2023 Festival Press Coverage

Ojai Music Festival, 06.08-06.11.2023 Rhiannon Giddens Music Director, photos of performers from during the Festival
Thank you for joining us at our 77th Festival, June 8-11, 2023, featuring Music Director Rhiannon Giddens. Our audience, volunteers, and team’s enthusiasm, curiosity, and openness give life to the Festival every year.  Take a look at excerpts from the press – from previews to reviews. 

…an annual pilgrimage for the musically open-minded. The nearly 80-year-old event, held in the valley city of Ojai in the mountains east of Santa Barbara, has proved chameleonlike, adopting a new tone every year thanks to its tradition of selecting a new music director annually. What remains consistent, however, is the dedication to experimental, boundary-pushing art that challenges listeners’ ears and minds.

Alta Online

“We’re not trying to turn the festival upside down,” says Giddens. “We’re looking to bring many musical threads together under the same umbrella.” “The element of surprise is part of the Ojai Festival’s identity,” says Artistic and Executive Director Ara Guzelimian.

SF Classical Voice

“There is an element of uncertainty about a program like this,” she [Rhiannon Giddens] says, “which is the point. There will be years where everything has been written out, and every concert has all pieces programmed, and they’ve been practiced and everything. This is not that year. … I think everybody will have moments of, like, ‘I’m not sure what’s going to happen right now.’ But I think that’s powerful.'”

Los Angeles Times
Francesco Turrisi, Rhiannon Giddens, Karen Ouzounian on the stage of Libbey Bowl, all smiling

Ms. Giddens is a boundary breaker, a quality this 77-year-old festival has variously celebrated since its inception.

Wall Street Journal

Rhiannon Giddens’s own multifaceted talents mostly held the floor.  She is a remarkably versatile singer, soaking up diverse vocal styles like a highly-absorbent sponge and pouring them out in timbres unmistakably her own

Musical America

[Rhiannon] Giddens and Francesco Turrisi, her partner and musical collaborator — a Sicilian whose specialties are jazz piano and early music — intriguingly mixed genres, happily and sometimes successfully ignoring perceived musical borders.But that kind of thing is usual for Ojai, which prides itself on pushing the musical envelope.

Classical Voice North America