It all began over two decades ago when City leaders wanted to embrace Santa Clarita’s Western history. Taking inspiration from the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, NV, they wanted to celebrate Western art, music, film, and television. In 1994, the first Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival was held to honor the authentic Old West with music, poetry, cowboy wear/gear, food, and storytelling. This event brings over 10,000 Western enthusiasts to Santa Clarita each year.
This year’s event runs from April 20-24, 2016 in Historic Old Town Newhall. Western, Bluegrass, Americana, and Spoken Word genres will take the stage at the Canyon Theater Guild and The Repertory East Playhouse. The Cowboy Festival will make its home at William S. Hart Park Event Area on Saturday, April 23 and Sunday, April 24. Guests will be immersed into American Frontier life with performers, BBQ and old west eats, and Old West shopping to hoot.
Pre-events to get you into the Cowboy Festival spirit:
April 16-17, 2016
- Lone Pine Film Tour – If you have ever driven up to Mammoth for skiing, you would have passed through the sleepy town of Lone Pine. E.J. and Kim Stephens (Hollywood film historians and Newhall residents) invite you on a trip to Lone Pine, which is a must-see for any Western fan. The 8 a.m. tour departs from Santa Clarita Valley. As you make your way north, you will pass historic Western filming sites like Vasquez Rocks and Red Rock Canyon. Once in Lone Pine, you will tour the Lone Pine Film Museum and the Alabama Hills. An overnight stay at Dow Villa Motel, where John Wayne was often a guest, is where you will park your tired dogs for the evening. The tour will depart on Sunday with a 6 p.m. arrival in Santa Clarita. $350 single occupancy / $325 double occupancy ($650 per couple)
Sunday, April 17, 2016
- John Michael Montgomery, 7 p.m. - Country music great, John Michael Montgomery, will kicking off the 2016 Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival with his high energy, toe-tapping performance. His smile and smooth voice is behind some of country music’s biggest hits like “Life’s a Dance” and “I Can Love You Like That”. You can also include a pre-show BBQ dinner and signature cocktails from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Show tickets are $60, $45, and $30. Dinner is $75 per person or $135 per couple.
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
- SCVTV Presents The OutWest Concert Series: An Evening with Syd Masters and the Swing Riders, 8 p.m.- Syd Masters and the Swing Riders will provide an evening of laughs and toe-tappin’ with vintage cowboy swing sounds. These multi-talented merry men of the west are serious musicians and showmen here to entertain you with those cowboy songs of ups, downs, and heartaches of life. Tickets are $25 for general admission, $22 for Western Music Association members.
Thursday, April 21, 2016
- SENSES, 7 p.m. – SENSES is a “Wild, Wild West” themed block party presented by the City of Santa Clarita’s Thursdays@Newhall. Old Salt Union, bluegrass sensation and Cowboy Festival Performer, will headline the evening along with gourmet food trucks, Western vendors, and debut of the newest Walk of Western Stars. Adult beverages will be served on a cash and carry basis. FREE Admission
- Movie Night, 8 p.m. – To celebrate the debut of the newest Walk of Western Star inductee, have dinner and watch a classic Western film at Hart Hall at William S. Hart Park. Tickets are $50.
Friday, April 22, 2016
- California Fiesta De Rancho Camulos with Dave Stamey, 11 a.m. – Rancho Camulos Museum and National Historic Landmark is an example of an early California rancho in a rural setting. It inspired the novel, “Ramona” and Mary Pickford’s 1910 “Ramon” was filmed here as well. This lovely setting will be the backdrop to Dave Stamey’s concert at Don Ygnacio del Valle’s estancia. The event includes a Southwest Vaquero buffet, concert performance, and a costumed docent-led tour of Heritage Valley by stepping back in time to learn about the history, myth, and romance of old California. The proceeds from this event will benefit the non-profit museum’s historical preservation. Tickets are $50.
- Reagan Library and Paramount Ranch Tour, 1 p.m. – This bus tour will be led by Hollywood film historians and Newhall residents, E.J. and Kim Stephens. You will journey outside the Santa Clarita Valley to the final home of Death Valley Days host and 40th U.S. President, Ronald Reagan, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. You can see the presidential museum, Air Force One, and pay your respects to President Reagan and Mrs. Reagan. From there, you will journey to Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills, the setting for dozens of Western films of the past century. Along the tour, you will also pass former Western sites like Iverson Ranch, Lone Ranger Rock, Spahn Ranch, and Corriganville. Tickets are $60.
