You know the drill: get your tent, reusable water bottle and best friends, and head North for a weekend of grooving and gabbing with likeminded folk. Every year, various music festivals return to Northern California as quintessential celebrations of a lifestyle that has become tradition and music that has become legend. This year, there's something new on the scene, and it fits right in with its fellow festivals: the Gaia Festival in Laytonville.
Spread across three days and five stages, the zero-waste festival focuses on sustainable living as well as music, with 19 speakers and workshops addressing topics from healing and the shamanic arts to biodynamic farming and the power of fungi. Thirty-five artists are set to play during the weekend, with Aaron Neville, India.Arie (above) and Idan Raichel as major headliners; well-known reggae band the Wailers, New Orleans funksters Galactic and get-down legends the Funky Meters also appear .
The diverse lineup includes sounds and influences from all corners of the earth, with artists hailing from Jamaica, New Orleans, New York, Cuba, France and Pakistan. The multicultural Gaia Festival, uniting world music with teachings from many cultures, is held FridaySunday, Aug. 5-7, at Black Oak Ranch. 50350 Hwy. 101, Laytonville. $50-$180, day and overnight passes available. www.thegaiafestival.com.