The Creative Accordions of Cotati

THE BEAUTIFUL BELLOWS: Some musical pursuits go in and out of fashion, depending if they make a cameo in the summer's hit song or an actor wields a particular instrument in a blockbuster film. But the accordion? Let's call that the setter of sound standards. Let's call it above and beyond and outside of whims and trends and flitting fancies. For while song-making devices summon subjective opinions aplenty, we can all land on the fact that accordions summon Before Times like nothing's business. Those bellows and keys and wheezes tell of romance and travel and melancholy days watching the rain (and days spent dancing and raising various roofs, too). So musical trends? You keep comin' and goin' while accordionists and their most enthusiastic aficionados make for Cotati in August. Oh, you knew that Cotati is home to one of the most beloved accordion festivals in all the accordion-loving world? Of course you did. So strap on your instrument -- both shoulders, if you please -- and clear the weekend of Saturday, Aug. 16 and Sunday, Aug. 17.

THAT'S WHEN... fabulouso accordion acts and players like the costume-creative Great Morgani and the oh-so-lively Mad Maggies and the dance-fun Motordude Zydeco will raise those squeezeboxes high and make that sweet-sad-sweet music. Yep, there's a play-along "Lady of Spain" moment in the weekend, and some polka party action, and there are ripe opportunities to simply listen if you like. But accordion appreciation takes some involvement, too, yes? Yes. So swing your skirt or a partner to the stomping tunes or the slow smoky ballads that get the couples on the floor. In short, you can head to Laplaza Park simply if you are a lover of the most cafe-iest of all instruments. Accordion love is an inclusive love, for sure.