The sweet sounds of eight different musical groups will enhance those sampling the sweetness of the chocolate starting Saturday May, 19 at this year’s 20th annual Oakdale Chocolate Festival, Cowboys and Chocolate.
“We have a very diverse group of bands this year,” said Victoria Sutton Krippner, the festival’s main stage music chairperson. “There will be dancing in the streets.”
Krippner, an Oakdale High School grad, has been music chairperson for the last nine years. Her endeavors and quality of music booked for the event have had the festival nominated for MAMA Awards by the Modesto Area Music Association for the last five years in the “Best Large Event” category going up against the X-Fest and Blues Festival in Modesto.
“I have my hands full with the bands for the chocolate festival,” Krippner said. “I get requests to perform from bands all across the area.”
Krippner’s interest in music is not limited to the functions of the main stage organizer. She is also part of the music acoustic trio of BoyGirlBoy, an alternative rock and acoustic group that kicks off the main stage music at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
“We’ve been together three years,” said Krippner. “Our music has great harmonies you’ll catch yourself singing along to.”
Walnut Road follows at noon and will bring to the stage a unique but familiar down home resonance best described as a taste of Sweet Home Alabama, Lynrd Skynrd, and Fleetwood Mac.
Walnut Road was formed by Rachael Bonzi and Justin Quigley who have been performing in the Central Valley for many years. Accompanied by Nathan Ignacio on bass, the percussion of David Avery, and most recent band member, Jeff Beckton on guitar, the group is a versatile band playing an eclectic mix of covers from various genres as well as their own originals.
At 2 p.m. the main stage will feature the Latin and Rock sounds of El Marauder.
The Modesto-based five-piece band plans to show off its musical talent, utilizing guitar solos and driving drums to sound like a Latin-and-punk-influenced Foo Fighters or throwing in some reggae that will include songs in both English and Spanish. El Marauder has a growing fan base and is said to have influences of everything from The Red Hot Chili Peppers to Coldplay and from The Beatles to Black Sabbath.
The first day ends with cover and party band, Third Party consisting of Chris Murphy, Gary Nelson, Chad Johnson, and Brett Hughes taking the stage at 4 p.m.
Playing a little of everything from The Beach Boys and Rolling Stones to Eric Clapton, Foo Fighters and 3 Doors Down, Third Party has been nominated for the MAMA and performed at X-Fest and many other large scale events.
Sunday’s ear candy begins with the Christian music of The White Suit Nation starting off at 10 a.m.
Modesto Roy and the Catfish Boys will crank out their acoustic catalog of music at 11 a.m. Formed by lead singer Roy Blair and guitarist Jim Paras, lead vocalist Blair’s Southern drawl lends itself well as the band works its way through whiskey-soaked country classics by artists like George Jones and Merle Haggard, as well as more contemporary songs by Jason Aldean, Zac Brown and Jamey Johnson.
What do you get when you take a pinch of Rock, a dash of Country, a smidgeon of Punk, and mix it until smooth? You get The Refuzniks and their special blend known as “rock-a-billy” taking the main stage at 1 p.m.
Consisting of Devon Boyd on guitar and vocals, Keith Breedlove on upright bass, and “Mad Dog” Manson on drums, The Refuzniks are a must-see show. Whether playing classic “rock-a-billy” satisfying the demanding tastes of punk rockers, or playing for lovers of all things Rock ‘n Roll, The Rezfuzniks are known to “tear it up” at every show they play.
Modesto based Texas Funk closes the musical entertainment taking the main stage at 3 p.m. with their Latin Funk and progressive tunes. Texas Funk was formed in 2005 by brothers Esteban Gloria and Rob Gloria and their father, a Texas native, Beto Gloria.
The bands that perform at the Chocolate Festival do so at no cost to organizers.
“The performing groups are very generous at heart,” said Krippner. “It’s their chance to perform in front of thousands.”