Author Archives: Strawberry Music Festival


Max DeLacy at Spring ’16 Strawberry Music Festival

Strawberry is sad to announce that our dear friend, and Stage Manager, Max DeLacy, died this past Tuesday. He passed peacefully at his home, after a quiet and courageous battle with a recent recurrence of adenoid cystic carcinoma. Max’s presence on this planet is now sharply missed and his absence has left a huge hole in so many hearts. Having grown up at Strawberry and in the Columbia music scene, this live music community has played a huge role in Max’s life since the very beginning. Many of you remember him when he was a young tike busking with his fiddle along Hog Ranch Road and/or on the Main Street of Columbia.

Max cultivated his natural aptitude for the behind-the-scenes side of music production into a very successful career and was highly skilled in technical areas such as sound, lighting, rigging, production advance, and stage management. Max perfected his approach to each endeavor in his own subtle style and with a uniquely humble grace. He was well respected in his trade and proud member #134 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE).

He applied that same fervor to the making of music. After having learned and played nearly every stringed instrument known to human, found his passion for the dobro, about 10 years ago. From that time on, he worked diligently to perfect his sound, notation, and instrumentation and even studied under masters of the craft, such as Jerry Douglass, who he deeply admired and modeled his style of playing after. Over the past several years, Max has become one of the best performing artists in the area, a highly sought after musical companion, and a singular force and stalwart advocate for the old time and bluegrass jam scene in Columbia.

Beyond that, Max was one of the nicest people we have ever known, so incredibly kind, and easy to be around. Hundreds of his best friends are deeply connected now in this loss, as is evident by the outpouring of love, shock, and sadness we are all sharing. Besides being our Stage Manager, Max also worked in the Strawberry office regularly for many years and we can hardly fathom our reality without him. A really nice tribute to Max’s life and his musicianship was published on the front page of yesterday’s Union Democrat and can be found by scrolling through to the fifth full feature article. A celebration of his life will be planned for sometime around late June.

We are sending unending love and our deepest condolences to his entire family. We will do our best to keep Max’s spirit alive in the music, as well as in the way we treat each other. Rest in peace, dear friend. You will be profoundly missed.


Hello friends. A lot has happened since we last corresponded, asking for your feedback about Spring 2021. We heard you, and are tremendously grateful for all of your thoughtful comments and incredible kindness.

Many factors have informed this difficult decision. Strawberry has a responsibility to protect the health and safety of festival attendees, staff, vendors, performers, and local residents, as well as our civic responsibility to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The CDC categorizes festivals as posing a high risk of community transmission and there is currently a state mandate in place that festivals cannot take place. Federal officials have recently stated that the timeline for widespread vaccination is late July and a return to normal activity is anticipated sometime before Christmas. Therefore, we feel our best path forward is to spend this time cultivating a truly authentic Strawberry experience, for 2022.

Our mission is to preserve our Americana music camping festival culture. In careful consideration of your feedback, we have become confident that it will not be the real deal until we all feel safe being there. To feel like Strawberry, it is essential that kids, elders, and everyone in between are able to play, sing, dance, eat, drink, laugh, and love (occasionally with wild abandon). We will only endeavor to produce events that meet the Strawberry standard of quality, and will not try to replace that with something else.

Tickets to the Spring 2020 Strawberry Music Festival have more value than ever. We understand that some Spring 2020 ticket holders will not be able to attend next year, and others still will not be able to attend at all, so we have revised our ticket policy accordingly.

  • Spring 2020 tickets will hold the value of their product description for the ticket holder’s choice of the next four festivals, at the Nevada County Fairgrounds. In other words, a 4-Day Camping ticket to Spring 2020, will be good for a 4-Day Camping to the Spring 2022, 2023, 2024, or 2025 Strawberry Music Festival, regardless of the price at that time. With this option, customers will be able to keep their collectible 2020 pandemic ticket and new tickets will be issued. More instructions, about how to exchange for another festival, are to follow.
  • Tickets to the Spring 2022 Festival will go on sale, at a whole new price level, on Monday, November 1st 2021.
  • Some of our supporters have expressed an interest in donating money and/or tickets back to the cause. Your tax deductible donation can now be made to Rock In Road’s Strawberry Preserve Fund which will be used to support the value of all Spring 2020 tickets, and the ticket holder community in general.
  • Upon the conclusion of the next festival, priority will be given to refunding tickets that are still unused. Strawberry is currently unable to offer refunds at large.

