Berkeley Arts Festival Calendar


Freighter Tots Sing-Along with Clyde Leland

The Freight's popular Saturday-morning song circles for young children - - FREIGHTER TOTS - - takes to the main stage for the 50th anniversary year's final free sing-along. Come fill our concert hall with the songs your kids love to sing, and learn to sing with them so you can make music part of their lives forever. Music Builds Community.

Clyde Leland (Grampa Clyde) started singing songs with kids about 40 years ago when his own children were in pre-school. In 2015, while singing with his granddaughter's class, he realized that singing with kids is more fun than teaching law students. So he left his job teaching Legal Ethics in law school to give more time to Sing Along with Grampa Clyde. In addition to practicing and teaching law and working as a legal affairs journalist, he has been a summer-camp song leader and a singer-songwriter performing throughout the Bay Area. A native San Franciscan, he lives in Berkeley.

Dec 9, 11am to 12 noon, Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison Street, Berkeley

Soul Sanctuary Dance

Family-friendly Freestyle Community Dance. Come dance freely every Sunday morning at Soul Sanctuary Dance. No admission fee / 100% volunteer produced.

Soul Sanctuary Dance is a welcoming and inclusive all-ages community freestyle/ecstatic/shoes optional dance that supports free expression, community, physical and emotional health, and a spirit of generosity. We dance to an irresistible eclectic blend of world music, funk, house, soul, electro swing, positive hip hop, reggae, dance classics, jazz, blues, electronica, and other music to free mind, body and soul.

Organic fruit for all after the dance.
The dance is completely organized and run by volunteers.
Wheelchair accessible. No scented products please. Shoes optional.

The dance is a generosity and donation-based event. We don't charge a fee for admission. Instead, we post this message at the welcome table: "Your dance today at Soul Sanctuary Dance is a gift from those who have made donations to the dance, and from the volunteers who organize and produce the dance. We invite you to pay this generosity forward for future dancers, in whatever amount or manner you choose, so that we can continue to keep this chain of gifts alive."

Dec 9, 11am to 1pm, Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center, 1317 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley

Fiesta Puertorriqueña: ¡Parranda Navideña 2018!

*Limited seating available.*  Doors open at 2pm / Performances start at 2:45pm
$5 Kids / $15 Advance / $20 Door (there is a $2 Credit Card fee at the door per ticket)
Join the Puerto Rican community at La Peña for a family-friendly Parranda Navideña!  Featuring live music and dance performances by La Mixta Criolla, Bay Area Bomba y Plena Workshop's Youth and Adult Ensembles! Plus, enjoy delicious Puerto Rican food by Cali-Rican Catering, who will be doing a special pop-up! Menu and pricing coming soon! (Get here early to ensure a plate!) Everyone is welcome to join in on the fun! Bring your dancing shoes and come hungry!
Bay Area Bomba y Plena Adult Ensemble: 2:45pm-3:25pm
"Quenepas" Bay Area Bomba y Plena Youth Ensemble 3:40pm-4:20pm
La Mixta Criolla 4:45pm-6:15pm

Inspired in the rich and soulful music of Puerto Rico and the greater Caribbean, La Mixta Criolla's sound is based on the mix of "cuero, cuerdas y voces" (skins, strings, and vocals). The group's repertoire of originals and funky renditions of traditional tunes, features a variety of swinging Caribbean grooves, from plena, bomba, guaracha jíbara, seis and aguinaldo, to merengue, son, rumba, cumbia and salsa. Featuring Román "Ito" Carrillo on bongó, panderos, barriles and vocals; Camilo Landao on cuatro guitar and vocals; Ayla Dávila on bass and vocals; Javier Navarrette on timbales, cajón and vocals; and Héctor Lugo on congas, panderos, barriles and vocals.
(View Full Event Description Here:

Dec 9, 2pm to 7pm, La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave. , Berkeley

Community DRUMMM Circle

Event at 2:00 pm in the Back Studio
Tickets are $10-15 Adults / $5-$10 Kids (sliding scale)

Join DRUMMM Rhythmic Events founder Jeni Swerdlow and friends in a joyful celebration of rhythm! Group drumming can be a fun and effective way to reduce stress, connect with oneself and others, live in the moment, and build musical skills. Swerdlow's facilitation makes drumming engaging, accessible, and meaningful for all ages and all levels. Come play! Bring a drum or play one that's provided (first come, first served) for an additional $5. Beginners are encouraged to come early for an introduction to hand drumming and basic world grooves.

Register online at (click "Pay Now" and follow the instructions) or pay by cash/check at the door. Kids ages 2-13 qualify for reduced admission. Kids under age 2 are admitted free with a participating/supervising adult.

Dec 9, 2pm to 4pm, Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center, 1317 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley


Hailing from varying backgrounds and 3 different continents, the female music trio "Mooncake" consists of Swedish-based saxophonist/flutist Biggi Vinkeloe, flutist/vocalist Emily Hay from Southern California and Japanese born pianist/sound artist Motoko Honda who now lives in Oakland. Hay and Honda have collaborated as a duo together since 2009 and the Mooncake trio developed when they invited Vinkeloe to join them for some concerts in San Francisco several years ago which led to new friendships and genre busting and unique musical explorations.


