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Showing posts with label Simi Valley Blues Festival. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Simi Valley Blues Festival. Show all posts

Monday, March 3, 2014

Robert Randolph/Swamp Dogg/John Mayall/C.J. Chenier headline Simi Valley Cajun-Blues Festival 2014



ROBERT RANDOLPH & THE FAMILY BAND,
SWAMP DOGG, JOHN MAYALL, CANNED HEAT,
C.J. CHENIER, GUITAR SHORTY
HEADLINE 24th ANNUAL
SIMI VALLEY CAJUN & BLUES MUSIC FESTIVAL,
SATURDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 24-25
 Los Angeles area’s largest Cajun, Zydeco, Blues
and Roots Music festival,
held over Memorial Day weekend, features two stages,
a Mardi Gras parade, kids’ activities, crafts and dozens of food booths
 Festival debut of new blues stage booker Martin Fleischmann.

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. — The 25th annual Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Festival will rock once again at Memorial Day weekend, May 24-25, at Rancho Santa Susanna Community Park, 5005 Los Angeles Ave., in Simi Valley. The event features two full stages for each of its musical genres. Music will proceed non-stop each day from 12 noon until 7:30 p.m. Tickets, $22 adults 13+ ($20 online until May 1) and $15 children 7-12, are available online at http://www.simicajun.org or at the gate. Parking is ample and free. Fast-moving California Hwy. 118 (Ronald Reagan Freeway) can be taken to the Stearns Street exit; the festival is four blocks south.
The blues stage presents its strongest bill ever featuring Robert Randolph & the Family Band, the American funk and soul ensemble led by pedal steel guitarist Robert Randolph; Los Angeles-based Southern soul and blues legend Swamp Dogg; British blues patriarch John Mayall; blues revival pioneers Canned Heat; Texas-born bluesman Guitar Shorty; and Blues Music Award-winning singer and guitarist Tommy Castro. The blues stage will also feature Flattop Tom & His Jump Cats, Nancy & the Nightcrawlers, Dennis Jones and Andy Walo.
Meanwhile, on the Cajun-Zydeco stage, Grammy® Lifetime Achievement recipient C.J. Cheneir brings the Red Hot Louisiana Band, assembled by his father, Zydeco king Clifton Chenier. Veteran Zydeco accordionist Nathan Williams Sr. will appear, as will Nathan Williams Jr. & His Zydeco Big Timers. Dwayne Dopsie, hailing from one of the top Zydeco families in the world, will front the Zydeco Hellraisers. Foufollet presents their indie-rock-influenced Cajun music. Southern California’s own Lisa Haley & the Zydecats, a popular attraction at the festival for many years, will return, as will Andre Thierry & Zydeco Magic and the Bayou Brothers.
The annual Mardi Gras Parade will take place both days at 4 p.m.
About the performers:
• Robert Randolph & the Family Band first gained national attention with the release of the album Live at the Wetlands in 2002. The group followed with three studio recordings over the next eight years — Unclassified, Colorblind, and We Walk This Road — which, together with tireless touring and unforgettable performances at such festivals as Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, won them an expanding and passionate fan base. Randolph’s unprecedented prowess on his instrument garnered him a spot on Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” list, and also attracted the attention of such giants as Eric Clapton and Carlos Santana, who have collaborated with him on stage and in the studio. His new album on Blue Note Records is Lickety Split.
• Raunchy, satirical, political, and profane, Swamp Dogg is one of the great cult figures of 20th century American music. The nom du disque of Jerry Williams Jr., an R&B producer and songwriter of the ’60s, Swamp Dogg creates pure Southern soul music anchored on tight grooves and accentuated by horns. His songs are as much about message as music. His albums Total Destruction of the Mind and I’m Not Selling Out, I’m Buying In, both reissued last year, are cult classics. Swamp boasts gold and platinum records for both soul and country covers of his composition “She’s All I Got.” The Northridge resident’s 12-minute live rendition of the Bee Gees’ “Got To Get a Message to You” is not to be missed. A new album is due in the summer 2014.
 John Mayall was born in 1933 and grew up near Manchester, England. It was there as a teenager that he first became attracted to the jazz and blues 78s in his father’s record collection. After an early career in design, Mayall assembled the Bluesbreakers which featured such giants of British music as Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Peter Green, John McVie and Mick Taylor. In 1969 he moved to L.A.’s Laurel Canyon, long a mecca for musicians, where his now U.S.-based Bluebreakers featured Coco Montoya, Walter Trout and Buddy Whittington. Now living short miles from Simi Valley, he continues to record and tour the globe.
• C.J. Chenier was born 1957, the son of the great King of Zydeco, Clifton Chenier. C.J.’s father was the first Creole musician to win a Grammy Award. C.J. spent his childhood in the tough tenement housing projects of Port Arthur, Texas. When Clifton died in 1987, C.J. adopted the Red Hot Louisiana Band and recorded his debut album for Arhoolie Records with later recordings on Slash and Alligator Records. His 1995 appearances on the The Daily Show and CNN brought Zydeco music to its widest audiences yet. He received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.
• Canned Heat rose to fame because their knowledge and love of blues music was both wide and deep. Founded in 1966 by blues historians and record collectors Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson and Bob “The Bear” Hite, the band drew on an encyclopedic knowledge of all phases of the genre and attained two worldwide hits, “On the Road Again” in 1968 and “Going Up the Country” in 1969. Despite the untimely deaths of three of its founding members, Canned Heat has survived under the leadership of Fito de la Parra since the late ’70s.
• Guitar Shorty, a.k.a. David Kearney, was born in Houston in 1939, raised in Kissimee, Fla., and now makes his home in Los Angeles. Over the years he’s played behind T-Bone Walker, Willie Dixon, Guitar Slim, Big Joe Turner, Little Richard, Sam Cooke and fellow Simi Valley Festival performer Swamp Dogg. His recent albums on Evidence and Alligator albums attest to the high energy level of this survivor of blues’ classic era.
• Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers were rated one of the “Top 100 Reasons to Visit Louisiana.” The last of eight children, Dwayne attributes his musical abilities to the influence of his father, Rockin’ Dopsie Sr., a pioneer of Zydeco music. 
• Feufollet: In Feufollet’s repertoire, deathbed ballads meet glockenspiels and omnichords, Cajun French choruses are written on iPhones, and indie-rock vibes invade Acadian archives. The Louisiana-based band is deeply rooted in the francophone soil of Louisiana and pushing boldly into unexplored yet utterly natural varieties of Cajun experience. They are famous for their renditions of heartbreaking songs and rollicking tunes.
• Lisa Haley & the Zydecats: Haley is a fourth-generation fiddler whose maternal family were Irish immigrants, arriving in Roddy Bayou, Louisiana in 1718 to escape a smallpox epidemic. They moved near Hollywood for her mother’s health, where Mickey Mouse Show producer Bob Holoboff offered to make Lisa a Mousekateer. Her parents politely declined, thinking it no life for a young lady. They said the same of Cajun music as a career. Lisa turned down a classical music college scholarship, favoring her more passionate calling: exploring the potential of Cajun and Zydeco potential as a “world music.”
The Blues Stage welcomes a new booker this year, Martin Fleischmann and his company, Rum & Humble. For more than 20 years Rum & Humble has played a key role in presenting some of the world’s most celebrated musical talent (Radiohead, Manu Chao, and the Rolling Stones, to name a few) to Los Angeles audiences, in venues ranging from the Echoplex to the Orpheum Theatre to the Hollywood Bowl. The company has co-produced the Santa Monica Pier’s Twilight Concert Series since 2011. In addition, Rum & Humble has collaborated closely and creatively with artists such as Jackson Browne and Paul Oakenfold as well as with a varied roster of corporate and non-profit clients ranging from KJAZZ Radio to the Conga Room nightclub to the National Geographic Society.
The festival has received national press accolades: “Everywhere you turned, there was something exciting happening. Put this on your 2013 festival calendar,” wrote Blue Revue editor Art Tipaldi, who made the trek from New England. The Blues Blast writer enthused, “I attend many venues and festivals throughout the year but the ones that seem to impress me the most are the ones that serve the community in some way. I highly recommend you put this on your calendar for next Memorial Day weekend.” And the music industry trade journal HITS added, “As the last strains of (Candye) Kane’s set rang in our ears, we left the grounds fully sated by music, food, drink and, as the saying goes, bon temps.”
This family-friendly event boasts a huge kids’ area with bouncers, rock walls, specialty acts, crafts and talent shows.
The festival boasts dozens of food booths featuring a variety of fare: authentic Cajun creations and Southern BBQ as well as multi-cultural cuisine. More than 100 craft booths and retailers will be scattered throughout the festival grounds.
Tickets may be obtained online at
http://www.simicajun.org/2014/tickets.html
Support of the not-for-profit Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival has benefited dozens of local community, national and international organizations, a list of which may be found at < http://www.simicajun.org/2014/whobenefits.html>.
Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Festival web site:http://www.simicajun.org  
SATURDAY MAY 24th
BLUES STAGE
11:30 a.m. TBA
12:15 p.m. Dennis Jones
1:35 p.m. Andy Walo
3 p.m. Canned Heat
4:25 p.m. Guitar Shorty
5:50 p.m. John Mayall
CAJUN-ZYDECO STAGE
10:45 a.m. Dance Lessons
11:30 a.m. Bayou Brotghers
12:25 p.m. Lisa Haley & the Zydecats
1:55 p.m. Feufollet
3:25 p.m. Nathan Williams, Big Nate
4:35 Mardi Gras Parade
4:55 p.m. Nathan Williams Jr. & the Zydeco Big Timers
6:25 C.J. Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band
SUNDAY MAY 25th
BLUES STAGE 
12 Noon Nancy & the Nightcrawlers
1:20 Flattop Tom
2:45 Swamp Dogg
4:10 Tommy Castro
5:35 Robert Randolph & the Family Band
CAJUN-ZYDECO STAGE10:45 a.m. Dance Lessons
11:30 a.m. Bayou Brothers
12:25 p.m. Andre Thierry & Zydeco Magic
1:50 p.m. Lisa Haley & the Zydecats
4:20 p.m. Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers
5:45 p.m. C.J. Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana band
7:10 p.m. Feufollet
###

