They say that music brings people together, and on Thursday, June 30th, the town of Wrightwood came together in harmonious company for the opening night of Music in the Pines. The highly anticipated summer concert series was held at the Community Building parking lot from 6 pm-9 pm and brought an estimated crowd of 250-300 people, according to Dan Campbell, who helped launch Music in the Pines in 2005. Campbell has been an integral part of the event and, as a musician himself, has the knowledge and qualifications to assist in booking bands for the event. When asked about his music selection process, he said, “I pick things that are different. I also wanted the anchor band to be centered around dancing.” The performers accomplished just that during the event’s successfully entertaining first night.
The event kicked off with the traditional Latin sounds of Mariachi Aguila Real band. The mariachi group is from Victorville and performs for private parties and events. This was their first time performing at Music in the Pines, and it did not go unnoticed by some of the more dedicated spectators that night. Marilyn Hollander, a resident of the neighboring town Valyermo, has been attending Music in the Pines since it was previously held at the Apple Farm on Hwy 2. Hollander stated, “They never had mariachis! We’re very happy and appreciate the diversity.” The band brought a fun energy and played recognizable songs such as La Bamba and Bidi Bidi Bom Bom. The night continued with a performance by Gina Graham and special guests Danny “Ragz” Rich & Tailor Made. The band came from Riverside and performed blues, rock, and soul music. As the sun began to set, a flood of audience members danced in front of the stage, and even on top of picnic tables, to popular songs like Superstition and Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours by Stevie Wonder.
The series continued with a performance on Thursday, July 14th. Local Wrightwood band Windy Ridge opened the show and performed country music with a folk flair. Band member Michelle Schneider mentioned it was their first time performing at Music in the Pines since the guitar trio has only been playing together for less than a year. That didn’t intimidate the band from serenading the crowd with the popular country ballad Tennessee Whiskey. Windy Ridge was followed by seasoned Music in the Pines headliner, Wild Side. The band played classic rock music and brought the crowd out of their lawn chairs and onto their feet with covers from The Eagles, Pink Floyd, and Fleetwood Mac. The highlight of the concert was when they invited Music in the Pines director, Claudia Campbell (no relation to Dan Campbell), onto the stage to sing Proud Mary for a dancing crowd. Wild Side composed themselves as true rock stars and even sold tee shirts and band merchandise, which fans proudly wore during the concert. The rock show even included an encore, and the band continued their set well past the 9:00 pm scheduled end-time.
Concert goers and performers weren’t the only ones looking forward to the return of the musical event. Local businesses and vendors were set up around the parking lot and offered a variety of food and drinks for purchase. Mexico Lindo Restaurant cooked authentic Mexican food while Mile High Pizza served pizza by the slice. Sweet treats and desserts were provided by Rose Noir Chocolates, and Snowies shaved ice and snow cones. The Village Grind also sold drinks and refreshments. Raffle tickets were advertised to raise money for the event, and prizes included gift cards, custom-made gifts, and unique gift baskets donated from local artisans and businesses.
The concert series will continue on Thursday, July 28th, with an opening performance by rock, blues, and country artist Mike Briggers followed by rock band, The Ravelers. The final show will be on Thursday, August 11th, and will showcase Tyrone Mariner’s “Church of Music.” Concerts are from 6-9 pm at the Wrightwood Community Building parking lot.