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Kate Wolf Music Festival Review

Photograph of the blog post author, Annika Hope

Annika Hope


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Kate Wolf Music Festival

What Is The Kate Wolf Festival?

The Kate Wolf Music Festival is an annual music festival held in Laytonville, California that celebrates the legacy of the late folk singer and songwriter Kate Wolf. The festival has been held every year since 1998 and is a three-day event that brings together some of the best folk, Americana, and roots music performers in the world.

The festival is held in the beautiful Black Oak Ranch, a sprawling ranch in Mendocino County that is home to a variety of wildlife and stunning views of the surrounding area. The festival grounds feature camping, workshops, and plenty of space to enjoy the music.

The festival is a celebration of Kate Wolf’s music, her life, and her legacy. Each year, the festival features a variety of performers who have been influenced by Kate’s music. Performers range from established acts to up-and-coming artists, and the festival also features special guest appearances from friends and family of Kate.

Each year, the festival also features a variety of workshops and activities. These activities include songwriting workshops, jam sessions, and even a Kate Wolf look-alike contest. There are also plenty of vendors selling food, drinks, and merchandise.

The annual Kate Wolf Music Festival is a wonderful place to relax and enjoy a great weekend with friends, family, and lovers of fabulous music. Black Oak Ranch, the Mendocino home to the Hog Farm and Camp Winnarainbow-a circus camp for kids, is three hours north of San Francisco and two hours south of Arcata.

Kate Wolf Bio

Kate Wolf (1942-1986) was an American folk singer-songwriter who rose to prominence in the 1970s and 1980s. She wrote and performed a wide range of songs, from traditional folk to contemporary folk-rock. Her music was highly influential in the revival of acoustic folk music in the United States. She was a major influence on the singer-songwriter movement of the 1970s and 1980s, and her songs have been covered by many artists, including Emmylou Harris and Nanci Griffith. Her music is still popular today, and her albums are widely available.

Kate Wolf repopularized folk music in Northern California in the 1970’s and went on to national recognition before her untimely passing in 1986 of leukemia.

Kate Wolf 2023 Festival

This year, the Kate Wolf Music Festival is running on a slightly different format, as they will be presenting a benefit concert for the Freight & Salvage w/ Bruce Cockburn & Ruthie Foster.

The event will take place at the beautiful Coventry Grove amphitheater in Kensington, on Saturday, June 24, 2023, at 4 pm PDT.

Bruce Cockburn and Ruthie Foster will both perform solo sets and be on stage together for this special benefit on what would normally have been the Saturday of the Kate Wolf Music Festival weekend.

The venue has a limited capacity of 225. There will be some food and beverage available for sale.

Coventry Grove is located at 500 Coventry Road, in Kensington (in the Berkeley Hills).

Please be aware that this is an outdoor event in a residential neighborhood.

Doors open at 3 pm, concert begins at 4 pm.

Kate Wolf Festival Features

Every year, you would usually expect to see the following at the festival. 

  • Four stages of Music on 150 acres
  • Beautiful On Site Camping In Old Growth Oak Trees
  • International Food Court
  • Workshops
  • Kids’ Area
  • Hatha Yoga & Tai-Chi
  • Music Jamming Area
  • Flowing creek
  • Hobo Jungle

Past Events

Over the years, there have been many artists who have taken part in this festival, such as Taj Mahal, Ani DiFranco, Bruce Cockburn, Darlene Love, Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Ruthie Foster, Rainbow Girls, The Wood Brothers and many more. All of these artists played at the festival last year in honor of Kate Wolf. 

Taj Mahal 

Bruce Cockburn

Ruthie Foster

Rainbow Girls 

The Wood Brothers

Cumulus Presents, Inc.

Cumulus Presents, Inc., formerly Cumulus Productions, has been producing music festivals and concerts since 1995; the first year of the Sebastopol Celtic Music Festival.  The following year, 1996, saw the beginning of the Kate Wolf Memorial Music Festival, in the form of a one day Retrospective at Caswell Vineyards.

At the beginning of 2002 Cumulus Productions became Cumulus Presents, Inc., and in 2008 it joined forces with Long Valley Events, LLC and Dansun Productions, LLC to form a new entity, Back Roads Productions, LLC. This new partnership oversees the annual Kate Wolf Memorial Music Festival at Black Oak Ranch.


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