Announces a hiatus in 2020


Captain "Stubby" Wood played by Bay area favorite and independent contractor: Will Wood. 

Photo Credit: Byron Dazey, a very talented and Independently contracted Photographer


The Kondor Brothers are a performance duo who perform regularly as independent contractors at the event each year.

Dear Pirates and Patrons of the Northern California Pirate Festival,


It is with heavy hearts that we share this news:

Due to circumstances beyond our control, we have decided to cancel the 2020 Pirate Festival.

This was not an easy decision for us, The Northern California Pirate Festival has been a labor of love and we are extremely proud of the amazing event we have created over 13 years with your attendance and support.

Due to the ambiguous wording and the lack of exemptions given to performing artists and musicians in California Bill 5 (AB5), we have experienced administrative and legal hurdles that have proven to be problematic. The Pirate Festival has always been dependent on hiring the talents of independent performing artists, and musicians to bring the golden age of piracy to life. We simply do not believe we can produce the festival without taking on a rise in costs that would prove disastrous, until the law is clarified and amended. As a result of AB5, music and other events across the state have already canceled this year. We regret that we have to be one of them.

In addition to this, is the possible economic fallout from the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) epidemic that is closing down events and businesses. The full impact of the virus is unknown and could both affect attendance and have longer-reaching consequences that simply cannot be predicted.

We feel that for the future of the festival, the best and safest course of action is to postpone until 2021. It pains us to make this decision, but the reality of the situation is that either of these two factors could cause the permanent cancellation of the Northern California Pirate Festival. By taking this course of action, we are trying our very best to protect the festival so that we can all continue to enjoy it and see it grow for years to come.  

We have all sorts of exciting plans for our return…and we WILL BE BACK!

Thank you all for your understanding and support,

Your Pirate Pals,

Michelle & Ray Amsbury
Anna & Steve Benincasa-Morales
Kathy Kingman & Mark Solum

If you would like to make your opinions known to your local legislator regarding AB5, here are some links:

This Article includes the definitions and meanings of the Borello test vs the ABC test in determining independent contractor status as well as what the Dynamex Ruling is.

This website contains articles that have been compiled by a group of independent contractors that have been adversely affected by AB5:


If you are a facebook user you may search for “AB5” and your results will show multiple groups full of people who are telling their stories. The stories represent people in professions such as medical care workers, sign language interpreters, educators and educational administrators. Musicians and actors are not covered under the “Fine Arts” exemption and so you’ll see how many community theaters are having to close their doors and shut down programs. We encourage you to search out these stories from real people impacted by a law that was not properly vetted before being enacted.


Once you are informed, Contact your local California State Legislator. Many of the reps may not even have read the bill before endorsing it. Make your voice heard:



We hope to see you in 2021!

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Downloadable Press Releases

Click here for a Downloadable PDF of the Press Release.




Nation’s Largest Pirate Event Announces Hiatus For 2020 Season


March 10, 2020 - Producers of the Northern California Pirate Festival announced the cancellation of their 2020 season previously scheduled for June 20 and 21, 2020 at Vallejo Waterfront Park, California. The annual Father's Day Weekend event has entertained thousands of families, Maritime music fans, and pirate enthusiasts for the past thirteen years with live music, sword fights, games, crafts, and a daily ship-to-shore cannon battle in the Vallejo Straight across from Mare Island. 

Citing mounting concerns surrounding the new California Assembly Law 5  and cancellations of other large public gatherings in the wake of the Corona Virus outbreak, the producers have elected to postpone plans for the spring 2020 season. 

“As of Jan. 1, 2020, the State of California put into effect new regulations regarding independent contractors. With the guidance of legal counsel, we have determined that at this time these new rules apply to independent performance artists and musicians and present significant new administrative and financial requirements.” said Kathy Kingman, one of six Northern California Pirate Festival co-producers. “This, coupled with the concern of an economic fallout following the COVID-19 Epidemic, we have decided to cancel the 2020 event in hopes of coming back in 2021 after the exemptions for performing artists and musicians have been clarified.”



California Based Nautical Band, "The Seadogs" are a regular attraction at the Northern California Pirate Festival and as musicians are not exempt under the "Fine artist" exemptions allowed for AB5.

Learn more about AB5 through the links provided in the letter above and support your local independent contractors by contacting your local California State Representatives.