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First Annual L.A. Acoustic Music Festival

SANTA MONICA, CA (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The L.A. Acoustic Music Festival, featuring a world-class lineup of artists, makes its debut over the weekend of June 6-7, 2009 on the beautiful Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. Kicking off this new musical tradition are Nanci Griffith, Bruce Cockburn, Natalie MacMaster, Richard Thompson, David Lindley, David Bromberg & the Angel Band, Jimmy LaFave, Eliza Gilkyson, Slaid Cleaves, Joel Rafael, Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion, The Woody Guthrie Tribute (Ribbon of Highway, Endless Skyway), The Refugees and Stonehoney. The two-day celebration of acoustic music — which takes place during the Pier's 100th Anniversary year –benefits the California Acoustic Music Project (CAMP).

The lineup for Saturday, June 6 will open with the Refugees, the all-female "power band" of Wendy Waldman ("Save the Best for Last"), Deborah Holland, and Cindy Bullens, followed by Joel Rafael, Eliza Gilkyson, and the extraordinary Jimmy LaFave, named "Best Singer-Songwriter" by Austin Music Awards, playing what he calls "red dirt music." After the dinner break, Richard Thompson, the iconic British folk rock legend and one of the world's most critically acclaimed singers, songwriters and guitarists, will take the stage, followed by Natalie MacMaster, the virtuoso Cape Breton fiddler. Bringing it home as the final act of the evening will be Bruce Cockburn, rocking the festival stage with his own brand of acoustic folk-jazz-based music that has expanded to include reggae and a harder jazz-fusion-tinged rock.

Leading off the lineup on Sunday, June 7 will be Sarah Lee Guthrie (granddaughter of Woody Guthrie) and Johnny Irion; Austin singer/songwriter Slaid Cleaves; and Stonehoney, with its neo-California country-rock sound. In the afternoon, the deeply inspiring Woody Guthrie tribute (by the band Ribbon of Highway, Endless Skyway) will pay homage to America's greatest troubadour.

Sunday evening will continue the massive talent lineup with David Bromberg & the Angel Band, followed by David Lindley, one of Southern California's prototype singer/songwriters, known also for his guitar work in Jackson Browne's recorded legacy. The festival will conclude on a high note with Nanci Griffith performing her acclaimed brand of what Rolling Stone has described as "folkabilly" music.

The California Acoustic Music Project (CAMP), to which proceeds from the event will be contributed, is a 501c(3) organization that provides artists-in-residence to schools on a salaried, ongoing basis through the curriculum of the Americana Project in order to ensure that every student gets the experience of music instruction every day. Instruments (primarily guitars, mandolins and banjos) are also provided, and songwriting, instrumentation and performance are taught. Each semester culminates in both a CD project and a concert performance.

According to festival promoter Renee Bodie, "My heart has always been to get the music out there, in whatever way it can. Los Angeles isn't broken, but it has become very disconnected. This is about our community, and being able to buck the odds and have a celebration of acoustic music in a time when our hearts need it the most."

The L.A. Acoustic Music Festival debuts in a year in which the venerable Claremont Folk Festival is on a one-year hiatus, making the event even more indispensible for fans of folk and Americana music.

The Santa Monica Pier is the spot for this music festival, alive with a variety of entertainment, dining and shopping experiences, including the thrill rides of Pacific Park, a historic 1922 Carousel and an interactive aquarium. With its inspired line-up and location featuring a laid-back beach atmosphere, cool ocean breezes and gorgeous sunsets, the L.A. Acoustic Music Festival is one of the very best summer offerings of 2009. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers