First Festival coming to West Sacramento Memorial Day Weekend

A Mile Till Dawn will play Sacramento’s newest music festival.

Sacramento’s festival culture richens this year with First Festival, a celebration of all things local, crafty and unique.

Three stages, 18 local bands, food trucks, artists, crafters and small businesses will all congregate at River Walk Park in West Sacramento on Saturday, May 23 from noon to 10 p.m. for the first, hopefully annual start to the festival season. For $15.

Organizers Danielle Vincent and Ashley Rastad are boutique owners in town—of Firefly and Moonrise Boutique, respectively—and First Festival was born out of their love of festival fashions. You know, floral headbands, glittery makeup, henna and the like. Why not create a music festival that helps you get ready for other music festivals? And instead of selling expensive tickets, let more of that money go to vendors?

River Walk Park is long, narrow and grassy—great for blankets and picnics, and not to be confused with TBD Fest’s dusty riverfront location. Ten food trucks will come from SactoMoFo’s arsenal, including Krush Burger, Drewski’s Hot Rod Kitchen and Smokers Wild BBQ. Local breweries are expected to pour. The lineup, meanwhile, hits rock, metal, punk, blues, synth-pop and folk—definitely eclectic.

“Each stage will have a theme, so if you don’t like metal, you’ll know not to go to the metal stage,” Vincent says.

Known bands so far are A Mile Till Dawn, Julie and the Jukes, Slaves of Manhattan, the Westwards, Drop Dead Red, Humble Wolf, Whiskey & Stitches, Dream in Red, D.U.S.T., Merdog, Rebel Radio, Stationary, Thick Soup, Be Brave Bold Robot, Surviving the Era and Sydney Jones and Company. Three bands are expected to be announced within the next week or two, including the headliner and at least one hip-hop act. There might be fun additional performances too, like fire dancing.

May 23 takes place over Memorial Day Weekend, so yes, it does interfere with the four-day Sacramento Music Festival in Old Sacramento. Vincent says the overlap wasn’t intentional, but she also isn’t worried. After all, First Festival is a free event and Sacramento Music Festival’s early-bird passes cost $110.

“We don’t think we’ll pull their crowd,” Vincent says.

With First Festival, Vincent and Rastad are also debuting Festival Deer Productions. Depending on this first effort, they hope to continue putting on community-focused events.

“It’s so exciting,” Vincent says. “And everything’s unfolding with so much ease that we know it’s the right thing to do.”

Update 4/21: This post has been updated to reflect accurate information. First Festival is charging $15 for tickets, whereas previously organizers intended for it to be a free festival. That explanation and more updates can be found here.

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