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Elvin Bishop/Janiva Magness/Steve Riley headline Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Fest. May 25-26, 2013





ELVIN BISHOP, JANIVA MAGNESS, SMOKIN’ JOE KUBEK PLUS
GRAMMY WINNERS STEVE RILEY & THE MAMOU PLAYBOYS
HEADLINE 24th ANNUAL
SIMI VALLEY CAJUN & BLUES MUSIC FESTIVAL,
SATURDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 25-26

Los Angeles area’s largest Cajun and Blues festival, held over Memorial Day weekend, features two stages, a Mardi Gras parade, kids’ stages, crafts and dozens of food booths

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. — The 24th annual Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Festival will rock over Memorial Day weekend, May 25-26, at Rancho Santa Susanna Community Park, 5005 Los Angeles Ave., in Simi Valley. The festival features two full stages for each of its musical genres. Music will proceed non-stop each day from 12 noon until 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $20 (adults 13+) and $15 (children) and are available online at http://www.simicajun.org or at the gate. Parking is ample and free. Fast-moving California Hwy. 118 (Ronald Reagan Freeway) can be taken to the Stearns Street exit; the festival is four blocks south.
Co-headlining the blues stage this year, Alligator recording artist Janiva Magness and Elvin Bishop will lead a Tribute to Finis Tasby.
Janiva Magness received the coveted 2009 Blues Music Award for B.B. King Entertainer of the Year (she is the second woman to ever win this award; Koko Taylor was the first). She also won Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year for three years. She has received a total of 22 Blues Music Award nominations to date, including five nominations this year. Her album Stronger For It is her tenth.
Elvin Bishop, who will lead a tribute to ailing Texas bluesman Finis Tasby, a member of the Mannish Boys, with John Nemeth and Kid Anderson, began his career with the Butterfield Blues Band. He notched a #3 pop hit with the single “I Fooled Around and Fell in Love” in 1976. His latest recording (and 18th album) is the live Raisin’ Hell Revue on Delta Groove Records.
Meanwhile, on the Cajun stage, Rounder Records artists and two-time Grammy Award nominees and 2013 winner Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys, will headline both Saturday and Sunday; Swampland star Teresa Russell, Southern California’s own Lisa Haley, Leroy Thomas & the Zydeco Roadrunners, David Sousa & the Zydeco Mudbugs, J Paul D. & the Zydeco Nubreeds and Andre Thierry & the Zydeco Magic will create a Louisiana-style fais-do-do. A sizeable dance floor will be built alongside the stage. The annual Mardi Gras Parade will take place both days at 4 p.m.
Meanwhile, back at the blues stage (and festival goers are encouraged to go back and forth), other performers include the Mannish Boys with guests Curtis Salgado, Kevin Selfe, Peter Dammann, Otis Grand and Audrey Turner; Smokin’ Joe Kubek & Bnois King with guests Bob Corritore, Rand Chortkoff and Big Pete; Sugar Ray & the Bluetones, Andy T/Nick Nixon Band with Anson Funderbaugh; James Herman’s Back Porch Revue; and the Delta Groove Harp Blast.
The blues stage also presents two young blues up-and-comers, redefining the genre for a new generation: Nathan James & His Rhythm Scratchers and Kara Grainger. Nathan James plays his self-invented washboard guitar, harmonica and kazoo. His 2012 What You Make of It album was called “one of the most original blues CDs (and bands) to come along in a long time.” Of Australian-born Kara Grainger — soon to release her Delta Groove Records debut album — Nashville’s Tennessean newspaper noted, "There's a whole lot of Bonnie Raitt in (her songs) . . . Grainger's alternately throaty and honeyed voice floats over a . . . bed of bluesy accompaniment."

