Music News & Reviews

Summerland 2015 makes festival out of annual rock tour

Artists You Should Know: Stoneshiver

Stoneshiver is the four-piece hard rock band from guitarist singer Jesse Wilkin, guitatist James Davis, bassist Jaco Jimenez and drummer Phil Hernandez. Started in 2001, the band has played hundreds of shows on the West Coast and done opening sl
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Stoneshiver is the four-piece hard rock band from guitarist singer Jesse Wilkin, guitatist James Davis, bassist Jaco Jimenez and drummer Phil Hernandez. Started in 2001, the band has played hundreds of shows on the West Coast and done opening sl

Art Silva went into planning mode the minute he confirmed a Fresno date for the Summerland tour and realized it would land on a weekend.

“Immediately, my head started spinning,” says Silva, who runs the local promotions team The Artourage.

He took the national tour – created and curated by Art Alexakis of the ’90s rock act Everclear – and turned it into a daylong music festival.

More than 40 bands play across six stages at Fresno’s Regional Sports Park. It will be the biggest event Silva has done in three years working as The Artourage.

“I sort of went crazy,” says Silva, who contacted (or was contacted by) more than 40 local vendors and community organizations that will be part of the event.

Summerland 2015 starts at noon Saturday, Aug. 15. Here, we give you a preview of all the festivities.

The Summerland tour debuted in 2012, as a ’90s rock revival showcase.

The tour bands

Summerland debuted in 2012 as a ’90s revival tour, with Everclear, Gin Blossoms, Lit, Marcy Playground and Sugar Ray. Each band played truncated sets with an emphasis on the hits. Summerland wasn’t the time to be pulling out the deep cuts.

The tour proved so popular (and so much fun) that Alexakis made it an annual summer event, with his band headlining a rotating lineup of ’90s rockers. Past lineups have included Live, Filter and Sponge. Last year’s tour (which came to Visalia’s Fox Theatre) included Eve 6, Soul Asylum and Spacehog.

This year Everclear is joined by Fuel, the Toadies and American Hi-Fi.

It is Alexakis’ favorite lineup to date.

“I say that every year and it’s true,” he says via phone in advance of the concert show.

But Summerland is not some nostalgic reunion tour. While the bands all had success in the late ’90s and/or early 2000s, they continue to be working rock bands, Alexakis says. He likens the tour to an old-school rock ’n’ roll review. He calls it a “low dough” event.

Ticket prices are kept to a minimum.

“The bands aren’t getting rich, but we’re making money playing music in the summertime,” Alexakis says.

If you open yourself to it, you’re gonna get kicked in the teeth with some great music.

Art Alexakis, founder of Summerland tour

The festival bands

To make the tour into a true festival, Silva pulled in a handful of his favorite touring acts and paired them with dozens of local bands, including retro rockers The Red Coats, Stoneshiver (this week’s Artist You Should Know) and Valkyrie Missile, which is using the opportunity to release its new album.

Ex-Misfits singer Michael Graves will be doing a punk-rock set in full skeleton makeup — a rarity for the singer — along with Los Angeles comedy rock band Green Jelly, Death Division (featuring Hellyeah bassist Jerry Montano), Requiem and the Black Tigers, which features members of Santa Cruz’s horror-rock band Stellar Corpses. There will also be an EDM stage featuring a dozen electronic musicians including The Devils Rejexxts, Dialectz and Lë Bëk.

The other stuff

Of course, the festival is more than the music. There also will be barbecue, pizza, shaved-ice and beer (for those over 21). The bikini coffee shop Bottoms Up Espresso will be running a charity dunk tank and selling drinks from its mobile coffee truck. Fresno’s Tac-Ops is setting up a free laser-tag battlefield.

The writers and directors of “The Gallows” will be on site (with the movie’s titular stage prop) promoting their new haunted attraction, and local UFO/ghost enthusiasts/investigators from Paranormal Central are bringing out their research vehicle.

For the younger set (like children), California Jumping will have some inflatable fun. The company will be joined by the Discovery Center and Fresno Chaffee Zoo’s Zoomobile.

Since Silva started planning the event in October, the festival has taken on a life of its own and new stuff is being added almost daily, he says.

“I have a hard time saying no.”

The Summerland Tour

Festival preview

  • Noon, Saturday, Aug. 15
  • Fresno Regional Sports Park, 1707 W. Jensen Ave.
  • Tickets: $35, all-ages, VIP available
  • Facebook.com/TheArtourage

ARTIST YOU SHOULD KNOW

Stoneshiver

The basics: Stoneshiver is the four-piece hard rock band from guitarist singer Jesse Wilkin, guitarist James Davis, bassist Jaco Jimenez and drummer Phil Hernandez. Started in 2001, the band has played hundreds of shows on the West Coast and done opening slots for bands like Powerman 5000, Adema and Alien Ant Farm. Stoneshiver disbanded in 2008, but has reunited for a couple of choice shows, including Summerland 2015.

Releases: The band self-recorded and released two albums, 2006’s “Tragedy” and “Welcome to the Show” in 2008.

Find out more: You can find Stoneshiver online at facebook.com/stoneshiver or @stoneshiver on Twitter and Instagram. See a video interview with the band at www.fresnobee.com/entertainment

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