MOSCOW — Call it a music lover’s dream; a local fan’s eclectic paradise. Organizers hope it will prove to be the ideal mixture of local talent blended with world-renowned artists, and that it will satisfy just about every one of the audience member’s musical tastes.
It all goes down at Moscow’s 32nd annual Rendezvous in the Park arts and music festival, beginning Friday at East City Park and continuing through the weekend.
“I’m really enthused about our lineup this year, I think it’s one of our best,” said Tom Preston, Rendezvous co-president. “We were fortunate enough to have Dishwalla as our headliner on Saturday; obviously they’re multi-platinum selling artists. They’re going to be fantastic and it’s just always great for us to get a national act that’s had so much success to Rendezvous.”
The nine-act festival features the Houston-influenced blues sounds of Carolyn Wonderland as Friday’s headlining act, and the platinum-selling Dishwalla will grace the stage Saturday night. The weekend concludesSunday with the Washington/Idaho Symphony providing the festival’s final act.
Wonderland will take the Rendezvous stage for the first time, but she’s no stranger to playing before a crowd. She’s been making music since she was 9 and began performing live at age 15, playing gigs at Fitzgerald’s bar in her hometown of Houston, Texas
Now 41, Wonderland has toured with acts such as Buddy Guy and Johnny Winter, and even sang the national anthem before Robbie Kneivel jumped 100 motorcycles at Sturgis Bike Week in 2003.
Wonderland spends a majority of her time on the road, taking no more than a couple of weeks off each year. Rather than play the homesick card, she appreciates the fact she gets to travel the world and do what she loves.
“Carolyn Wonderland is wonderful,” Preston said. “I keep describing her to people as Bonnie Raitt, but with a better voice. She is amazing. She’s an incredible guitar player; she’s won all types of blues awards. We are really fortunate to have her.”
Joining Wonderland as the second Texas-based act to perform on Friday is Sam Sliva, who will share his blues-, folk- and country-inspired sounds with the audience just before Wonderland his the stage.
The Rendezvous pattern of headline acts with longevity continues with Dishwalla. The alternative rock group has been providing tunes for fans to jam to for nearly two decades, beginning with their 1996 smash hit “Counting Blue Cars.”
It’s nostalgia that has the five-member group on the road again, as fans have grown up and are now longing to hear the group that created what was probably their favorite rock song of the ’90s.
Scot Alexander, the group’s bass player, said it was around 2008 when they started gaining interest again. The band reunited after a three-year hiatus that began in 2005, shortly after Alexander quit the group.
“We all just missed what we were doing,” Alexander said. “We just loved playing music together and the interest was there. It’s like the ’90s have become classic rock. It’s so weird, you know?”
The music is the same but the band has changed, Alexander said. They are more mature, with a carefree attitude on stage. Their live performances are more about smiling and enjoying the moment, and less about trying to outdo the other acts on the bill.
Even after Alexander quit the band and moved to Idaho, where he currently resides, the 42-year-old bass player and his bandmates have never been to the city they’ve received rave reviews about.
“I’m seriously looking forward to it,” Alexander said of finally playing Moscow. “I’ve only driven through Moscow once, and I know people that went to UI and they say that’s it a beautiful little town and so I’m ready to show the town off to the rest of the Dishwalla guys.”
Rendezvous in the Park schedule
Friday — 5 p.m. Openers: Henry C. and the Willards, Sam Sliva. Headliner: Carolyn Wonderland
Saturday — 5 p.m. Openers: Saigon County, Simba and the Exceptional Africans, Little Hurricane. Headliner: Dishwalla
Sunday — 5 p.m. Opener: Hog Heaven Big Band. Headliner: Washington/Idaho Symphony
Cost: All concerts, $50. FRIDAY: $20; youth (ages 13-18) $10. SATURDAY: $25; youth $12.50. SUNDAY: $25; youth $12.50
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