Headliners make splash at Folsom Live

Folsom Live
By: Don Chaddock, Telegraph Managing Editor
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Performers such as Los Lobos, Ronnie Milsap and Eddie Money aren’t necessarily names associated with the area, but this year’s Folsom Live music festival is about to change that perception. Pat Benatar was originally scheduled to perform Sept. 23, but she cancelled her 2011 tour dates due to her guitarist husband being injured. Eddie Money replaces her that night. Those acts, as well at 27 others, are taking the spotlight Sept. 23-24 in Folsom’s two-day music fest. Organizers are expecting up to 8,000 people to attend over the two days. Money, who had a strings of hits in the late 1970s and mid-1980s, is known for such popular songs as “Two Tickets to Paradise,” “Think I’m in Love,” “” and “Take Me Home Tonight.” Money hasn’t stopped touring. His concert in historic Folsom is booked between concerts in Texas, Connecticut and North Carolina. His most recent album is 2007’s “Wanna Go Back.” He performs at 9:20 p.m. Friday. Milsap recently released a new album, “Country Again,” in which he returns to his country roots. The singer has had 40 No. 1 hits and sold more than 35 million records. To his credit he also has seven Grammy Awards, four Academy of Country Music Awards and eight Music Association Awards. “I came to town to sing country music,” Milsap said in a statement. “And when left to my own devices, around the house, it’s what I love to sing. It all dates back to my roots in North Carolina, and it’s in my blood. … I’ve been very fortunate to have had a lot of successful records. … Now it’s time to make some more.” Born in the mountain town of Robbinsville, NC, Milsap was raised by his bluegrass-loving father and his grandparents in the unincorporated Meadow Branch community in western North Carolina. Each weekend, the struggling family gathered around a battery-powered radio and tuned in to the “Grand Ole Opry” on WSM, listening to Roy Acuff, Ernest Tubb and other greats. He attended a school for the blind in Raleigh, emerging with enhanced musical knowledge and a love of rock, pop and other non-Appalachian forms of music, he said. Milsap performs 8:45-10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24. The third headliner is three-time Grammy winning Los Lobos, probably best known for their hit “La Bamba,” used in the 1987 hit film of the same name starring Lou Diamond Phillips as Ritchie Valens. Los Lobos bandmates are Louie Perez on drums, guitars, percussion, vocals; Steve Berlin on saxophone, percussion, flute, midsax, harmonica, melodica; Cesar Rosas on vocals, guitar, mandolin; Conrad Lozano on bass, guitarron, vocals; David Hidalgo on vocals, guitar, accordion, percussion, bass, keyboards, melodica, drums, violin, banjo; and Cougar Estrada on drums/percussion. A rare example of longevity in the music world, Los Lobos’ lineup has remained uninterrupted since 1984, when saxophonist/keyboardist Steve Berlin joined original members Pérez, Hidalgo, Rosas and Lozano, each of whom had been there since the beginning in 1973. More than three decades have passed since Los Lobos released their first album, “Just Another Band from East L.A.” Los Lobos performs 7-8:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24. This is the first year Folsom Live has garnered national acts. “The ultimate goal for Folsom Live is to develop a music festival that will be an economic driver and showcase for the city,” said Mary Ann McAlea, with the Folsom Tourism Bureau and Chamber of Commerce. “We are a good host city for events and people are always looking for things to do.” She said getting headliners this year was a natural evolution for the event. “In the growth strategy (for Folsom Live), the opportunity to bring headliners would grow the event,” she said. “Folsom Live has always been about music.” She said reaction has been positive regarding the acts. “I think it tells people there is a commitment to growing the event,” McAlea said. “Getting people (to attend) from the region is huge. If they just drive by us on Highway 50, they don’t know what we have to offer.” Some changes to the layout are also in store. The main stage, usually located at the railroad turntable, will be moved to the Trader Lane parking lot. Dianne Rogers, with the chamber of commerce, said Folsom Live is one of the organization’s biggest events. “Folsom Live and the Folsom Pro Rodeo are the two biggest fundraisers of the year,” Rogers said. In all, 30 bands are scheduled to perform on 10 stages over the two-night event. To learn more, visit