Berkeley Arts Festival Calendar


Cascada De Flores

May 24, 11:45am to 2:45pm, Cheese Board Pizza - 1512 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA

Kickin' the Mule

Kickin' the Mule plays a variety of jazz- and blues-related genres: New Orleans R&B, Oakland and Chicago blues, Memphis and Motown soul, and Oakland funk.

May 24, 4:45pm to 7:45pm, Cheese Board Pizza 1512 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA

Father John Misty

Written largely in New York between Summer 2016 and Winter 2017, Josh Tillman's fourth Father John Misty LP, God's Favorite Customer, reflects on the experience of being caught between the vertigo of heartbreak and the manic throes of freedom. God's Favorite Customer reveals a bittersweetness and directness in Tillman's songwriting, without sacrificing any of his wit or taste for the absurd. From "Mr. Tillman," where he trains his lens on his own misadventure, to the cavernous pain of estrangement in "Please Don't

Die," Tillman plays with perspective throughout to alternatingly hilarious and devastating effect. "We're Only People (And There's Not Much Anyone Can Do About That)" is a meditation on our inner lives and the limitations we experience in our attempts to give and receive love. It stands in solidarity with the title track, which examines the ironic relationship between forgiveness and sin. Together, these are songs that demand to know either real love or what comes after, and as the album progresses, that entreaty leads to discovering the latter's true stakes.

God's Favorite Customer was produced by Tillman and recorded with Jonathan Rado, Dave Cerminara, and Trevor Spencer. The album features contributions from Haxan Cloak, Natalie Mering of Weyes Blood, longtime collaborator Jonathan Wilson, and members of Misty's touring band.

May 24, 6pm to 9pm, Hearst Greek Theatre, UC Berkeley



Letitia Berlin, recorders, douçaine, psaltery;
Frances Blaker, recorders, hammered dulcimer;
Shira Kammen, vielle, harp, voice;
and Allison Zelles-Lloyd, voice, harp

"Una Panthera" - Trecento Music by Johannes Ciconia, Francesco Landini, Vincenzo da Rimini, and Jacopo da Bologna Calextone's "Una Panthera" is a program of music by 14th-century Italian composers and the northerners who lived in Italy. The program includes Johannes Ciconia's hauntingly-beautiful madrigal Una Panthera, written in honor of the city of Lucca, as well as works by composers Francesco Landini, Vincenzo da Rimini, and Jacopo da Bologna, three of the many composers who appear in the sumptuous Squarcialupi Codex. Lively caccias, sensuous ballate and madrigali by some of the great composers of 14th-century Italy will make the trecento come alive again in Calextone's performance.
All tickets $15
18 and under admitted free and welcome.
Tickets at the door or reserve online (recommended) at

May 24, 6pm to 8pm, St. Mark's Episcopal Church Parish Hall, 2300 Bancroft Way, Berkeley

The Bandulus / Scratch Outs / Mr. Can't Get Right/ Leecher

Ska Night:
The Bandulus
Scratch Outs Mr.
Can't Get Right
Leecher Magnitudes
$12 cover (plus $2 annual membership card)
all- ages
safe(r) space
Doors at 7pm
First band at 7:30

May 24, 7pm to 11pm, 924 Gilman, 924 Gilman St, Berkeley

Poets Jericho Brown and Dexter L. Booth

Jericho Brown reads from The Tradition

Jericho Brown is the recipient of the Whiting Writers' Award and fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. His first book, Please (New Issues, 2008), won the American Book Award, and his second book, The New Testament (Copper Canyon, 2014), was named one of the best poetry books of the year by Library Journal and received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. His third collection is The Tradition (Copper Canyon, 2019). His poems have appeared in The Nation, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Time, and several volumes of The Best American Poetry.

Brown earned a PhD from the University of Houston, an MFA from the University of New Orleans, and a BA from Dillard University. He is an associate professor and the director of the Creative Writing program at Emory University in Atlanta.

Dexter L. Booth is the author of one poetry collection, Scratching the Ghost , which won the 2012 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. His poems have been published in Grist, Willow Springs, and New Delta Review. Booth teaches poetry and English composition at Arizona State University.

May 24, 7pm to 8pm, Moe's Books, 2476 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley

Bob Dylan Birthday Celebration with Rolling Thunder

Rolling Thunder brings an innovative appreciation of Bob Dylan. Take mix of Dylan classics and Bootleg series gems, add a heaping spoon full of Grateful Dead essence, some Van Morrison passion, and a pinch of Dr. John cajun hot sauce. Then shake it all up! Ahhh....

You got it. We take the songs of Dylan, the Dead and others and make them our own. We promise to keep you movin' and groovin' throughout the show.

Multi-talented Berkeley singer Zoe Carter brings us delicious lead vocals and harmonies. Brian Bloom, lead vocals and some amazing guitar work. Oakland's Steve Capper (keys) and Martin Gran (guitar) bring the RnB and soul sensibilities. Our S.F. bass and drum duo, Charlie McCoy and Joe Mockus, lock down the rhythm and keep the groove goin' non-stop. And finally, harmonica virtuoso Paul Herzoff and siren whistle savant John Bock bring divine color and texture.

Come see (and taste) for yourself.

Doors at 7:30 pm; Show at 8:00 pm
Tickets are $12 Advance / $15 Day of Show

May 24, 8pm to 11pm, Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center, 1317 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley

The Easy Winners

The Easy Winners - Nick Robinson and Zac Salem - perform ragtime era music on mandolin, guitar and vocals.

