Kelly & Noah Dorrance
DORRANCE DUO Kelly and Noah Dorrance, presenting the music at the 2023 Bloodroot Ramble. They return to the stage in June to shepherd this year’s Ramble, to be held at the Healdsburg Community Center playing field on June 8.
By Cristan Molinelli-Ruberto

A few months before she became one more statistic of gun violence, 9-year-old Evelyn Dieckhaus wrote in her journal: “Friends first, forgive, hug your teacher, lift others up. Have people rise in kindness.” 

A year later, her aunt Kelly Dorrance is still trying to have people rise in kindness through fundraising and activism to combat gun violence. The vehicle: The second annual BloodRoot Ramble, a music festival by winery owners Kelly and Noah Dorrance, set for June 7-8 in the heart of Wine Country. 

Healdsburg is a small, community-driven and picturesque town, where people wear muted sundresses, relaxed linen shirts and large-brimmed hats. Healdsburg is where you find airy and coastal-feeling tasting rooms and quaint vineyards spanning the slopes of Sonoma County.

In contrast, The Ramble is a sexy, loud and grungy indie-rock music festival with bold orangey-red colorways and skull motifs throughout the marketing. The two shouldn’t mix, but they will this year.

EMCEE Noah Dorrance, then of Banshee Wines, plays master of ceremonies for the 2018 Banshee Fest in West Plaza Park. He may play a similar role this weekend in BloodRoot Ramble at the Community Center’s playing field.

The Ramble combines two days of great music, wine and fundraising efforts to stop gun violence in the United States. That may seem like an unlikely pairing, but for the Dorrances, it is their life now. They lost their niece in the Covenant School Shooting in Nashville, Tennessee, in March 2023. 

Kelly Dorrance is in awe of all Evelyn was able to accomplish by the young age of 9. She talks about Evelyn in the present, “Was, is, I still don’t talk about her in past tense. That sucks,” she said. She pulled out her phone and showed pictures of Evelyn’s journal, sent by her mother, Katy Dieckhaus. 

Although Dorrance said, “I can’t do her justice … she is remarkable,” she is trying with The Ramble, this June. On top of throwing a music festival for Healdsburg, she is partnering with Giffords, an anti-gun violence organization founded by former Congresswoman and mass-shooting survivor Gabrielle Giffords.

Festival Goal

The goal is to raise $100,000 to help fight gun violence in the United States. All proceeds produced from the festival weekend will go toward this goal. And with the purchase of any ticket to The Ramble, festival-goers can add a donation to Giffords in Evelyn’s name.

That support is much needed, as throwing an entire music festival is a huge endeavor. Dorrance can describe just how much effort it is because they are doing it all in-house. “You know it can be hard when you’re not a known entity like Outside Lands or BottleRock,” she said. “So it’s going to get better for us to book bands as we have more of a reputation and we have assets to share. But it’s really just elbow grease. And just doing it. And there’s a million different pieces.” 

Last year’s Ramble was held in West Plaza Park, that often-overlooked public space behind the former Bear Republic Brewery. This year the event has been moved to a much larger venue, in fact a place that has not yet been used for a public concert of this sort: the grass fields at the Healdsburg Community Center.

“I’m nervous,” Dorrance said. “It’s a big undertaking. When we did The Ramble last year, it was so fun and I felt like it went off so well, so I’m hoping I have that same feeling. It’s just four times bigger.”

The Ramble begins on Friday evening, with a reception at Reeve Wines in Dry Creek (the Dorrance’s “upscale” label), followed by an opening party and concert in Healdsburg with the Coffis Brothers.

The next day, Saturday, is the Ramble itself: from noon to 8pm at the Community Center Field, featuring Lord Huron, Andrew Bird, Cautious Clay, the Nude Party and Spike Sikes.

“We were able to get some of the bands, like Lord Huron, basically at cost because they’re friends of ours and they wanted to help. And so we’re getting a band at an amazing value, that sells out huge amphitheaters,” Dorrance said. 

Andrew Bird

Singer-songwriter Bird is purposely making time to support the cause, and Evelyn. 

“Andrew Bird wasn’t coming through here, but he loves the cause, too, so he made his schedule work,” Dorrance said. “So having that lynchpin of a cause makes it feel a lot more purposeful, a lot more valuable.”

Having a cause has also made the 2024 Ramble feel more special. Tasting-room manager Jessica Whitaker described how The Ramble transitioned from “this cool thing that Kelly and Noah were doing” in 2023, to “more about supporting and showing up for Kelly and Noah, and the loss they’ve experienced, and the good that they’re trying to do.” 

She was a key player in planning the first Ramble in 2023—helping to plan and coordinate tasks for the weekend, including event setup and removal and acting as a band coordinator, as well as heading beer and wine sales at the beverage tent the day of the festival.

The Ramble is “not very Healdsburg,” Whitaker said, and it is a testament to how community-driven the town is to support this endeavor. And this is a big reason Whitaker looks forward to being part of The Ramble this year.

The Ramble is something new and innovative to the winery space in Sonoma County, and it’s continuing to put BloodRoot on the map. “So doing something that’s different like this is a big differentiator,” Dorrance said. “You know everyone does winemaker dinners and pickup parties, but no one does … The Ramble.” 

Tickets and information at

Previous articleSnapshot: It Started with Decoration Day
Next article‘Active Transportation Plan’ Open House



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here