Family Vacation 2022: A Recap of Northern California’s Most Intimate Festival Experience

Placerville, California’s own Family Vacation Festival is back for its fourth full round, after a hiatus due to the events of the last couple of years that shifted the music industry, and the world, as we knew it. Sharing performances from newcomers and regulars alike, we shared an intimate weekend with some strangers and friends, and together, grew all the more closer by the end of the experience. We have shared some of our highlights from the weekend and the events that took place.

Elena DeLacy and Vices to Virtue shared an ambient and spiritual folk experience that set the tone for the weekend in all its calming atmospheric daydreams. Lemon Carport dropped jaws in their first ever performance together as a band. With clean, practiced sound, they shared their talents with just enough grit to wrap all of their sound together in its fullest.

Dylan Punturo performed twice in the weekend; a perfect blend of acoustics as he sat on the couch and conveyed the perfect daydream of stories in his lyrics and an intimate world of his own creation. We also saw multiple performances from Benjamin Hecht, who effortlessly strummed his emotions in his beautifully crafted electric guitars. And of course, we couldn’t fail to mention the efforts of Bryant and multiple other performers, who played seemingly all day as they supported and led acts of their own to round out the weekend.

Subtlety included a fun, energetic performance, with equally deep and meaningful lyrics as their first performance since the pandemic, with much more to come. Boco do Rio, too held their heads high, gleaming as they poured out samba and jazz beats from each fiber of their soul and being as Big Sticky Mess backed them up and, too, performed later in the evening with an equally as compelling performance.

Dwellings joined the stage just as the sun was setting. With warm, low lighting gently grazing the instruments and each smiling face, fans piled under the tent to dance and mosh to every song with a frantic praise in their infectious sound. And wrapping up night one, Sabertooth Unicorn shared a unique and vibrant chemistry with uplifting melodies and weirder al lyrics- lead vocalist had fire red silk suit and fiery hair, everyone else wore vibrant clothing of their own and embraced every dark and gritty thing in all its strangeness and made it their own, beautiful world of celebration and release.

Many stayed up late, past the quiet hours to watch the fire dancers, and to collect headphones for a night of silent disco around the warm campfire. If you chose not to join, you could walk around, listen in, and bask under the starry lit night and bury yourself under a blanket before the warmth of sleep would pull you into its grasp.

Day two was welcomed with a hearty, but tired, “good morning,” from each new friend. Breakfast was shared near the fire as the warm sun gleamed down our backs. Many of us took advantage of the cool, fresh river’s benefits and cooled off before the festivities began.

Güd People opened up the afternoon with a fury of joy and jazz that awoke all from exhaustion and pulled them through into a state of excitement for more to come. Jazz Moms joined the stage and all we saw were familiar faces as they performed effortlessly in an upbeat tone as cool river winds grazed our skin in the heat of the day. People basked in the shade and sat on couches in the back of the tent while the front held those who sought out dance.

The Numinous followed not much later, a laid back rock outfit with cool, deep vocals and soulful guitar. And another appearance from Bryant in his own outfit, “Bryant & The Crew,” shared his birthday in celebration of smooth jazz and other friends. Keadii impressed the crowd with her stellar vocals. Dressed in vibrant red, her voice echoed through the park in song that soothed nature itself into following her. The sun glowed through the tent and the winds blew gently, trees dancing with her in her song. Hypha brought the heat of peak summer in their performance as many took advantage of staying cool in the river as they listened intently along.

The Seafloor Cinema welcomed energetic fans new and old, fresh from their latest tour. They seamlessly blended in a chemistry of smooth math rock, clean vocals, and jokes that left everyone grinning wide long after their set was over. Mookatite electrified the crowd with an infectious jazz poured straight from the bones. By the time their set was setting in, so was the sun on the horizon, glowing on the river bank as vocals electrified the campsite all the more with their musical magic and wonder.

find yourself filled the crowd with wide looks in their eyes, sharing a frantic energy that couldn’t be contained as they danced onstage and performed melodies yet to be heard from the rest of the world, and effortlessly so… Mourning Mountains filled the audience with a sense of catharsis unmatched by many. Intense lyrics moved even the stone hearted into a wave of emotion in an ultimate ballad of love and metaphor.

And completing the weekend, Gold Necklace drew in everyone in the crowd for a unique performance as he shared sentiments of what we all were already thinking.

“I feel like the name of this festival… Family Vacation… rings true. Everyone here is like family.”

~ Kurt Travis (vocalist of Gold Necklace)

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