best of santa cruz county 2019 arts & culture mountain sol music festival

Best of Santa Cruz County 2019: Arts & Culture

The best local festivals, galleries, performers and more

Felton's annual Mountain Sol was voted favorite local music festival


Best Festival (Music)

Mountain Sol

  1. This is a family-friendly festival; just don’t forget a blanket and lawn chairs for everyone to relax on. Get there early for the best spots.
  2. Held every summer at Roaring Camp Railroads in Felton, which is home to century-old steam engines still in operation.
  3. To mitigate parking impacts, the festival now includes a “Sol train” to take attendees to and from Roaring Camp, starting at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
  4. Past headliners include Michael Franti (above), the Wailers, George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. They also feature tons of local bands across the three-day lineup.
  5. A variety of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free food options are available from local vendors. 


Best Theater Company

Jewel Theatre Company

  1. Founded in 2005, Jewel Theatre Company (JTC) operates under a contract with Actors’ Equity Association (the union for professional actors and stage managers in the U.S.) and is dedicated to creating extraordinary productions that explore and advance the art of theatre by entertaining, enlightening and engaging the community. best of santa cruz county 2019 arts jewel theatre
  2. Led by Founder and Artistic Director Julie James, the company is now celebrating its 14th season entertaining the Santa Cruz community with well-known and new eclectic work that includes dramas, musicals and comedies.
  3. JTC is the only year-round professional theatre company in Santa Cruz County.
  4. JTC opened at their current location in the Colligan Theater on the Tannery Arts Campus in 2015. Jones’ choice for the first production in the space was Guys and Dolls because of its fun, upbeat energy.
  5. Their first production of 2019 was Red Velvet (above). Breaking the Code opened on March 20. 


Best Photographer

Devi Pride

  1. Pride has been taking photographs for as long as she can remember. Having won her first camera in a raffle as a child, she began her career extra early on taking photos of her family. best of santa cruz county 2019 arts culture devi pride
  2. She has been voted Best Photographer in the Best of Santa Cruz balloting every year since 2013.
  3. A former dancer, Pride is passionate about photographing local dancers, including the Tannery World Dance and Cultural Center.
  4. She studied history at the University of Toronto and has always had an appreciation for genealogy and passing memories down through her family portraits.
  5. She does all kinds of photography, from headshots to houses, boudoir to babies, maternity to matrimony. She says she keeps a fresh perspective by doing a wide variety of work. 



Art Event

Capitola Art & Wine Festival

RUNNERS-UP First Friday, Open Studios Art Tour


Art Gallery (Retail)

Artisans Gallery

1368 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-8183,

RUNNERS-UP R. Blitzer Gallery, Many Hands Gallery


Artist (Local)

Brayton Furlong

RUNNERS-UP Marie Gabrielle, Ed Penniman


Author (Local)

K.M. Rice

RUNNERS-UP  Laurie R. King, Jonathan Franzen


Dance Studio

Motion Pacific

131 Front St. E, Santa Cruz, 457-1616,

RUNNERS-UP Palomar Ballroom, Tannery World Dance


Festival (Art/Film)

Capitola Art & Wine Festival

RUNNERS-UP Santa Cruz Film Festival, Watsonville Film Festival


Festival (Music)

Mountain Sol

RUNNERS-UP Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, Redwood Mountain Faire


Festival (Street)

Greek Festival

RUNNERS-UP Capitola Art & Wine Festival, Pleasure Point Street Fair


Kids’ Art Program

Studio Sprout

RUNNERS-UP Blue Apple Art, Kaiwa Art and Play Space


Movie Theater


210 Lincoln St., Santa Cruz, 359-4523,

RUNNERS-UP Capitola Cinelux, Del Mar Theatre


Mural/Public Art

Day’s Market

RUNNERS-UP Capitola Trestle, Shopper’s Corner



Museum of Art & History

705 Front St., Santa Cruz, 429-1964,

RUNNERS-UP Seymour Marine Discovery Center, Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History



Devi Pride

RUNNERS-UP Frans Lanting, Shmuel Thaler


Poet (Local)

Jared Harvey

RUNNERS-UP Max Goodwin, Gary Young


Radio Personality (Local)

Rosemary Chalmers


RUNNERS-UP “Ralph Anybody” Jeff Juliano, “Sleepy” John Sandidge


Radio Station





Theater Company

Jewel Theatre

RUNNERS-UP Cabrillo Stage, Santa Cruz Shakespeare



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