the-Sea Sunset Center
The sum of these powerhouse parts — mandolinist Chris Thile, guitarist Chris Eldridge, bassist Paul Court, banjoist Noam Pikelny, and violinist Gabe Witcher — soars well past the whole of their individual talents. They took home a Grammy for best folk album with 2018’s All Ashore, and their brand of bluegrass has only gotten better since.
More info: sunsetcenter.org
Big Sur Foragers Festival
January 20 — 23
Lovers of fungus are again among us. Social distancing makes the Fungus Face-off cooking showdown a 2023 prospect, but educational foraging hikes, brunches, demos, dinners and an online auction are all popping from the understory among the redwoods of the South Coast.
More info: BSFF’s Facebook page