Accordion fest makes change at top
Linda Conner takes over role of executive director from Scott Goree
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By Dave Williams  January 3, 2014 12:00 am

There has been a change in the hierarchy of the Cotati Accordion Festival. The CAF on Thursday, Dec. 30, appointed Linda Conner to the position of executive director, effective immediately.

Conner steps in for former executive director Scott Goree, who resigned Dec. 21 to deal with personal legal issues. Conner has a wealth of experience and knowledge of the CAF, having been involved with the festival since its inception in 1991 and has served as producer for the past eight years. 

While Goree has been the primary driving force for the CAF since he assumed the executive directorship after the 2004 festival, Conner believes the festival will not only survive but thrive because of the contributions of many involved.

“This is a community event, and although certain individuals are responsible for the major heavy lifting, it belongs to the volunteers, musicians, vendors and devoted attendees,” Conner said. “I expect this year to be one of our best.  I am thrilled with this opportunity and look forward to the challenge of filling the enormous shoes Scott leaves behind. I can say along with many others how much we appreciate Scott’s immense generosity and energy. We are all looking forward to many more fabulous, music-filled days in Cotati’s La Plaza Park.”  

Goree’s legal issues stem from his Dec. 19 arrest in Petaluma for possession of cocaine with the intent to sell. One of Goree’s areas of expertise was the ability to attract strong acts to fill the schedule at the two-day, daylong festival.

The CAF, now entering its 24th year, has grown into one of the most popular festivals in the county as it attracts patrons from all over the world and has an average attendance of 5,000.

Some of the performers who have graced the stage at Cotati’s La Plaza Park include Dick Contino, considered by many to be the best accordionist ever, Flaco Jimenez, Queen Ida, Alex Meisner, polka-punk band Polkacide, Rosie Ledet and the Zydeco Playboys and Italy accordion aficionado Renzo Ruggieri.

The Cotati Accordion Festival is a nonprofit organization established in 1991 to promote the love of the accordion and to support local youth service organizations.  To date, the CAF has contributed in excess of $320,000 to local youth organizations.  For many years, the Cotati Accordion Festival has been the largest cash donor to the Cotati/Rohnert Park Education Foundation. 

This year’s festival is scheduled for Aug. 16-17. For more information about the CAF, go to www.cotatifest.com. Facebook: cotati.accordionfestival. Twitter: @cotatifest.

 

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