About California WorldFest

Once a summer, in the heart of the Sierra Nevada, there’s a celebration of global music that takes place. At this four-day festival at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley you can sway to new sounds, discover a whole new culture through music, and dance the night away to one of your favorite music groups.

Held every mid-July, the festival presents high-caliber global sounds of established names. Past headliners include Lucinda Williams, Richard Thompson, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Ani DiFranco, Ziggy Marley, Cake, Michael Franti, Los Lobos and startling discoveries include Dakhabrakha, Magic Giant, Beats Antique, and Yemen Blues.


For 4-days music is played on 8 different stages. The family-friendly festival is filled with activities for kids and adults, workshops and artistic opportunities. WorldFest allows festival-goers to experience global music in a whole new way and allows everyone that experiences this festival to gain a deeper understanding and connection to our world.

Since 2000, The Center for the Arts, a non-profit arts organization, has grown into a leading presenter of music, dance, theater, comedy, literary, visual art and family programming. The Center presents over 150 events per year from its location in downtown Grass Valley. The Center purchased California WorldFest is 2015.


Founded by Dan DeWayne and Christine Myers in 1997, WorldFest came under the umbrella of Grass Valley’s arts powerhouse, The Center for the Arts, in 2015.

Drawing inspiration from the Vancouver Folk Festival, Strawberry Music Festival, MerleFest in North Carolina, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, and the Newport Folk Festival, the California WorldFest includes eight performance stages, a complete children’s program, a community outreach history and a pledge to present the finest artists and performers from throughout our world.

From Afro/Pop to Bulgarian Harmonies, Latin to Bluegrass, Scottish fiddle tunes to Rock & Roll, Jumpin’ Jazz to Gypsy, Folk to New Acoustic, Mariachi to Russian Folk, Swing Jazz to Gospel, Bollywood to the newest Celtic incarnations, the California WorldFest is the home of our globes finest music and dance.

Since 2000, The Center for the Arts, a non-profit performing arts organization, has grown into a leading presenter of music, dance, theater, comedy, literary, visual art and family programming managing a 21,000 square foot venue in downtown Grass Valley and presenting over 150 events per year. In 2014, The Center purchased California WorldFest from Dan DeWayne and Christine Meyers. Dan and Christine selected The Center to purchase and inherit their over 20 year old festival because as DeWayne says, “Their commitment to the local community, strong board, vast experience in presenting diverse performers, and our shared values of family-first make them the perfect match for continuing WorldFest for years to come.”

 See list of past performers >

Global Indigenous Peoples Village

The purpose of WorldFest is to celebrate cultural and musical diversity. That’s why we wish to spotlight the incredible value of traditional art created by indigenous cultures here in California and around the globe. The Peoples Village hosts events, performances, ceremonies and more to promote awareness of, and appreciation for, indigenous culture. Special thanks to the Nisenan Tribe, the indigenous people upon whose sacred land we hold the festival.

Within the Indigenous Global Indigenous Peoples Village there is a full educational and participatory lineup of events, performances, ceremonies and more.

We acknowledge the ancestral homeland of the Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan Tribe.
We acknowledge this land was taken repeatedly with no compensation or regard for the lives and ways of the original people, until they had no land left.
We acknowledge we are settlers here, that we live, love, and work on land the Nisenan never ceded.
Together we can amend the tragic legacy of the past.

California WorldFest

@caworldfest | #musicconnectsusall

California WorldFest © 2021. California WorldFest is presented by The Center for the Arts, a cultural and educational organization that promotes and presents the literary, visual, & performing arts for the enrichment of our community.
Site Photography by John Taber, Marion Charlotte Photography, Ryuta Shimotomai, and Eye of Laksmi.

California WorldFest acknowledges the racial injustice of the past and present. We are committed to listening to BBIPOC voices and educating ourselves as we work together towards a future built on equality. We believe the arts foster unity and will continue to advocate for BBIPOC artists and community members. We see you, we hear you, we support you.