Motoko Honda (piano, keyboards, effects)
Biggi Vinkeloe (saxophone, flute)
Emily Hay (flutes, voice and effects)

Dec 9, 3pm to 5pm, Maybeck Studio, 1537 Euclid Ave, Berkeley

University Baroque Ensemble *Note: actual end time may vary.*

Christine Brandes, director

Berkeley's University Baroque Ensemble (UBE) was founded in 2003 as a successor to the Collegium musicum. It is, as far as weknow, the only student group in the world that performs not just on copies of original instruments but on original eighteenth-century instruments. These include some fine antique violins from the A. Salz Collection, donated to the Music Department over forty years ago. The UBE is currently open to players of violin, viola, cello, bass, flute, keyboard, and guitar (or lute). For students who currently play the modern versions of these instruments, coaching is available to help learn the original baroque instruments.

The purpose of the Ensemble is to perform music of the Baroque period (c.1580-c.1740) on historically appropriate instruments, using performance styles based on what is currently known of the performance practices of the country and period in which the pieces were composed. The repertoire ranges from early consort music, through Purcell, Charpentier, and Muffat, to Couperin, Handel, Vivaldi, and Bach. A regular feature of UBE rehearsals is group improvisation based on the systems that were used for teaching in the eighteenth century.

Whenever possible, the Ensemble performs directly from seventeenth-century and eighteenth-century scores, learning to become familiar with the quite different kinds of musical notation used in earlier periods. These scores often come from the extraordinarily rich Special Collections housed in Berkeley's Jean Gray Hargrove Music Library, one of the great research libraries in the USA; it is especially strong in holdings of original scores of baroque vocal and instrumental music, many of which are found nowhere else in the world.

Dec 9, 3pm to 4pm, Hertz Concert Hall

Pavel Zustiak and Palissimo Company: Custodians of Beauty

Pavel Zustiak and Palissimo Company, Cal Performances

In this multisensory work, choreographer Pavel Zustiak and his Palissimo Company ask, "Where do we find beauty today, and does it need our defense?" Zustiak creates an immersive visual experience for Custodians of Beauty, combining movement with imagery, light, and sound in response to a 2009 speech by Pope Benedict XVI, reminding artists of their responsibilities as "custodians of beauty in the world." Through formal abstraction and restrained, minimalist gesture, Zustiak explores the human body as sculpture, emotional trigger, and political symbol.

Dec 9, 3pm to 5pm, Zellerbach Playhouse

Starry Plough Old Time Shred Sesh!

Every Second and Fourth Sundays of the month the Starry Plough hosts Old Time Jam Sessions. 2nd Sunday is the Advanced Shred Session, 4th Sunday is the Starry Plough Old Time Pickin' Party!

Dec 9, 4pm to 6pm, The Starry Plough Pub - 3101 Shattuck Avenue - Berkeley

Ian Carey Quintet+1: Fire In My Head (the Anxiety Suite)-East Bay Premiere

The Ian Carey Quintet+1 (with Adam Shulman, piano; Kasey Knudsen, alto saxophone; Sheldon Brown, woodwinds; Fred Randolph, bass; Jon Arkin, drums; and Ian Carey on trumpet) has been performing its blend of original creative jazz across the Bay Area for over a decade at venues including The Sound Room, California Jazz Conservatory, SFJAZZ's Joe Henderson Lab, the Presidio Sessions, and InterMusicSF's SFMusic Day festival.

The group has released four albums: 2006's Sink/Swim ("An exciting set of music with a heavy-hitting lineup of musicians" - Greg Bridges, KCSM Jazz 91), 2010's Contextualizin' ("I can't stop playing this CD" - Marc Myers,, 2013's Roads & Codes, which received 4½ stars from DownBeat Magazine and was featured on many critics' "Best of 2013" lists, and 2016's Interview Music, featuring the 55-minute title suite composed by Carey and commissioned by the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music.

For this performance, the group will be performing Carey's brand new 5-part composition "Fire In My Head (the Anxiety Suite)", which was commissioned by Chamber Music America's New Jazz Works program and deals with the subject of anxiety (on both a personal level and as a community), as well as material from their acclaimed albums.

Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door. Advance tickets are available at the link below, or you may purchase your tickets at the door the night of the show. Doors open one half hour before show time. We accept cash only at the door (ATMs are nearby).

The Back Room is an all-ages, BYOB (for those 21+) space, dedicated to (mostly) acoustic music of all kinds. You are welcome to bring your own adult beverage with no additional corkage fee. If you need more information or have any questions, please call us: #510-654-3808. Thank you for your support!

