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Elk Grove Citizen

Music Fest Rocks Old Town

May 23, 2024 03:55PM ● By Matthew Malone

Chevo Barboza, lead singer of Helios, smiles during the Latin rock band’s performance at the Elk Grove Musical Festival. Photo by Matthew Malone

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ELK GROVE, CA (MPG) - The inaugural Elk Grove Music Festival gathered a lineup of rock and country bands to Old Town Plaza on May 18. While attendees listened to the live music, they visited an array of food and craft vendors, and a beer, wine and spirits garden.
Presented by the city of Elk Grove, the one-day festival was the brainchild of Enrique Silva, owner of Coatza Brewing Co. in Old Elk Grove.
The event opened with the National Anthem performed by Sacramento singer Brian Rose. Afterward, students of the School of Rock took the stage.
The Elk Grove branch of the music education franchise is located in Old Elk Grove, just across the railroad tracks from the plaza. Thirteen members of the school’s House Band performed covers from the pop rock of Paramore to the heavy metal of Korn. Solos gave various musicians a chance to show off their skills.
Maddy Vine, director of early education for School of Rock Northern California, said the program teaches students how to perform on stage, in addition to playing music.
“We talk a lot about stage presence, how you look on stage. … We’ve got kids whipping their hair out, we’ve got soloists stepping forward to shred. Stage presence and persona is a big part of the charisma of rock ‘n’ roll music and what we try to embody here at School of Rock,” Vine said.
The band will also learn about the lives of traveling musicians when it goes on tour this year, starting in Cleveland and traveling to Nashville. Besides playing gigs, the students will visit landmarks like the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Vine said the band’s set at the music festival was “spectacular.”
“I think this is one of their most successful gigs thus far, and I say that pretty much every time, but I really mean it right now,” Vine said.
Up next was Latin rock band Helios, which was originally based in San Jose but came to Sacramento after its drummer, Ricky Méndez, moved there and “loved the feeling.”
The band performed all its songs in Spanish, but Méndez told the audience that “we play in the universal language of music.”
The other acts were country and honky-tonk musician Geoffrey Miller, alternative rock cover band Inverness95 and Whiskey Kiss, which played country, classic rock and pop covers. Closing out the night was headliner Buck Ford, a country musician. 
Elk Grove City Councilmember Darren Suen told the Herald that he enjoyed seeing School of Rock’s local musicians perform.
“I’m just really thankful for Enrique Silva and Coatza for putting this together,” Suen said.
 “I think the music and food is something that we can all appreciate and is another thing that brings community together. And so I think this to me is like a test case of what we can do. I think we can go even bigger, and I know we’ve got some other things in the works, and this is a proving ground right now,” Suen said.