Lake Tahoe Music Festival disbands |

Lake Tahoe Music Festival disbands

Tim Parsons
Tribune file photo

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Classical music endures through the generations but not with the Lake Tahoe Music Festival, which this week called it quits after 29 seasons.

“Everybody’s very sad but it was a unanimous decision,” Sally Lyon, the president of the festival’s board of directors, told Lake Tahoe Action. “Times have changed and there are a lot of free options for music these days that weren’t there 20 years ago. The competition has really changed and the environment has really changed. We felt like it was the right time to finish up. It’s been a great program.”

In a March 5 letter from the board of directors to festival donors, Lyon wrote, “two very formidable classical organizations have moved into the local scene,” Toccata and the Lake Tahoe SummerFest.

When Lake Tahoe Music Festival began, it exclusively presented classical music. It gradually added pop music, and in recent years only about 50 percent of its shows were classical. Last year it had three shows, each of them pop – Blues Traveler, Michael Bolton and Colbie Caillat – and held at the Village at Northstar-at-Tahoe, which has since changed names to Northstar California.

The ski resort plans to present three pop shows this summer.

“At the end of the season we parted ways amicably,” Northstar spokeswoman Jessica VanPernis said. “We would like to host our own music festival. Announcements will be in the next few weeks to a month. We don’t even have a name for it yet, but we have dates.”

Each show will be held on a Friday, June 22, July 6 and Aug. 17.

Over the years, the Lake Tahoe Music Festival held events all across North Shore, from Donner Lake to Homewood.

It also brought music into schools through the Truckee Tahoe Youth Music Program.

“Our intention to provide funding (to the schools program) for at least a couple of years, and to get another organization to take that over for us,” Lyon said. “We are talking with Lake Tahoe Summer Fest and we may also talk with Toccata, but we don’t have anything to announce yet.”

According to its website, the festival was founded in 1982 by the conductor of the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, Edgar Braun. The nonprofit’s concerts were attended each summer by up to 12,000 people.

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