Cowboy Festival in Santa Clarita

Michelle E. Battelman

After three years without a cowboy peach cobbler, no cowboy tricks, no cowboy shooters or cowboy singers, the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival will take place on Main Street in Old Town Newhall on the weekend of April 22-23.

Kyle Lopez, Head of Arts and Events for the City of Santa Clarita, leads the team bringing a fresh look to the 2023 Cowboy Festival.

“We are very excited and look forward to bringing the community back to a fun event and showcasing the history and culture of Santa Clarita,” she said. “We want people to just have a good time.”

In addition to beloved Western music, the festival will also feature country, folk and bluegrass music.

“We have an eclectic mix of music at the festival this year,” said Lopez.

“Over the past few cowboy festivals, the demographics of the attendees have changed. By offering additional genres of music, guests are introduced to different types of music. I think a good combination opens it up to a wider audience.”

The best part about Cowboy Festival 2023 is that it will be free to attend, except for a few shows and ticketed tours.


Cowboy Festival favorites John Chandler and Dave Stayy will perform alongside Surdo Slim, Karin Marie, Gary Allegretto and more.

The three live music stages will include two on Main Street and one at the MAIN Theatre.

Lopez said that each artist will perform once a day. A total of 34 musical performances will be offered between the three stages.

Chandler is a three-time winner of the prestigious Western Writers of America Spur Award. He was also named Best Western Musician by True West Magazine.

Stami is an internationally renowned cowboy singer, songwriter, and entertainer, and was inducted into the International Western Music Hall of Fame in 2016. True West magazine has voted him the best living solo Western musician five times.

Sourdough Slim received the 2001 Academy of Western Artists Will Rogers Award for Yodler of the Year, and was nominated for Artist of the Year by the Western Music Association in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

fun festival

In addition to music, the festival will feature ax throwing, gold panning, Western swing dancing, and cooking peaches in a Dutch oven.

Lopez said other interactive activities include archery, riding a mechanical bull and line dancing lessons and training.

“We want to have a variety of activities that people of all ages can get involved in,” Lopez said.

Festival favorite and chief lasso expert Dave Thornbury will return to the streets of Newhall’s Old Town to impress guests with his tricks.

Also returning to the Cowboy Festival are living history exhibits, including blacksmiths and buffalo soldiers.

The Buffalo Soldiers were African American soldiers who primarily served on the western frontier after the American Civil War.

Visit their camp at the Cowboy Festival to learn about this period in American history.

Lopez said Old Town Newhall is a good place to restart the Cowboy Festival.

“Main Street has really blossomed over the last few years, it’s a great showcase for Santa Clarita and a great backdrop for the festival,” she said.

Food and shopping

In addition to a variety of food vendors, the festival will feature more than a dozen carefully selected vendors showcasing their Western merchandise at The Trading Post and Mercantile Row. Stroll through a western city and browse vintage boots, hats, leather goods, jewelry, and western fashion.

“We’ll have some returning sellers from yesteryear, including fan favorites,” Lopez said. “However, some of the suppliers we contacted from past festivals are no longer traveling or no longer working.”

SCV Rotary cobbler for peach

The Santa Clarita Valley Rotary Club will return to serve their famous peach cobbler, cooked the old fashioned way in a cast-iron brazier and served hot with a mountain of whipped cream.

The SCV Rotary Shoe Stand at the Cowboy Festival is a fundraiser for a club that was founded over 50 years ago.

The SCV Rotary supports a variety of causes, including helping veterans, students, seniors, and others at SCV and beyond.

More to come

Other events that are wrapping up include two ticketed shows, one at the Newhall Family Theater and the other at the Canyon Theater Guild.

On Friday, April 21, the California Fiesta De Rancho Camulos will take place at the Camulos Ranch in Piru. See for updates.

Headliners for all three events have yet to be announced.

Two film tours and a limited number of VIP tickets will also be offered.

Cowboy Festival volunteer opportunities will also be available soon.

Visit for all events, tickets and performers.

FEELINGS, Avenue of Western Stars

Leading up to the Cowboy Festival on Thursday, April 20, from 19:00 to 22:00, the Wild Wild West SENSES Block Party will take place on Main Street with live music, themed events, a street bar and more.

On Friday, April 21, the names of the 2023 inductees will be presented on the Walk of Western Stars. This event will celebrate the inductees’ contribution to the history of Western entertainment by commemorating their names in bronze and terrazzo carved on the streets of Newhall’s Old Town.


The Cowboy Festival is an important event that draws visitors to Santa Clarita, Lopez said.

“We want to show the fantastic place of Santa Clarita and also the history. We want people to bring their travel dollars to Santa Clarita,” Lopez said.

Lopez said this year’s Cowboy Festival is planned to be held as a “one-off event” in Newhall’s Old Town, with future festivals to be held at larger venues.

“The goal is to find a traditional location for the Cowboy Festival,” she said. “In terms of tourism, we want to attract people to this event, this is a tourism event at the regional and national levels.”

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