A return to San Luis Obispo’s enchanting Festival Mozaic

If you’re a classical music fan in the central San Joaquin Valley and have never experienced Festival Mozaic in San Luis Obispo County, it’s time to head for the coast. (As if you needed a good excuse, right?)

The 48th season of the acclaimed festival — which changed its name from the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival in 2008 — opens today (Tuesday, July 17) with a concert at the Clark Center for the Performing Arts in Arroyo Grande. The performances continue nearly every day through July 28 with a grand finale at the San Luis Obispo Mission.

Harpeth Rising Instruments1+Edited

I went last year for the first time to Festival Mozaic and loved it. And I’m making a repeat visit this year. On Thursday, I’ll hear a group called Harpeth Rising (pictured above) at the Dana Adobe Cultural Center in Nipomo. And on Saturday, I’m going back to “Baroque in the Vines” at the breathtakingly picturesque Serra Chapel in Shandon.

Last year I wrote:


The hill on which the chapel rests is dramatically long and narrow. It’s terraced with vineyards and olive trees, the vivid hues in stark contrast to the bleached-blond vegetation of the surrounding hills picking up the golden glow of the late-afternoon sun. The outline of color reminds me of the shape of a large ship. There’s only one sign of human habitation visible, a house far on a distant hill, and if you let that go it’s easy to imagine you’re in the middle of nowhere. Indeed, I feel as if this ship is floating through a yellow sea.

Check out the schedule for this year’s festival. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy classical music. (And the fact that it’ll be a lot cooler than Fresno is a very nice bonus.)

Related story: Sunsets and Vivaldi: At Festival Mozaic, I get the chance to experience three beautiful concerts at three even more beautiful San Luis Obispo County locales

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Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

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