Located at the intersection of Newport Avenue and Bacon Street, the evening will feature acoustic music from a host of local performers including Dave Gilbert, Alicia Previn, Travis Oliver and bluesman, Chickenbone Slim, performing both originals and seasonal favorites. More than just an opportunity to hear great music, the event will also be set up to accept unwrapped toys, non-perishable food items and money, to help out those less fortunate than us this holiday season.
“We do mostly acoustic performers just to stick to a theme and time frame,” explained event organizer Michael Head, who has produced the event for the past seven years. “But artists can be creative. Plus, the acoustic texture just really works for holiday-style tunes.” Performers, who donate their time, can play what they like, but the focus is on Christmas music. “People are into it this time of year,” Head remarked. “Performers have gotten creative though - Joey Harris always did "Rudolph the Red Nosed Wino."
This year Travis Oliver will do a few hill-billy Christmas tunes that aren't standard and a little different. It's still wide open in that regard - it's OB!”
All donations from the event go directly to needy OB families. “It all stays right here,” Head said. “Different charitable entities handle the distribution, which they do annually at the OB Masonic temple. One year a person wrote us a $1,000 check. It was pretty cool.”
For the event Head is focusing on talent from the immediate area. “I try to find OB and other San Diego performers who have played at the Farmers market and kind of get the vibe of the event in the first place,” he said. “They usually want to give back the most and are there to help out. We're lucky to have Chicken Bone Slim this year - he's a market regular and I'm sure he'll bring some bluesy holiday themed numbers. Also, Kris Wott and myself will do a Tom Petty Christmas song in honor of him passing this year. Newcomer Andrew Parker Davis will perform - he's done the market a couple of times, is an outstanding musician and was the first to sign on. Dave Gilbert has given his time for at least five years in a row - he's a great asset to the OB community.”
“It warms the heart to give and care for those with needs, in particular physical gifts or tasty food to brighten the special holiday time,” Previn said. Gilbert agrees. “Events like this take me back to a simpler more innocent time when taking care of our community was a priority,” he remarked. “This is neighbors looking out for neighbors, the way we're supposed to be.” While some see playing outdoors as a challenge, Previn considers it a plus. “Being outside as the night gets chilly livens up the music,” she continued. “Playing outside events like this is always thrilling. There are new listeners, shoppers out for a stroll, being introduced to our music - its communication at its finest.” Gilbert concurs.
“To me the out of doors has a more festive feel. You just need to be a bit more on your game from a performance standpoint because there's no "room" ambiance to forgive any vocal or chordal transgressions. It's just a man and his guitar,” he said.
For his part, despite the hard work of organizing the event, Head is happy to be able to help the community. “I like the change of pace of the holiday songs at the farmers market,” he said. “The quiet stillness and wintery feel is always nice. We get a lot of families at the market with young kids; it's always nice for them to enjoy it. We rock out every other week; this week is kind of for them.” He notes it’s also special to be able to give back to OB.
“Of course, knowing we're hopefully helping someone out, making their holiday a little brighter is the real payoff,” he mused. “That's mainly why I've kept the tradition. Maybe that inspires someone else as well.”
Food & Toy Drive
Where: OB Farmers Market at the intersection of Newport and Bacon.
When: 4 to 7 p.m. Dec. 13.