We are collectively invested in preserving our Folk/Americana music community, and way of life. There are few who have escaped the impact of this deadly virus, and we are all sharing in this burden together. It is more important than ever that we live our core values, especially in business. Performers are facing incredible challenges in routing and building a financially solvent tour, while staying healthy and safe. You may recall that, at the onset of the pandemic, Strawberry paid full deposits to our performers. This gave them, and their team, some sense of stability, at a time of total turmoil. In return, many of them have renewed their commitment and enthusiasm for a return to the Strawberry stage, so you can expect the lineup to be largely the same for 2022. Our continued collaboration with the non-profit, Rock In Road, furthers their mission to enhance and extend The Strawberry Way. We also plan to support the Nevada County Fairgrounds with an additional Brush Crew weekend in 2021. Strawberry continues to work with all of its community partners to ensure that we can come back better than ever, together, in 2022.

We are looking forward to the most epic gathering of friends, family, and music lovers. The reason we are able to look forward with such enthusiasm is because of your support. While this pandemic is unlike any challenge we have faced before, we feel that Strawberry is uniquely poised to survive, and even thrive, because of our past experience, and because we are a tightly knit, multi-generational community. Strawberry truly is YOUR festival and will be worth the wait. Together, we can turn these lemons into delicious Strawberry lemonade.

We cannot wait to get back to the business of making festival. Please stay tuned for more news and we hope to see you there in 2022!


Last week, the Strawberry community lost our dear friend, Sandy Ashton. Sandy began volunteering on the Garbage/Recycle Crew in the early 90’s and has been a mainstay on that crew ever since. Many of us understand crew camaraderie, but the Garbage/Recycle Crew is especially tight, having camped together for many years. We know they are all feeling this loss profoundly, as are the many friends and admirers Sandy made along the way. We are holding them all, her family, friends, and especially Sandy’s partner Will, in our collective Strawberry heart, as we offer our deepest condolences. Sandy was always positive, always willing to help, and truly embodied the essence of The Strawberry Way. The absence of her brilliant light and joyous spirit will be tangible. Rest in peace, dear, sweet friend.



We are missing our festival community very much, as we head into Labor Day weekend, and hope you are all staying healthy and safe. Our collective heart currently resides with all of those affected by the wildfires burning in California, for the past several weeks, as well as those struggling these past months, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Strawberry office remains closed, while we await guidance from state health officials as to how, and when, festivals and large events will be allowed to take place. We recognize though, that our annual gatherings are more like a musical family camp-out, than a concert, and that a healthy and robust Kids Program is essential to the Strawberry experience. The efforts being made to keep kids and staff safe, in learning and care facilities across the country, are of particular interest to our organization, and we wish educators, and care givers, the very best in these endeavors.

Many of you have asked what can be done to help Strawberry and other live music events survive the pandemic. We feel that the best thing anyone can do, is to follow the guidelines set forth by your state and county health department, to protect yourself and others, and stop the spread of COVID-19. The sooner we get this terribly infectious disease under control, the sooner we can all get back to making live music, and the Strawberry Jam can recommence.

The lineup for Spring 2021 is set to be the same as the postponed 2020 event. The performers are all looking forward to seeing you there, and so are we! We understand that some of you will not be able to attend the re-scheduled festival in 2021, so Strawberry is modifying our ticket policy to include more options for Spring 2020 ticket holders. Specific details about the new policy will be provided in October.

It is so hard to believe that this summer already nears an end, with so many milestones missed, and so much distance between family and friends. When it is safe to gather again, we are confident in the Strawberry community to work cooperatively to protect one another. Until that time, please stay healthy and do your best to help others stay healthy, as well.

Sending Strawberry love and virtual hugs!


Happy Thursday folks. Since we can’t be together today, we would like to share the next best thing; pictures and descriptions of your camps. We have received some really great submissions for our new Camp Gallery so far! Please keep those submissions coming and we will keep adding them into the gallery. Each camp has their own profile page that displays photos, bio, camp location, information about jams you host, and up to two videos.

To submit your material to the Camp Gallery, please fill out this form:

To start a conversation on our new Message Board, please sign-in or register here:

We hope you all have a safe and happy holiday weekend and that Strawberry lives with each of you wherever you are.


