Sunny Dragon Breathes Fire, Vitality into Local Music Festival

There is something incredibly powerful, invigorating, and even magical about the experience of a live musical performance.

Here’s what I mean; think about your favorite concert (if you’re like me, you may need to go back a few years to get in touch with your wilder, uninhibited side) and ask yourself what made it so special.

Was it guitar virtuosity? Perhaps it was cool lighting and stage effects? Could it have been the music style and genre of the artist(s)? Maybe it was a charismatic singer who knew how to work an audience?

All of these components, and more, were found at the Sunny Dragon Music Festival–held at Cattle Baron’s Cafe in Penryn, CA, Saturday, June 30, 2012.

Campfire Crooners getting ready to play. Photo:Michele Jennae

Sponsored primarily by Sunny Dragon Studios of Roseville, CA, the event featured eight live bands: The Magic Bullets, Brandon Neal, Christian DeWild, Taylor Chicks, Gorgeous George, Campfire Crooners, Reed Scott Band, and Stillwood Sages, each offering a unique style influenced by blues, rock, fusion, pop, country, and jazz.

Three of the bands, Brandon Neal, The Magic Bullets, and Gorgeous George, vied for sponsorship and free recording time in a professional studio. They were evaluated in four categories: attitude, stage presence, musicianship, and radio worthiness.

Gorgeous George, a modern pop-rock group with pleasing, male/female vocal harmonies, took 1st place, winning 15 hours of studio recording time. Brandon Neal, a soft rock trio with impressive, acoustic guitar and smooth male vocals, took 2nd place, winning 10 hours of studio recording time. The Magic Bullets, a hard-rocking, grunge-like band with mean electric guitar took 3rd place, winning sponsorship with Sunny Dragon Studios.

Members of the Internet radio station (a partner of Sunny Dragon Studios) provided video recording and Michele Jennae, DJ and host of The Michele Jennae Show, along with her good friend Myki Angeline from v103 Rock, served as MCs and performance contest judges for the event. They brought a positive and lively energy to the venue. Michele described her experience of the evening by saying, “There was a huge amount of talent there, and everyone had a great time. Sunny Dragon Studios knows how to bring it.”

Curtis Hildebrand, aka “Flyin Cowboy,” the owner of Sunny Dragon Studios, and a guitarist, vocalist, and song writer for Stillwood Sages (one of the participating bands at the festival) was the main visionary, architect, and financier behind the Sunny Dragon Music Festival. When he and I discussed some of his reasons for sponsoring the festival, Curtis explained that his primary goal is to “…expose the indie* artist and label…” and to help new, indie artists get invaluable stage time and experience to prepare them for the recording studio.

Stillwood Sages Jams / Photo:Michele Jennae

In another conversation with Curtis, he expressed how he sees collaboration with other studios as an important factor for the recording business and maintains partnerships with other recording studios such as Tanglewood Studios of Loomis, CA, owned by recording engineer, guitar virtuoso, teacher and mentor, John Morris. He emphasized the importance of studio collaboration by saying, “I also have a huge team of working partners in the music biz. We work together to make it happen.” 

It’s written that music is the “Universal Language.” Try this; initiate a good conversation with a friend, teacher, or someone you met while traveling abroad. In the course of the conversation, ask them about their favorite song, concert, or their preferred musical genre. Play a related song on your iPod, Smartphone, or mp3 player, pass the headphones over, wait a few seconds, and watch for a big smile.


‘To see 8 bands perform in 6 hours without one problem. INSANELY COOL.”

-Curtis Hildebrand-

If you missed the Sunny Dragon Music Festival, you can catch Stillwood Sages and Gorgeous George at Marilyn’s on K in downtown Sacramento on July 28th.

*Refers to Independent, Not signed by a Major Label or Publisher


Kevin B. Hall is a musician and writer

  • · Hobbies include gardening, guitar playing and study, media technology, and classic cars
  • · Works as a Database Administrator for Twin Rivers Unified School District, McClellan, CA.
  • · Holds a B.A. in Media Communications from California State University, Sacramento
  • · Studied Journalism at the University of Nebraska, Omaha
  • · Lives with his wife and two children in Folsom, CA.
Posted by on July 13, 2012. Filed under Events,Music. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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