The festival has received national press accolades: “Everywhere you turned, there was something exciting happening. Put this on your 2013 festival calendar,” wrote Blue Revue editor Art Tipaldi, who made the trek from New England. The Blues Blast writer enthused, “I attend many venues and festivals throughout the year but the ones that seem to impress me the most are the ones that serve the community in some way. I highly recommend you put this on your calendar for next Memorial Day weekend.” And the music industry trade journal Hits added, “As the last strains of (Candye) Kane’s set rang in our ears, we left the grounds fully sated by music, food, drink and, as the saying goes, bon temps.”
This family-friendly event boasts a huge kids’ area with bouncers, rock walls. specialty acts, crafts and talent shows.
The festival boasts dozens of food booths featuring a variety of fare: authentic Cajun creations and Southern BBQ as well as multi-cultural cuisine. More than 100 craft booths and retailers will be scattered throughout the festival grounds.
Tickets may be obtained online at http://wl.flavorus.com/rotaryclubofsimisunrise/cajunbluesfestival
Support of the not-for-profit Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival has benefited dozens of local community, national and international organizations a list of which may be found at http://www.simicajun.org/2013/whobenefits.html.
Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Festival web site:http://www.simicajun.org/2013/index.html

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Festival headliners, dates announced

CANDYE KANE, FABULOUS THUNDERBIRDS,
MUDDY WATERS TRIBUTE AND ROSIE LADET
HEADLINE 23rd ANNUAL
SIMI VALLEY CAJUN & BLUES MUSIC FESTIVAL,
SATURDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 26-27
Los Angeles area’s largest Cajun and Blues festival, held over Memorial Day weekend, features two stages, a Mardi Gras parade, kids’ stages, crafts and dozens of food booths
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. — The 23rd annual Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Festival will rock over Memorial Day weekend, May 26-27, at Rancho Santa Susanna Community Park, 5005 Los Angeles Ave., in Simi Valley. The festival features two full stages for each of its musical genres. Music will proceed non-stop each day from 12 noon until 8 p.m. Tickets cost $20 (adults 13+) and $15 (children) are available online at http://www.cajun-blues.com or at the gate. Parking is ample and free. Fast-moving California Hwy. 118 can be taken to the Stearns Street exit.
The festival has its origins in Cajun and Zydeco music, and this year the Cajun and Zydeco Stage will feature Gator Beat, Bonne Musique Zydeco, Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble, Nathan & the Zydeco Cha-Chas, and Billy Lee & the Swamp Critters, among others. In a genre that defies standing still, the festival boasts the largest outdoor dance floor west of the Mississippi River. Dance instruction will be offered.
Musical headliners on the Blues Stage will include the Fabulous Thunderbirds featuring Kim Wilson; Candye Kane, flanked by guitarist Laura Chavez, in a rare Los Angeles area appearance; a Muddy Waters Tribute featuring blues legend James Cotton, Paul Oscher and other members of the Muddy Waters band, and Muddy’s son Mud Morganfield; Rod Piazza & the West Coast Sheiks; Big Pete; Terry Hanck; Shawn Pittman; and the Mannish Boys with special guests. Oscher will also perform his own set. Certain to steal the spotlight will be “next generation” Americana-influenced bluesman Nathan James & the Rhythm Scratchers, joined by James Harman. The festival’s blues lineup was curated by Randy Chortkoff, founder of the respected L.A. blues label Delta Groove Records.
This family-friendly event boasts a huge kids’ area with bouncers, rock walls. specialty acts, crafts and talent shows.
The festival boasts dozens of food booths featuring a variety of fare: authentic Cajun creations and Southern BBQ as well as multi-cultural cuisine. More than 100 craft booths and retailers will be scattered throughout the festival grounds.