With peppy rags, enchanting waltzes and haunting Latin melodies, the Easy Winners transport you 100 years back to the birth of American popular music from diverse cultures.

Nick Robinson has played mandolin with the Ragtime Skedaddlers string band at ragtime and roots music festivals throughout northern California. He produced their three CDs: Rag Time Skedaddlers, Mandolins at the Cake Walk, and The Latest Popular Mandolin and Guitar Music. Nick has also played Balinese gamelan, old time mandolin, and klezmer music.

Zac Salem has been performing ragtime in the USA and Mexico since the age of 16. He is a vocalist, pianist, and performer on various stringed instruments.


May 24, 8pm to 9pm, Caffè Chiave, 2500 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley

The Old Pals

The Old Pals is a California-based Bluegrass band bonded by decades-long friendships and a mutual love of traditional Bluegrass and country music. The band members enjoy the camaraderie of playing together whenever schedules permit, and most of the Pals have known each other since the early days of Bluegrass in California.

Craig Wilson (guitar and vocals) and Larry Cohea (banjo), a Springfield, TN native, met as teenagers while living in Bakersfield, CA. They were immersed in the heyday of the Bakersfield Sound and brought their Bluegrass styling to several of the local live TV programs on air at the time, sharing the stage with artists such as Joe and Roselee Maphis, Bonnie Owens and Merle Haggard, among others.

While living in San Francisco in 1968, Craig met Butch Waller (mandolin) when Butch was a founding member of one of California's seminal traditional Bluegrass bands, High Country. Butch is a highly-acclaimed mandolinist in the Monroe tradition and has composed a myriad of songs through the years. Larry also became a member of High Country in the early 1970s, and the band has not only toured extensively throughout the U.S. and abroad but continues to perform and recently celebrated their 50th year in the business.

Paul Shelasky (fiddle) emerged on the Northern California Bluegrass scene in the 1970s and has played in bands including The Good Old Persons, Lost Highway and Blue and Lonesome, as well as performing for a number of years at Disneyland. Paul is also an accomplished old time and swing fiddler and adds a dose of comedy to the band's repertoire.

Matt Dudman (bass) is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist on guitar and mandolin as well as bass, and performs with the Pleasant Valley Boys as well as with Jenny Lynn and The Real Gone Daddies. Matt operates his own sound and recording studio, Pleasant Valley Music in Dixon, CA.

Each member of The Old Pals has been active as "movers and shakers" in the Bluegrass community for many years. Butch, Larry and Paul have been recognized for their contributions and achievements by the California Bluegrass Association with Life member status awards.

But The Old Pals don't just rest on their laurels, they bring an old-school, energetic, paint-peeling, and soulful brand of Bluegrass picking and singing that is sure to captivate and have you tappin' your toes!

Tickets are $18 in advance and $20 at the door. Children under 12 are free. Advance tickets are available at the link below, or you may purchase your tickets at the door the night of the show. Doors open one half hour before show time. We accept cash only at the door (ATMs are nearby).

The Back Room is an all-ages, BYOB (for those 21+) space, dedicated to (mostly) acoustic music of all kinds. You are welcome to bring your own adult beverage with no additional corkage fee. If you need more information or have any questions, please call us: #510-654-3808. Thank you for your support!

May 24, 8pm to 10pm, The Back Room Music, 1984 Bonita Ave, Berkeley

Trio Colibrí with John Santos

Trio Colibrí is comprised of John Santos, Jose Roberto Hernandez, and Manuel Constancio, three stalwart Bay Area musicians drawn together by a common passion for the lyrical and poetic music of Latin America.

Using guitars, Afro-Latin percussion, and beautiful vocal arrangements, they transport audiences to other countries, realms, and eras - always with an element of originality - while honoring profound musical traditions and innovators. Mambo, bolero, son, joropo, and guaracha are some of the rhythms they use, igniting dancers and daring concert audiences to stay still in their seats.

Jose Roberto Hernandez - vocals, guitar
Manuel Constancio - vocals, guitar
John Santos - percussion

Jose Roberto Hernandez is a highly respected multi-instrumentalist, singer, composer, arranger, producer, musical educator, and ethnomusicologist. He was born in the city of Cardenas, Tabasco, Mexico, surrounded by master folklorists. He is a unique artist whose devotion, creativity, and studies in the genres of traditional music from Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Brazil, and Argentina have earned him great recognition and fan appreciation.

Bay Area native Manuel Constancio Jr. is an accomplished and versatile guitarist/vocalist whose 25-year association with the Navy Band found him directing the NATO Band in Naples, Italy; on Treasure Island, in San Francisco; and in San Diego, California. He was the Navy's first "minority" band director. He co-directs the band Sabrosito with his brother José.

John Santos, a multi-Grammy nominee and San Francisco Latino Heritage Arts Awardee, is one of the foremost bandleaders, composers, producers, percussionists, and educators in Afro-Latin music. He has worked with acknowledged masters, including Tito Puente, Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Cachao, Eddie Palmieri, and Omar Sosa. He has lectured and taught throughout the United States, Europe, and Latin America since 1973.

May 24, 8pm to 10pm, Rendon Hall/Fiddler Annex @ California Jazz Conservatory 2040 Addison Street, Berkeley

Riders In The Sky

Riders In The Sky is an American bluegrass, country/western and comedy group which began performing in 1977. They have won two Grammy Awards and have written and performed music for major motion pictures, including Toy Story 2 (1999) and Pixar's short film, For the Birds (2000)

May 24, 8pm to 9pm, Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison Street, Berkeley