Fire forces Strawberry Music Festival out

Strawberry Music FestivalEvery summer, folks in parts of southern California face the threat of wildfires, especially in rural areas. Homes, businesses and roads can quickly find themselves in jeopardy from fast moving fires when the weather is dry.

Now, a fire being described locally as the Rim Fire near Yosemite has forced the popular Strawberry Music Festival out of its long-time home at Camp Mather for its scheduled Labor Day run. Officials have been watching the fire’s path for the past few days, with the Governor having declared a state of emergency, but came to the conclusion yesterday that such a large event could not be allowed to go on.

The official announcement read as follows:

“Due to the ongoing State of Emergency and the potential adverse effects of the wildfire on public health, safety and welfare, the County of Tuolumne cannot allow the Strawberry Music Festival to occur at the site as originally permitted on the dates of August 29 through September 2, 2013.”

At this point, festival organizers have not determined whether they will look for a new site, or postpone the event until a later date.

This year was slated to be the 32nd annual Strawberry Music Festival. They expect to post more details about 2013 early next week on their web site.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.

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  • Darby Brandli

    The latest news (8/23/13)is that the Rim Fire was “bumped” from Camp Mather, the home of the Strawberry Music Festival, by firefighters lighting back fires. This is an out of control event and is threatening hundreds of thousands of acres of forest and small towns and Yosemite Park itself. Smoke has been detected and is ruining air quality at Lake Tahoe and parts of Northern Nevada. This is a huge and tragic fire and doubles and triples in size each day. Firefighters have thus far been able to protect homes, camps, towns and keep the fire in wilderness areas where there is no access for fire fighters except by plane. Evacuations of people and animals continue as the fire rages. Threatened now is Hetch Hetchy which supplies most of the water and power to San Francisco County. Hwy 120, the northern entrance to Yosemite has been closed for days and the fire appears to be approaching Hwy 108 with some of the small communities along its route facing evacuation. The thousands of us who love and attend the Strawberry Music Festival twice a year are breathing a bit easier today knowing the much loved and beautiful Camp Mather is safe for now but not yet out of the woods and we know the journey to Strawberry through once wooded roads will never be the same. This is a tragic event in California.

  • Darby Brandli

    The Rim Fire took another huge “shot” at Camp Mather yesterday (8/26/13)and the amazing team based at the Camp fought it off. All buildings at both Camp Mather and the Evergreen Lodge (adjacent to the festival grounds) are still standing but the area is reportedly pretty scorched. The fire is still burning out of control in Tuolumne and Mariposa counties as we speak and only 20% contained. There are many other homes, camps and forest threatened….this is a beast of a fire and creating its own weather pattern. There will be no news of future plans for the Strawberry Music Festival until this fire burns down and assessment can be made to the area including all power sources. We are grateful that Camp Mather (home of the festival) was spared but other camps have not been so lucky with the complete destruction of the neighboring City of Berkeley Tuolumne Camp (constructed in 1922). Dance a rain dance for us out here in California. Many of our California Bluegrass Association families have relocated due to mandatory evacuations. I am surprised you all cannot smell the smoke.

  • gregg

    Why is it “everything” happens in “Southern” California??? Strawberry is held in NORTHERN California!!!