Jefferson Nolan/Sports Contributing Writer

The Open Ends (above) are one of the 10 bands that performed this past Sunday at Sycapalooza Music and Love Festival.

Jefferson P. Nolan

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Large, white, old pot-bellied pig.

Hard of hearing and blind.

The above was scribbled on three signs on the side of the road — a phone number scratched at the bottom of the paper.

Caravanning through the remote farms and windy roads of the Templeton countryside, the missing pig posters marked the beginning of my journey to the 1st annual Sycapalooza Music and Love Festival.

“A music festival unlike any other,” read the Facebook posting of the event. “Kegs, music and activities so that the fun will never cease.”

Bold statements, sure. But maybe it was the abundance of kegs, the golden retriever weaving in and out of the seated crowd or the constant search for the blind, deaf pot-bellied pig that made it unlike any music festival I’ve ever attended.

A lineup of 10 local bands kept the audience rooted to the bales of hay scattered before the elevated stage.

A pastoral barn eclipsed the stage, providing a backdrop that perfected the countryside setting.

What began as a simple birthday party quickly escalated into a glorified gala.

Sycapalooza, a name originating from the reunion of the band Sycamore, was organized by Evan Fox, a member of multiple bands that performed in the outdoor arena on Sunday.

“It started out for our friend Ryan’s 30th birthday (lead singer and guitarist of Sycamore),” Fox said. “He said he wanted to get this band back together since we hadn’t played in seven years.”

Fox, a drummer in the band Gaza Strip Club, decided to put on a dual show with Sycamore and perform on the remote farm in Templeton with their family and friends.

“We thought, ‘Maybe we could get about 30 people here, and it’ll just be a fun day to goof off,’” Fox said.

But after a few friends and fellow musicians expressed some interest, a total of 10 bands had signed up for the event. Another friend brought a food truck and a hot skillet, and a fiesta began to form.

“A few years ago when I first started at Cal Poly with the band Sycamore, we used to come here and record,” Fox said of the idyllic barn. “We spent nights here and made music. When we decided to do this, I knew it was the perfect venue.”

The bands featured at the festival were Sycamore, Gaza Strip Club, Louder Space, Lizzie Weber, St. James Infirmary, Naked Walrus, The Deathtower, The Open Ends, Caste Down and Tainted Warlock.

Yaniv Goldobin, lead singer of The Open Ends, led the band in their first live performance.

“We’ve been rehearsing for the entire quarter, and finally an opportunity came for us when Evan invited us to play,” Goldobin said. “We got off the freeway, and we said to each other, ‘What are we getting into?’ Evan did a fantastic job setting all this up. It’s beautiful, and it is just so awesome being here.”

But as the sun set later in the day, the wind picked up, and the blankets became coveted.

“We also might think about doing it in summer or spring, you know, a friendlier weather month,” Fox said. “I’d love it to be a regular thing because of what it brings together.”

At the end of my duration in the obscure landscape of rural Templeton, I never did see the white pot-bellied pig. But with the noise of the bands, the fans, and especially the smell of the tri-tip sandwiches from the food truck, who knows; if next year bears any resemblance to this past Sunday, it may just be too good of a time for the blind, deaf pig to resist.

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