San Diego

Roog Music Fest's North County Line

The Roog Music Festival returns to North County to rally its artistic community

What do you do when you feel like your community’s music scene isn’t being appropriately appreciated? Well, you take matters into your own hands. Such is the case with the Roog Music Festival -- the annual North County mini-fest set to touch down at Black Plague Brewing on Aug. 12.

Organized by two members of the Oceanside post-punk/indie-rock band Noble War -- Louis Elguera and Carlos Bautista -- along with a team of friends, the Roog Music Festival has come to embody the spirit of the burgeoning North County scene that, until the last couple years, has largely gone unnoticed by San Diego media outlets. Basically, if you weren’t playing the Belly Up, it felt like nobody cared. Now, with great shows popping up regularly at venues like Pour House Oceanside, Aztec Brewing, Boar Cross'n, and the Stag & Lion (among others) -- North County seems like the place to be. Still, the Noble War lads felt something was missing.

“[We] decided to pull the trigger on this event after years of waiting for the music scene to do something like this in our hometown,” Elguera told me via email. “Our goal when we began was to create a unique experience put together by artists and musicians for everyone to enjoy.”

In essence, the guys saw a problem and decided to do something about it. Last year’s inaugural event, held at Vista’s Avo Playhouse, featured Stardeath and White Dwarfs (who’ve collaborated with the Flaming Lips), Minus Light (featuring members of Julian Casablancas & the Voidz) and local groups Wild Wild Wets, Spero, Some Kind of Lizard, and the Art Dealers. For folks that don’t exactly work in the booking field, landing touring acts is not quite as simple as it seems. So for a first-time event, 2016’s Roog Music Festival was an impressive success.

This year, the guys have taken it up a notch -- moving it to a more like-minded venue in Oceanside (“I spoke to Jordan Hoffart of Black Plague Brewing,” Elguera said, “and he shared our goals and what we were about -- he was all in”) and tapping some great acts (again both local and national) to perform. On the bill this year? Mexican Summer’s Part Time, Golden Animals (who were featured on a recent episode of SoundDiego TV; watch), Kids in Heat, Taken By Canadians, and like last year, Noble War themselves.

Music won’t be the only thing offered either: Along with live performances and great independent craft beer, food will be for sale by Full Metal Burgers, DJs Lexicon Devil and Camel Beats will be spinning vinyl in between sets, and a visual art show will feature BB Bastidas, Sarah Spinks, Transitory Existence, Chase Hartman, Bob Villain, Michaella Lee, and others. A veritable smorgasbord for the senses, you could say. The show is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. and run until 1 a.m., it’s all ages, and tickets are only $20 each (available to purchase online here).

All that sounds pretty good but one question still remains: What exactly does “Roog” mean?

“The word ‘Roog’ is referred to by the people of Senegal as the heavens or the sky and universe,” Elguera explained, adding rather cryptically: “Roog Music Fest will open your mind to see in the perception that your fellow artists and musicians share.”

Well, there you have it.

Dustin Lothspeich books The Merrow and runs the music equipment-worshipping blog Gear and Loathing in San Diego. Follow his updates on Twitter or contact him directly.

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