Summer Now

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You can sit around waiting for the solstice on June 21, or you can start summer now. It must be summer if the Summer Arts and Music Festival is on, right? Follow the sun to the Benbow Lake State Recreation Area on Saturday, May 30 and Sunday, May 31 from 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. for the festival fun you've been dreaming of all winter and spring ($30 advance weekend pass, $20/day gate).

The stages and tents are many. Over the weekend, the Trees stage features JJ Grey & MoFro, Blackalicious, Feet First Dancers, Lost Coast Marimbas and Motherlode, among others.

Down on the Lawn stage, swivel your hips to Off the Chart's Latin jazz standards, the OLIO Music & Dance Collective's Latin and Congolese rhythms and SaltPetal's surf-dance-indie-rock sounds. From there, you can bounce around between the Summertronica tent, the Andean music tent, a world music jam tent and a belly dancing temple.

Elsewhere on the grounds, check out eco-centric displays and demos and browse artwork in a 1958 vintage-trailer-turned-gallery. Down to clown? Entertain the little ones at the Kids' Zone with ClownSnotBombs, Circus Nature's circus equipment and toys, Circus Emporium Roadshow and its Odditorium.

Already feels like summer.

— Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

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