As the dates of the postponed Spring 2020 Strawberry Music Festival approach, we are starting to think about what (and whom) we will be missing during the holiday weekend. Usually, this would be the weekend that we begin setting up at the Nevada County Fairgrounds, and festival goers, spread far and wide, simultaneously prepare for their migration to Strawberry. Each day from here on out marks a different milestone or memory for each of us, and being separate makes our shared experience very different and somewhat surreal. Regardless, it is such a comfort to know that we are together in spirit and so very inspiring to see some of the beautiful memories already being shared by attendees! 

At this coming Spring Festival, Strawberry planned to commemorate the year 2020 by opening the Main Street building to a special retrospective presentation. We are excited that much of the material (memorable photos, calendars, flyers, posters, program pages, mailers, ticket stock, t-shirts, Christmas cards, etc.) has been digitized. Starting on Wednesday, May 20th, we will unveil new pages on the Strawberry website, in order to share these memories. Additionally, we will host corresponding conversations on our new Strawberry Festival Message Board, at the same time. We will kick things off with the Strawberry Camp Gallery, and then follow up through the festival weekend: pages dedicated to our artisan and food communities, galleries of images, historical perspectives, and other goodies.

The best part of Strawberry has always been what you make of it. So, naturally we need your input to create a true picture of the Strawberry community. One of the new website pages is an improved version of our old gallery of Camps. The new gallery will display a name and thumbnail photo that links to a more extensive profile page for each participating camp. To list your camp in the new gallery, please use this form to submit your camp’s media. Please be aware that all material is subject to review and approval by our site moderator and should be family friendly.

Another way for us to support shared experiences, is to provide a safe space for collaboration, conversations, and creativity. We have renewed our moderated message board as an alternative to corporate social media. It’s a place where you can reach other festival goers without having your data mined, shared or sold, by us or anyone. We plan to ask some fun questions and start threads for topics such as DIY camp decor, but the best conversations will invariably be the ones you start yourselves. Please note that you will need to sign up, to use the message board; we promise to not sell your personal data.

So instead of packing this weekend, why not take some time to pull together your camp’s memories, send in your submission for the camp gallery, and register for Strawberry’s forum to be part of the virtual message board during Memorial Day weekend? And now let us segue from our new world story to the story world of the festival with Strawberry’s playlist, which now features a very special recording of B.Z. Smith’s retirement story as told at last year’s Sunday morning Revival.  

Despite the physical distance, our connections to one another have always stood the test of space and time. We hope the coming festival weekend, without a festival, still leaves you feeling recharged by the Strawberry way and look forward to the time when we can safely gather together again. Thank you for all your kindness, love, and support!


Countless converging communities are now reeling from the sad news of Kreg Nelson’s sudden passing, this past weekend. Many of us know Kreg from his time as head of the Backstage Security crew at Strawberry, and the hundreds of guests that he checked in, over many years’ time, will always remember being greeted by Kreg’s incredible warmth, larger than life smile, and good humor.

That spirit of genuine kindness and inclusivity made him easy to love, wherever he went, even when he was being brutally honest or telling a really bad joke. Any of us would gladly welcome the worst that he could give. Kreg sported a style of being in the world that was both polished and raw at the same time. He carried himself with grace and charm, in a way that no one else dare attempt to imitate. He was totally one of a kind, and yet, we could all use a lot more Kreg Nelson in the world.

When a giant heart falls, the shock wave of grief is not only heard, but felt deeply, and shared among many. The Strawberry community offers its deepest condolences to Kreg’s family and enormous extended family of friends. R.I.P. dear friend, you are missed.


“Requests, questions and heckles encouraged” — Strawberrians, let’s do this. Join John Craigie (humorous storytelling, serious folk) for his Facebook Live show on Saturday May 9, at 6:00pm PST!”

…the lovechild of John Prine and Mitch Hedberg with a vagabond troubadour edge.” – The Stranger

#JohnCraigie #Yippee


Concert location:


Today, Strawberry is launching a new forum that includes a Ticket Exchange and Message Board. If you have tickets to the Spring 2020 Strawberry Music Festival and are unable to use them at the 2021 Spring Festival, you can list them for sale on the Ticket Exchange. The Message Board is a place for general discussion and for connecting Strawberrians during our long hiatus until next year. To participate in this forum, and make a post to the Ticket Exchange and/or Message Board, you will need to register with a username and password. It just takes a few minutes to sign up at If you need help with the registration process, you can email our Webmaster and volunteer forum moderator, at

We are so grateful for all the support and kindness we have received during this stressful time. We hope you are all staying healthy and safe, and that this forum will be a good independent source for Strawberry connections and camaraderie.