Valley News -

By Tony Ault
Staff Writer 

'Idyllwild Strong' weekend music festival to delight tourists and help local residents


Last updated 8/16/2019 at 12:30am

The mountain resort village of Idyllwild, still reeling from the economic disaster wrought from the Feb. 14 Superstorm is staging a comeback with “Idyllwild Strong,” a second annual benefit festival, Aug. 16-18, with 100 bands and entertainment for all.

Idyllwild residents and its many tourist businesses have suffered their greatest economic downturn in history because of the superstorm that tore out huge sections of Highways 74 and 243, the only roads leading to the community from the Valley and desert communities. The special event sponsors urged attendees to use the two highways that will be open under escort Saturday and Sunday.

“Idyllwild is a very small and close-knit community,” Brian Parnell, the event coordinator said. “When one of us is suffering, it’s felt by many. When the whole town is suffering, you feel it everywhere. Idyllwild banded together after the Cranston Fire in a way that I’ve never seen. But only six months after last year’s festival that storm did more damage than any of us thought was possible.

“Idyllwild Strong is a way to help us try and heal. We’re trying to level out the scales again and save our local businesses. All the love and support from neighboring communities has been amazing. We still need all the help we can get,” Parnell said. “This event is free and open to all ages. I’d encourage people to carpool as parking can be very limited when town is busy. There are many local inns within walking distance to town if you plan to stay for the weekend. Campgrounds are filling up fast. Visiting will give you information on road conditions, local lodging, restaurants and other frequently asked questions.”

Nonprofits groups, the Young Idyllwild, Inc. and Idyllwild HELP Center will have volunteers on hand to direct visitors. Parnell said the nonprofits have been providing help to needy residents or businesses adversely affected by the highway reconstruction projects since the 2017 Cranston Fire and this year’s storm damaged highway closures.

Caltrans has temporarily opened Highway 74 from Hemet to Mountain Center under escort in the early mornings and evenings to midnight during the week in good weather after an appeal from the Idyllwild residents. The festival is all free and open to all ages and will include more than 100 local and regional bands who will play on six stages during the three-day festival. Most all the village store and restaurants will be open, and many vendors are chipping in to help the community.

Caltrans and Riverside County Transportation Commission will open Highway 74, under escort, Saturday and Sunday leading to the festival. Friday traffic from Hemet to Mountain Center is only allowed under escort from 6-8 a.m. and again from 4 p.m. to midnight.

Access to Idyllwild from Temecula and the southwestern Riverside County cities is still available from Highway 79 east to Highway 371 north through Anza, and from there to Highway 74 west to Mountain Center that connects with northbound Highway 243 to Idyllwild.

Parnell said the first day of the festival will feature 39 different bands playing on the stages from 2 p.m. and into the evening hours. The main stage schedule includes “Idylledm” at 2:30 p.m .; “Bicycle Day Matinee” at 3:30 p.m .; “Bitterpants” at 4:30 p.m .; Taylor Briggs at 5:30 p.m., and Jesika Von Rabbit at 7 p.m. At 8:30 p.m., there will be a well-known but yet to be announced band, sure to surprise everyone.

The other five stages will feature other bands still to be announced, continuing through Sunday evening. Music will reign all through the weekend with good weather expected both days.

Tony Ault can be reached by email at [email protected]


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