SIMI VALLEY CAJUN & BLUES MUSIC FESTIVAL SCHEDULE, 2012
SATURDAY, MAY 26

CAJUN-ZYDECO STAGE
12:00pm Billy Lee & The Swamp Critters
1:30pm Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas
3:05pm Rosie Ledet
4:20pm Mardi Gras Parade
4:50pm Curley Taylor and Zydeco Trouble
6:25pm Gator Beat
BLUES STAGE
11:30am Paul Oscher
12:45 pm R.J. Mischo
1:50 pm Shawn Pittman
2:55pm The Mannish Boys with Special Guests
Sugaray Rayford
Smokin’ Joe Kubek & Bnois King
Marco Pondolfi
Paul Size
Jason Ricci
5:00pm Muddy Waters Tribute
James Cotton
Mud Morganfield
Darrell Nulisch
Bob Margolin
Paul Oscher
Johnny Dyer
Bob Corritore
6:45pm Nathan James & The Rhythm Scratchers
with Special Guest James Harman
SUNDAY, MAY 27

CAJUN-ZYDECO STAGE
12:00pm The Bayou Brothers
1:20pm Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas
2:50pm Gator Beat
4:00pm Mardi Gras Parade
4:30pm Curley Taylor and Zydeco Trouble
6:00pm Bonne Musique Zydeco
BLUES STAGE
11:30am The Mighty Mojo Prophets
12:15pm Mitch Kashmar with John Marx & Adrianna
1:25pm Terry Hanck
2:30pm Big Pete with special guest Paul Size
3:45pm Rod Piazza & The West Coast Sheiks featuring Junior Watson and special guests
5:15pm The Fabulous Thunderbirds
6:45pm Candye Kane
###
For more information about the festival please contact Conqueroo:
Cary Baker • (323) 656-1600 • cary@conqueroo.com
Julie Arkenstone • (818) 703-5034 • julie@conqueroo.com

Clockwise from upper left: Rosie Ladet, the Mannish Boys, James Cotton, Mud Morganfield, Fabulous Thunderbirds.

Candye Kane in a rare Los Angeles area appearance




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Saturday, March 3, 2012

7th Annual Simi Valley Blues Festival Less Than 2 Months Away!!!

Tommy Castro, Curtis Salgado, Walter Trout:
Heavy Hitters Headline


A Full Day Of Blues Music And Family Enjoyment At
The Scenic Hummingbird Nest Ranch
In Simi Valley;
Benefits American Diabetes Association & Local Charities

(SIMI VALLEY, CALIF) - Michael John's 7th Annual Simi Valley Blues Festival, one of the most anticipated Blues festivals of the year in Southern California, takes place at beautiful Hummingbird Nest Ranch, 2940 Kuehner Drive, Simi Valley, Saturday, April 28, 2012. Gates open at 10 a.m. Tickets $25. in advance, $30. at the gate; available now at www.simiblues.org. Info: (805) 675-8668. Portion of proceeds from the festival benefit the American Diabetes Association along with other local charities. Presented by the Kiwanis Club of Simi Valley.

Heavy hitters headlining this year's Simi Valley Blues Festival include renowned guitar aces Tommy Castro and Walter Trout, along with harp virtuoso/vocalist, Curtis Salgado. Also on the bill: popular longtime SoCal act The Delgado Brothers (with dynamic guest vocalist Sherry Pruitt); and former IBC Finalist (as well as festival founder), Michael John And the Bottom Line. Special Guest Emcee: Mickey Jones. Also Food & Craft Vendors, Guitar Giveaway, Kids Areas and more.

Check out an interview with Festival founder Michael John here.

The Performers....

Tommy Castro has received multiple awards throughout his career and was nominated in four Blues Music Awards categories this year: B.B. King Entertainer of the Year; Contemporary Blues Artist of the Year; Band of the Year; and Contemporary Album of the Year (for Tommy Castro Presents The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue - Live!!). www.tommycastro.com.

Curtis Salgado is widely regarded as one of the most soulful singers around who also plays an amazing harmonica. Salgado - a cancer survivor and one of the most well-liked musicians on the Blues circuit - has been nominated for the 2012 BMA Soul and Blues Album of the Year. www.curtissalgado.com.

