California WorldFest: July 16-19 in Grass Valley

NESTLED NEAR THE WILD AND scenic South Yuba River and the picturesque towns of Nevada City and Grass Valley, California WorldFest’s 19-year history at the most beautiful fairgrounds in California is experiencing a rebirth.

The Center for the Arts, a non-profit performing arts organization with a venue located in downtown Grass Valley, acquired WorldFest from Maple Creek Presents owners Dan DeWayne and Christine Meyers of Chico.

Featuring eight stages, California WorldFest—July 16-19—is a family friendly event exploring the music and culture of our world. Mainstage performers include a mashup of world music superstars and legends-in-the-making, with intimate workshops and side stage performances to see, hear and interact with artists. Camping, children’s programs, vocal, dance and instrumental work-shops, international foods, crafts, yoga and world music create an event for all ages.

“WorldFest has a reputation for pioneering what a music festival can be—a place to gather, share and discover,” says Center Executive Director Julie Baker. “We plan to build on the core elements that have been so successful while adding an eco-tent featuring sustainable technology, late-night DJ dance parties, visual artists participation, activities for teens, and workshops.”

This year’s performers include world-class headliners and is a diverse lineup, from world-electronica trio Beats Antique to country-bluegrass prodigy EmiSunshine.

Headliners include African music icon King Sunny Adé, Oscar-winning singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie, Afro-Caribbean urban folk septet Las Cafeteras, southeast Asian inspired rockers Dengue Fever, genre-blurring Portland Cello Project, Ukrainian folk musicians DhakaBrakha and others.

Camping is popular with attendees, who share the shade under tall pines at the Nevada County Fairgrounds. Groups return each year creating elaborate campsites, sharing food and jamming (often joined by main stage performers) late into the night. For WorldFest tickets and more information visit

Arts & Culture Economics

Music festivals such as WorldFest boost the local economy by bringing in music lovers from a broad region. The Center has collaborated with the Nevada County Economic Resource Council to find ways to increase tourism and awareness.

“WorldFest is exactly what we were looking for — a way to put dollars to work supporting local artists, vendors, artisans and to celebrate our vibrant arts scene,” says Center Executive Director Julie Baker.

(Photo: Marc Walker)

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