Idyllwild plans big music fundraiser this weekend

Some 60 bands to entertain inside 12 venues during free festival

Photo by Chris Smith / The Valley Chronicle
Idyllwild visitors Janet and Steve Merrill of Minneapolis, Minn., pose in front of Idyllwild’s most iconic landmark, the carved statue of a bear and mountain lion family on display in the town center.

■ By Chris Smith / Advisory Editor

Idyllwild is planning a big music festival this weekend to raise money for fire victims and help struggling local businesses. It’s free and open to all ages.
Dubbed the Cranston Fire Benefit Festival, the event will run from Friday – Sunday, Aug. 17-19, at 12 different venues from city hall to the American Legion post and numerous bars and restaurants in between. More than 60 music bands and artists will perform. There is no charge for admission, but there will be donation stations at the 12 participating venues plus raffles and silent auctions for more than 100 items of value that have been donated to help the cause. Festival hours are Friday, 3-10 p.m.; Saturday, noon-10 p.m.; and Sunday, noon-8 p.m.
Familiarly called Idyllwild Strong, the 501c3 event is presented by Young Idyllwild and Soroptimist International of Idyllwild. All monies raised will be dispersed among the fire victims, some of whom lost their homes and everything in them. All donations made will be tax deductible.
“It should be amazing,” says organizer Brian Parnell, who managed to help put the event together on a moment’s notice. “Bands, donors, and people are coming together faster than anyone would have believed possible.” He urged anyone who plans to spend the night in the town to make reservations as soon as possible.
The Cranston Fire burned more than 13,000 acres in and around Idyllwild including residents’ houses and all property within, much of which was completely destroyed. The fire was set by an arsonist on July 25. While the community has come together since the fire, many people are still in dire need of help, especially those who lost everything in the blaze.
The response from the town, as well as neighboring communities, has been enthusiastic, and the festival is expected to bring much needed revenue to local businesses in Idyllwild as well as provide relief for those victims who need it most.
Venues include The American Legion Post 800, Mountain Maniacs Arcade, Idyology, Town Hall, Middle Ridge Winery, The Backroom, Fratello’s, The Lumber Mill, Bear Claw Tattoo, Plant Food Supper Club, Higher Grounds, and Merkaba.
Guest performers include: 1 Step Forward, Aquarius Soul, Black Water Gospel, Carlos Reynosa, Change Required, Chelsea Sugarbritches and Bobby Taffolla, Christian Chalifour, Cole Withers, Corey McCoy, Dark Canyon, David Jerome, David the Page, Daytime Moon, Desert Chavez, Dude Jones, Dustin Blank, Electric Howlers, Ella Walker and the Final Take, Ernesto Ale, Fever Dream, Frankeaststhefloor, Gemini Anderson, Great Suspenders, Hill Williams, House of Broken Promises, IdyllEDM, Idyllwild Poets, James Velasquez, Keenwild, Kelly Armantage, Kristi King, Lance Riebsomer, LankyJay, Mark Gregg and Misty Howell, Matt Clayborn, Mikele Kreitner, Pentagrams and Daisies, Rival Alaska, Ryatt, Sam Kesler, Sammy Busby, Second Breakfast, Sticky Doll, Sunday Funeral, Sunshine Supermen, The After Lashes, The Barstow Prophets, The Flusters, The Gang Band, The Mother Funkers, The Whining Pu**ys, Throw the Goat, Tim Jahelka, Trains Hitting Cars, Unity Frenzy, UU, and Whiskey Dick Rebellion.
For those interested in spending the night, they can check,,
and the usual hotel reservation websites like,, and
The converted Idyllwild fire truck, which holds 22 people, will be transporting people around town, and parking will be available behind the Rustic Theatre, Strawberry Creek Village, and The Fort, as well as at the various bed and breakfasts where people might stay.
A precautionary note, the CHP is still escorting motorists up and down a portion of State Route 74 from Hemet during the day as workers complete repairs to signs and guardrails, so prepare for delays averaging 15 minutes to a half hour. Access routes from Palm Springs on SR 74, and Banning via SR 243, are clear. Also, drivers are encouraged to pay attention to their driving and not be distracted by the sight of burned-up hillsides as they pass through the fire zone.
For more information, visit, or contact Brian Parnell at

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