- The Quebe Sisters / Carin Mari, 7 p.m. – The Quebe Sisters are known for their signature fiddling and three part harmonies. Carin Mari http://carinmarimusic.com/ was a Runner up at the Texaco Country Showdown and back this year with new songs to sing for you. Tickets are $30
- Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, 7 p.m. – Ramblin’ Jack Elliott is considered to be one of the country’s legendary folk music artist. His music takes you on journey of romance and passion of life. He learned it on all on the road – ran away from home to join a rodeo at fourteen years old, learned how to play a guitar from a cowboy, and mentored by Woody Guthrie. Tickets are $25
Saturday, April 23, 2016
- Cowboy Festival at William S. Hart Park, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. – A variety of performances will be going on throughout the day on four different stages. Sutlers and Mercantile Rows will have the Western merchandise to peruse and shop. Living history performers will be interacting with you and draw you back in time of the Old West with activities for all ages. Enjoy cowboy grub from a variety of food vendors. You can also visit The Buffalo Soldiers and watch the festival Blacksmiths in action. Tours of William S. Hart Mansion are also available. Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for children 12 and under (children under 3 are FREE). *VIP Package includes: Admission to William S. Hart Park event area on Saturday and Sunday; VIP shuttle service to and from William S. Hart Park and the shuttle site; Access to VIP Cantina both days from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., includes complimentary beverages and snacks with lunch served each day from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.; Buckaroo Buck for one piece of Cowboy Festival merchandise (not redeemable for performer merchandise) - $75
- Brenn Hill / Andy Nelson 2 p.m. – Brenn Hill is known for his soulful songwriting and vocals. Andy Nelson, Western Music Association Male Poet of the Year, shows off his rollicking rhymes. Brenn and Andy will entertain you with a sublime and hilarious show. Tickets are $20
- The Messick Family, 4 p.m. – The Messick Family Singers are local to Santa Clarita Valley performing western and country music. The family has lived in Santa Clarita for four generations and shares their lives through their music. Tickets are $20
- Hot Club of Cowtown / Sourdough Slim, 7 p.m. – A show of high energy swing, slap bass, hot fiddling, and blazing guitar from Hot Club of Cowtown and Sourdough Slim. Tickets are $30
- James Intveld, 8 p.m. – James Intveld started his country music-singing career as a teenager in North Hollywood. He was part of the The Rockin’ Shadows with his brother, Ricky Intveld. His brother went on to play with Ricky Nelson, who passed away in the dreaded plane crash that also took Ricky Nelson’s life. He has also been in film, co-starring with Billy Bob Thornton in “Chrystal”. He was also provided his vocals for the John Water’s 1990 film, “Cry-Baby” starring Johnny Depp. Tickets are $20
- Wyatt Earp – The Life Behind the Legend, 8 p.m. – Casey Tefertiller, author of “Wyatt Earp: Life Behind The Legend”, will reveal the true life story of the legendary frontier marshal, Wyatt Earp from the living room in the Hart Mansion. Tefertiller’s book was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and voted “The New York Times Notable Book of the Year”. Tickets are $35
Sunday, April 24, 2016
- Cowboy Church, 8 a.m. – FREE admission
- Santa Clarita Valley Historical Bus Tour, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. – This narrated bus tour will take you to visit 30 points of interest in Santa Clarita Valley including Heritage Junction, The Oak of the Golden Dream, Mentryville, 1898 Trestle Bridge, The American Theater and much more. Tickets are $45 (Some locations have a short walk over uneven terrain. No children under 6 years old.)
- Cowboy Festival at William S. Hart Park, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. – A variety of performances will be going on throughout the day on four different stages. Sutlers and Mercantile Rows will have the Western merchandise to peruse and shop. Living history performers will be interacting with you and draw you back in time of the Old West with activities for all ages. Enjoy cowboy grub from a variety of food vendors. You can also visit The Buffalo Soldiers and watch the festival Blacksmiths in action. Tours of William S. Hart Mansion are also available. Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for children 12 and under (children under 3 are FREE). *VIP Package includes: Admission to William S. Hart Park event area on Saturday and Sunday; VIP shuttle service to and from William S. Hart Park and the shuttle site; Access to VIP Cantina both days from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., includes complimentary beverages and snacks with lunch served each day from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.; Buckaroo Buck for one piece of Cowboy Festival merchandise (not redeemable for performer merchandise) - $75
- Cow Bop / Mikki Daniel, 1 p.m. – Pushing the envelope of Western Swing for years, Cow Bop has a growing fan base. Mikki Daniel just won the Western Music Association’s Best Cowboy Swing Album. This is a performance that will have you dancing in the aisles. Tickets are $20
- CALICO the band, 2 p.m. – CALICO the band is made up of Kirsten Proffit, Manda Mosher, and Aubrey Richmond. Their unity blends strong songwriting chops, rich harmonies, and pervasive Americana passion. CALICO the band carries on the music traditions along the lines of Crosby, Stills, & Nash, Fleetwood Mac, and the Eagles. Tickets are $20
- Don Edwards / Carolyn Sills Combo, 4 p.m. – Don Edwards http://www.donedwardsmusic.com/ has performed at the Cowboy Festival since debut in 1994 with his Western Music. One of Don’s favorite groups, Carolyn Sills Combo, will be bringing it and swinging it. Tickets are $20
- The Americans, 5 p.m. – The Americans are all about rock & roll with American music at the core. They are from Los Angeles and have toured the United States twice with Grammy and Oscar-winner Ryan Bingham. Tickets are $20
Make plans to enjoy a festival of music, good eats, and western fun at the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival. Two events are already sold out so don’t wait until the last minute to purchase tickets.