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Meet California WorldFest Director John Taber


The Center for the Arts in Grass Valley is pleased to name John Taber as California WorldFest Director starting immediately. John will oversee the premier world music festival, held each July for four days at the Nevada County Fairgrounds. John was chosen after an extensive selection process, including outstanding local and non-local candidates. Next year’s California WorldFest will take place July 9-12, 2020, and discounted advance tickets are now on sale for the holiday season at or by calling (530) 274-8384.


“The Center Board of Directors is excited to select John Taber, a local talent, to direct WorldFest” stated Board President Betsy Swann Brown, “We are in good hands with John at the WorldFest helm, with his broad skill set and proven success in music festival production!” As WorldFest Director, John will be working closely with Executive Director Amber Jo Manuel and the WorldFest programming team, which includes InEffable Music, which is an independent coalition of artists, managers and promoters that work together to curate music for live events across the world.


John is well known locally for his work at The Center, KVMR and their Celtic Festival and Marketplace, as well as a photographer, and John will continue in each of these roles. His music career began in 1975 with Bill Graham Presents in San Francisco, where John rose through a variety of positions over the next 15 years, acquiring the skills needed to produce high quality music events. For six of those years John worked closely with the Grateful Dead monitoring their backstage guests. John and his wife moved to Grass Valley in 1990 to raise their two children. For the past 9 years, John has been the Executive Producer of KVMR’s long running Celtic Festival & Marketplace. John has also been a Volunteer Broadcaster at KVMR Community Radio for 11 years. John is also the Technical Manager & Staff Photographer since 2012 at the Center for the Arts.

California WorldFest is a celebration of global music that takes place each summer in the heart of the Sierra Nevada. Over four days, music is played on multiple 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, allowing everyone to gain a deeper understanding and connection to our world.


Held every mid-July, the festival presents high-caliber global sounds of established names and emerging artists. 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. The Center purchased California WorldFest is 2015.


Since 2000, The Center for the Arts, a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts organization, has grown into a leading presenter of music, dance, theater, comedy, literary, visual art and family programming. Typically, the Center presents more than 150 events per year from its location in downtown Grass Valley. The Center is currently underway in a major renovation of its multi-use 21,000 square foot facility in downtown Grass Valley. After the renovation, the Center will have a 490 seat main theater, a large visual art gallery, classroom space, and a 90-seat black box theater. 

@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.