Local bands shine at Hurricane Music Festival

Allison Cowie, Author

The Neighbors, a Menlo Park-based band, opened the show Saturday evening at the Hurricane Music Festival. The festival featured five bands, a variety of rock music and an audience both young and old. Photo by Allison Cowie.

Teen musicians from across the Bay Area have a new local following after performing Saturday evening at the Hurricane Music Festival in Mitchell Park.

Playing everything from alternative rock to funk to heavy metal, local bands performed in front of a sizable crowd, including Palo Alto High School junior Julia Kwasnick.

“They’re surprisingly good,” she said.  “I didn’t think that they were going to have good singers but they actually do.”

According to participating musician Steffan Salas, a major goal of the festival was to “provide a diverse variety of bands from different areas to make new connections and meet new people who support their music.”

The event was put on by Palo Alto’s Teen Arts Council, an organization that plans and organizes art events “with the goal of strengthening the youth community in Palo Alto and the greater peninsula,” according to its website.

Paly junior Carly King, a member of the TAC, was pleased with how the event turned out.

“I think it’s great,” King said.  “The bands sound really good.”

Salas echoed King’s sentiments.

“Everyone played so well,” Salas said.  “You could tell that the bands had put a lot of time and effort into their sets, and it made Hurricane a really different show than what people usually come across.”

After auditions last March, the TAC chose five bands to perform on Saturday.

“We had … two auditions,” King said.  “A lot of bands tried out, and these are the best ones.”

Attracting audiences young and old, the festival’s attendance grew as the music pulled passersby in.

“The crowd was good,” King said. “Some people [on the TAC] were worried that it was going to be way too huge for the space because of how much advertising we did [for the event].  But in the end, it was a perfect number for the size of the venue.”

Not only did the crowd come, it left pleased with the quality of the performances.

“I liked how the music didn’t solely focus on the instruments,” Kwasnick said.  “The bands weren’t drowning out other instruments by playing one [instrument] really loudly.  The bands seemed legit in that everything worked together really well.”

Overall, the event was promising for the future of Bay Area rock, according to Kwasnick.

“It … [was] an entertaining thing to watch,” Kwasnick said.  “I’m glad I came because now I know that there is hope in local music.”