The Redding Civic Redd Sun Festival
● By Jordan Venema
Redd Sun Rising
Story by Jordan Venema
ACCORDING TO ADVANCE Redding’s Nathan Parmelee, the Redding Civic Auditorium had its largest concentration of shows in the history of the venue between February and June, which makes it all the more surprising the city considered closing the auditorium as recently as 2010. But thanks to a contract with nonprofit Advance Redding, which took over management of the facility from the city in early 2012, the venue has found new life. Now they’re planning to build on that momentum by hosting Redding’s first large-scale music festival, the Redd Sun Festival, on Sept. 29 and 30.
“In our management of the venue, our perspective is about maximizing the opportunity of the venue and serving the needs of our community, even outside of Redding,” says Parmalee, the marketing director and talent buyer for the auditorium.
Since Advance Redding partnered with the city, more than $1 million has been invested into improving the venue, with bigger bands playing its stage. The approximate 2,000-seat auditorium has sold out multiple shows, with diverse headliners including Korn, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Bonnie Raitt and Modest Mouse.
“In the midst of that (success),” says Parmalee, “we decided to kick off this music festival, which we’ve been talking about doing for years.”
But it wasn’t easy to set the stage for such a large festival, continues Parmalee.
“We’ve had some acts that people are surprised we’ve been able to attract to a community like Redding, because from an industry perspective, Redding is considered a tertiary market – the lowest priority on the scale.”
Due to its location, most musicians touring from cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco to Seattle or Portland drive through Redding on their rest day. But by building relationships with band management, Parmelee has been able to attract bands to what has previously been something of a musical island.
Now the Redding Civic Auditorium is poised to host a two-day festival that will more than double its usual capacity. While the auditorium can seat 2,200 people, the Redd Sun Festival expects to daily host 5,000 attendees in the outdoor space in front of the venue.
“We are coming to terms with our own capacity to do something large, and realizing that we are able to execute on that well,” says Parmelee.
The festival’s lineup will represent two genres, with rock performances on Sept. 29, including bands Floater, Lit, Candlebox and headliner AWOL Nation, and country performances on Sept. 30, including bands David Luning, Carly Pearce, Frankie Ballard and headliner Eli Young Band. An additional band will be announced for each lineup.
Gates open at 1 pm with music starting at 3 pm. One-day passes start at $85, though ticket options include a VIP section and two-day passes. The festival will include vendors, activities, drinks and food.
“We’re also working on a large art installation,”
The decision to create a festival that features two genres was simple, he continues. “As a marketing director, I focus on the taste of our community, and what kind of acts our community wants to see. But we’re also wanting to bring more visitors, and one of the ways to do that is to create
more diversity in the market and give people more things
to do.” By attracting an outside audience, the Redd Sun Festival should have economic incentives for the city, including sales at local businesses, restaurants and hotels. Based off former ticket sales at the auditorium, Parmelee expects the Redd Sun Festival to do just that.
“When we book larger acts, our patrons are actually coming from a three- to four-hour radius,” he says. “We had Modest Mouse here in May, and they sold out the venue,” with 60 percent of those tickets coming from outside Redding and as far as the south Bay Area.
But more than just economic benefit to the city, Parmelee hopes the festival will be a way for the community to come together in the wake of the Carr Fire.
“We would love to be able to give back to the community in this very hard time, and it can be a time for the community to come together and rally and celebrate what makes Redding great,” says Parmelee.
“I’ve been moved and astounded at the generosity of this community, and how neighbors are serving one another, and how friends and colleagues are serving one another, and donating their time and resources. And I know that spirit will be alive at the festival and celebrated at the festival, and we will be looking for ways to facilitate that.” •
Redd Sun Festival • September 29, 30
Redding Civic Auditorium
700 Auditorium Drive
Box Office: (530) 229-0022
Press release below includes updated information regarding the Redd Sun Festival:
REDDING CIVIC AUDITORIUM, FESTIVAL ARTISTS TO TURN REDD SUN FESTIVAL INTO CARR FIRE BENEFIT SHOW
REDDING, Calif. (August 23, 2018) – The Carr Fire has changed the face and heart of Shasta and Trinity Counties, so it was only natural that Redding’s upcoming major music festival would be affected, but rather than call it off and lay low, the two-day outdoor music festival on Sept. 29-30 will embrace the opportunity to give back to the community in a show of strength.
Redding Civic Auditorium, the organization putting on the festival, will donate 100% of net proceeds from ticket sales, plus $5 from every ticket purchased, to Shasta Regional Community Foundation’s Carr Fire Relief Fund. The festival is estimated to cost $500,000for the two days, so a sold-out festival would account for a net donation of $200,000. Additionally, headliners including Awolnation, Candlebox, Frankie Ballard, and Carly Pearce have pledged their support of the benefit efforts with both time and money, and more festival artists are expected to add contributions in the coming weeks. The total combined donation from net proceeds, tickets purchased, and artist contributions could make the festival’s gift to the fund come in at a quarter of a million dollars.
“We just couldn’t cancel,” says Nathan Parmelee, Talent Buyer and Marketing Director for the festival. “We felt that after everything our community has been through, they deserve the chance to have fun and see some amazing bands, and we’re looking forward to supporting the rebuilding in our community.”
The fires impacted the Redding Civic Auditorium team, with several team members being evacuated and one losing her home. Parmelee contacted the eight bands in the festival’s lineup to see how they felt about the event in the wake of the disaster, and both the artists and the Civic team agreed the show must go on.
And yes, the name of the festival, chosen months before the fire started, has taken on a new significance since the smoky air turned the sun bright red. “It’s a little uncanny,” admits Parmelee, “but we see it as an opportunity to rally and come out of this experience stronger than ever. We would love for the festival to be a chance to prove our community’s resilience.”
The first day of the festival features rock headliner Awolnation, currently receiving major airplay on rock radio and having sat on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with its hit, “Handyman.” Awolnation’s previous Billboard hits include “Sail,” “I Am,” and “Hollow Moon.” They will take the festival’s big outdoor stage at 9PM on Sept. 29, following sets by fellow rock bands Candlebox, Lit, and Floater. Candlebox is best known for its hit, “Far Behind,” and Lit’s top charting hit was “My Own Worst Enemy.” Floater is based out of Portland, O.R., and has a significant Northern California following.
The Sept. 30 lineup features county music headliner Eli Young Band, which has had five hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart including “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” “Crazy Girl,” and “Drunk Last Night.” Eli Young Band sold out Redding Civic Auditorium in 2014, and will kick off its 2018 set at 9PM following a set by Frankie Ballard, whose Billboard hits include “Sunshine & Whiskey,” “Helluva Life,” and “Young & Crazy.” Carly Pearce, known for her hit song, “Every Little Thing,” is scooping up awards and shooting up the charts. She’ll play at 5:30PM on Sunday, following opener David Luning, a rising country star from the Bay Area.
Redd Sun is also adding a new face to the Sunday lineup: country’s Faren Rachels, the fresh voice behind the songs “Uber Driver” and “Free Drinks”, among others.
One or two-day general admission or VIP passes are available for purchase. VIPs will enjoy premium viewing, hors d’oeuvres, and their own bar and restrooms. Tickets can be purchased online at ReddSunFestival.com or by calling 530-229-0022.