Guitars lay foundation for more Battle, Axe & Tracks

Sue Foley is onstage at sunset on Saturday at Battle, Axe & Tracks Music Festival at Rancho San Rafael Park in Reno. Tahoe Onstage photos by Tim Parsons

There’ll be an encore, of course.

The inaugural Battle, Axe & Tracks Music Festival in Reno last weekend featured virtuoso guitarists, whose chops laid a foundation for 2023.

“Our goal with this lineup was to make a big splash the first year out and we accomplished everything we wanted,” co-organizer Ken Farley said. “The response that we received from nearly 100 percent of the concert participants has been overwhelmingly supportive and positive and we’ve already sold tickets for next year.”

The next Battle, Axe & Tracks again will take place at spacious Rancho San Rafael Park, located near campus of the University of Nevada, Reno.

More than 1,500 sun-splashed spectators last weekend watched 16 bands upon two stages, including headliners Jimmie Vaughan, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Robert Randolph and Samantha Fish.

“It’s a guitar-based festival and we just happened to get a lot of blues acts this year,” co-organizer Gina Lopez said. “There will always be blues, there will always be rock, there will always be soul, there will always be funk, but it’s definitely guitar based.”

An Axe Battle between nine local solo guitarists was held downtown two days before the festival. The winner, Jonny Yocum, was awarded Sunday’s opening spot. Yocum’s day job is with Timberwolf Tree Service. (We’re not making this up, folks).

“Everyone had a personalized song to the taste of guitar styles,” Yocum said about the competition. “Everyone who played was absolutely amazing.”

Yocum who performed with his band ViceGrip, was a Tahoe Forest Hospital baby, born in Truckee and raised in Tahoma. He said the event and the chance to play at the festival was “the experience of a lifetime.”

The festival was recorded, and videos will be used for promotion and was offered to each performer.

“We’re a very artist-friendly organization,” Lopez said. “We want them to be as happy with everything about the festival as we are.”

“(Attendance) was a little less than we had hoped,” Farley said. “Being a first-year festival, we didn’t really know what to expect, and we’ve got a great foundation to move forward in the future. We don’t want to have 100,000. We want to keep it as the biggest little music festival and Rancho is the perfect place for it.”

-Tim Parsons

“Miss Understood” Carolyn Wonderland plays a fiery fingerstyle of Texas blues.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage
Jimmie Vaughan sets the mood as Saturday’s headliner.
With two stages, there is little down time between performances.
Sue Foley wields an axe named Pinky.
Los Coast, from left, Jimmy Blazer, Brannen Temple, Trey Privott and Billy Blunt gathered for the crowd after the set.
Robert Randolph plays a pedal steel guitar.
Axe throwers take aim.
Willie B plays drums with Robert Randolph.
Video crew member Sean Davis lands a drone.
Tash Neal plays guitar with Robert Randolph. He is a founding member of the duo The London Souls, which played twice at Crystal Bay Casino.
Sacred steel: With a broken string, Randolph plays on.
The Robert Randolph Band.
Dancers have a doggone good time.
Pinky shines with Sue Foley.
Concert photographer Tony Dellacioppa fires a Canon.
Trey Privott is the band leader of Los Coast.
Fashionable in flannel: Spike McGuire is the emcee.
Jimmie Vaughn mugs for the camera.
Carolyn Wonderland
Billy Blunt of Los Coast
Sue Foley
Joan Pilar is the brains and beauty at Tahoe Onstage.

ABOUT Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons
Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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Hazardous mountain travel continues today into tomorrow due to periods of moderate to heavy snow. Mountain travel is HIGHLY DISCOURAGED! If you do travel, bring an emergency kit & chains. Be prepared for major travel delays. Road conditions: http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov #CAwx

Another winter storm will bring heavy mountain snow this weekend, with snow amounts up to 1-3 feet over the Sierra. Heaviest amounts will fall Sat PM- Sun PM.

⛓️ Dangerous travel, with chain controls, and significant travel delays are all possible. #cawx

Widespread precipitation returns to interior NorCal this weekend. The heaviest precipitation is expected Sat PM - Sun PM, with showers lingering through Monday. Expect slick roads & leave yourself extra time to travel. Latest forecast: http://weather.gov/sto #cawx

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