Dec 9, 5pm to 6:30pm, The Back Room, 1984 Bonita Ave, Berkeley


Doors at 5:30 pm; Show at 6:00 pm

Tickets are $10 donation

Buy Tickets Here

Since 1993, Berkeley-based BandWorks has helped several thousand youngsters fulfill their dream of playing in a rock band. BandWorks helps organize students into bands, provides coaching with some of the best musician-instructors in the Bay Area, and after 8 weeks rehearsing their favorite rock, pop, blues, reggae and original songs, takes the bands to the stage at Ashkenaz to perform live in front of an audience. In addition, BandWorks offers year-round classes for kids, teens, and adults, as well as summer camps for kids and teens at locations around the Bay Area.

Dec 9, 6pm to 9pm, Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center, 1317 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley

San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus

Celebrate the holiday season with members of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus for "Home for the Holidays!"
Known for its warm, rich choral tones and over-the-top productions, the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus continues its tradition of bringing holiday cheer to the East Bay with its December 9th show in Berkeley. Expect plenty of upbeat, show-stopping numbers, stunningly beautiful choral pieces, and updated, modern takes on old favorites, crossing genre and dishing up a delightful program of gorgeous holiday music.

For over 40 years, the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus has courageously served as the international standard bearer for a powerful and accomplished mix of high-caliber performance, human rights, community activism, empowerment, and inclusiveness, establishing it as an icon among LGBT organizations. Founded in 1978, it was the first organization of its kind and is credited with starting the LGBT choral movement, galvanizing and changing the course of LGBT history. It continues to rally and inspire other arts-based community organizations around the world, with its signature blend of humor, personality, and high-voltage performances.

Dec 9, 7pm to 9pm, Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison Street, Berkeley

The 3rd Annual Environmental Equity Summit featuring Talib Kweli

Hip Hop For Change and the Sierra Club are throwing the 3rd Annual Oakland Environmental Equity Summit.

The event will raise awareness for local POC-led environmental justice groups and environmental education in Bay Area schools. This arts and environmental advocacy event will provide a platform to discuss the environmental needs of POC, and grassroots POC environmentalist groups. The project goal is to provide large environmentalist NGOs with the opportunity to understand how they may better serve and collaborate with POC communities affected by environmental hazards. It will unite like-minded environmental organizations to connect, exchange ideas, and foster lasting relationships. Attendees of all ages will enjoy a diverse line-up of exhibitors, vendors, DJs, artists creating new visuals around the themes of Unity and Environmental Justice, and speakers.

The environmental movement has a long history of elitism and racism. Many POC participants in the green movement testify that large environmental groups rarely address the needs of or collaborate with communities of color. The Green 2.0 campaign released a study in 2015 showing that POC makes less than 17% of the 300 environmental organizations surveyed. 95% of these groups' governing boards were White. Experts in the field, such as Governor Jerry Brown's senior advisor, Clifford Rechtschaffen, agree that diversity remains one of the central challenges of the environmental movement, yet also one of the central opportunities (New America Media). In order to ensure that we don't repeat the mistakes of the past, we must Unify the communities on the frontlines of environmental justice and all of the organizations tackling these issues globally and locally.

This event will featuring music from,
Talib Kweli

Plus support from:
Rocky Rivera
Earth Amplified
Groove Mafia

The Panel will hosted by: Davey D
plus Confirmed Panelists:
Mustafa Santiago Ali (Hip Hop Caucus)
Margaret Gordon (West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project)
Sejal Choksi-Chugh (Executive Director of SF Baykeeper)

Dec 9, 8pm to 10pm, Cornerstone, 2367 Shattuck Ave (Enter On Durant), Berkeley

Emily Scott Robinson

With her forthcoming album Traveling Mercies, Emily Scott Robinson offers a complex, thoughtful portrait of a real itinerant artist, one who carries the lessons of her past as she searches for a hopeful future. She and her husband live full-time in a motorhome and spend long stretches on the road, turning chance encounters with strangers into stirring folk meditations on the human condition.

Though this is Robinson's first proper studio release (having already released a full-length album, Magnolia Queen, and a live EP), it's by no means her first introduction to the songwriting community.

In 2015, she won American Songwriter's May/June lyric contest for the Magnolia Queen cut "Marriage Ain't the End of Being Lonely." She followed that award with two more, notching a Kerrville New Folk Winner trophy in 2016 and a Wildflower Performing Songwriter Contest win in 2017. In an early nod to Traveling Mercies, AmericanaFest announced Robinson as an Official Showcasing Artist for the 2018 lineup in Nashville this September.

With Traveling Mercies, Robinson has announced herself as one of our important emerging voices in Americana and roots music. Beyond that, she's given us a beautiful album, a balm for trying times which shows, through intricately crafted melodies and hard-earned wisdom, that we all have the same struggles at our core, and there's no better time than now to take that to heart.

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Advance tickets are available at the link below, or you may purchase your tickets at the door the night of the show. Doors open one half hour before show time. We accept cash only at the door (ATMs are nearby).

The Back Room is an all-ages, BYOB (for those 21+) space, dedicated to (mostly) acoustic music of all kinds. You are welcome to bring your own adult beverage with no additional corkage fee. If you need more information or have any questions, please call us: #510-654-3808. Thank you for your support!

Dec 9, 8pm to 10pm, The Back Room, 1984 Bonita Ave, Berkeley