Jen Van Tieghem | Uptown News
Once known as the Roots Festival, Adams Avenue Unplugged has undergone more than just a name change in recent years. Starting in 2012 the festival shifted formats, bringing the musical performances predominately inside venues as opposed to closing down streets for outdoor stages.
This year over two-dozen stages will host 150 performances from noon on Saturday, April 26 until 8 p.m. on Sunday, April 27.
Saving the block party for the Street Fair in the fall, the Adams Avenue Business Association has used Unplugged to put the focus back on businesses that deliver live music throughout the year. Plus, the two-day event is almost entirely free, save for reserved seating for headliners at the Church Stage — tickets for those performances are only $10.
The vicinity of the venues in the neighborhoods of Kensington, Normal Heights and Antique Row make the entire event very pedestrian friendly. And a new addition to the festival will make that walkability even more valuable; event organizers and bars and restaurants along the Unplugged route have added attractive drink specials to the menu. Twelve locations will offer $5 craft cocktail and wine specials and at least four spots will serve beer and sake specials for $3. Plus there will be a beer garden on Hawley Boulevard. Unplugged can now be considered one part music discovery event and one part pub-crawl.
Below are a few recommended sets and venues to check out but be sure to visit AdamsAvenueUnplugged.com for the full schedule.
Soda Pants at The Haven Pizzeria, 1:30 p.m. on Saturday: The 2013 San Diego Music Award winners for Best New Artist will perform at one of the newest spots in Kensington. Haven is just over a year old but has already garnered a great reputation. Soda Pants will bring their folk rock harmonies and fun spirit to this one. Plus this will be one of the venues with a $3 beer special. Beer and pizza? Can’t complain about that.
Sara Petite at The Ould Sod, 6 p.m. on Saturday: Petite’s one-of-a-kind vocals are as entrancing on boot-stomping numbers as they are on tender country-laced ballads. Her charm lies both in her storytelling ways and her girl-next-door smile. (SP also performs at 4 p.m. on Saturday at the newly opened Java Joe’s.)
Saba at Lestat’s Coffeehouse 1 p.m. on Sunday: One of the most active Unplugged venues, and consummate home for acoustic performers, Lestat’s will showcase a ton of talent this weekend. Songstress Saba is no stranger to this stage, where she’ll surely melt hearts with deep emotive vocals and poetic folk songs.
Podunk Nowhere at Polite Provisions 4 p.m. on Sunday: As the festival winds down we suggest doing some unwinding yourself with the sultry stylings of this husband and wife duo. Singer Heather Janiga’s voice has just the right twang to fit with her man’s delicate strumming — throw a craft cocktail in there too, since this is one of the $5 special spots. (PN also perform at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Heights Tavern.)