Walter Trout may very well be the most popular U.S.-born guitarist in all of Europe, once placing #6 in a BBC poll voting on the best guitarists in the world. Trout's guitar playing is high energy, soulful, and always entertaining. His new CD is Blues For The Modern Daze. www.waltertrout.com.

The Delgado Brothers and their tasty "Latin Blues" sound are big favorites on the Southern California Blues scene and were finalists at this year's 2012 International Blues Challenge (IBC) Finals in Memphis, TN. Joining the band as Special Guest Vocalist at the Festival is another name very familiar to longtime SoCal Blues fans, silky vocalist Sherry Pruitt. www.delgadobrothers.com; www.sherrypruitt.com.
Michael John And the Bottom Line: In addition to being the Simi Valley Blues Festival's founder, Entertainment Director and main driving force, Michael John fronts a pretty talented bunch of musicians in their own right. The group are past IBC finalists; their most recent album is Family and Friends. www.michaeljohnandthebottomline.com.

Watch a scintillating live performance by Walter Trout performing his song "Reason I'm Gone" here:


A History....

Michael John's Simi Valley Blues Festival, formerly the Write4hope Blues Festival, was the vision of Simi Valley resident Michael John Basowski. John (who also recently founded the Ventura County Blues Society) has been a musician all his life and had always dreamed that someday he could do something which would make an impact on his community.

Being a blues musician, the idea of a blues festival was the ideal way to turn his dream into reality. At the first festival - held in 2006 - Michael John teamed up with the local non-profit organization Write4Hope, who was instrumental in helping with the logistics for the event and made it possible to hold the first three blues festivals in Oak County Park in Simi Valley.

Simi Valley resident musician/actor and celebrity figure Mickey Jones has emceed the Simi Valley Blues Festival every year since its beginning. In addition, Michael John's family and friends have donated their time and talent to help make this event a yearly success, with over three thousand attendees at the 2011 Simi Valley Blues Festival. The 2012 presenters are the Kiwanis Club of Simi Valley. With the support of our Sponsors and the generosity of Hummingbird Nest Ranch (our Title Sponsor), the 7th Annual Simi Valley Blues Festival will be the biggest and best one yet!

Simi Valley Blues Festival Sponsorship Levels

Friday, February 17, 2012

Bman's Exclusive Interview: Organizing A Blues Festival – Blues Or Bust


With all of the blues festivals and venues going on this season, I thought that I would talk with a number of Festival organizers to determine what makes a festival tick. One of the interviewees is coordinating her first venue so this will show views from upcoming planners to pure veterans.

LeeAnn Gibbons - First time promoter of Portland, Oregon's First Annual Winter Blues Fest

Kyle Deibler - President of the Phoenix Blues Society and organizer of Phoenix's Blues Blast Festival

Michael John - 7th Annual Simi Valley Blues Festival founder/promoter

Papa J - 3rd Annual Organizer/founder of Real Blues Festival of Orange County


Bman: I have been to Blues festivals near both coasts and in cities both north and south. First tell me, where does the seed money come from to support an endeavor like this?

LeeAnn: In my case, we had only 3 months to put this first year festival together, so we could not concentrate on the higher corporations, so we hit people we knew. Some of us owned business, and used those contacts, plus friends who back you up. We did a cold call list given to us from one of the charities, a lot of reluctance to give on your first year……
Been tough and trying to come up with your budget money does not always happen. So you have to calculate other sources in your festival to get your budget.

Kyle: Bman, funding is complicated with the current economy. A lot of state’s like Arizona have cut their arts funding to the bone so we all hope to garner sponsors as best we can. Obviously a beer sponsor is an important one and there are others as well but it’s all about building relationships in some very tough times.


Michael:
Seed Money? What’s that? Lol… seriously you really have to start small and build from that. Saturday April 28th 2012 will be our 7th Annual Simi Valley Blues Festival. This event literally started in my back yard as a big party with five regional bands performing. In 2006 we made it official and had our inaugural festival at Oak Park in Simi Valley with a modest crowed of about 300 to 400 people. What’s different about our festival is that it is a non-profit event. Proceeds go to support charitable organizations and our staff are volunteers, other than the performing National Acts, no one is compensated for their time. In addition to working with a service non-profit club “Write4Hope” to help out with the logistics to start the first festival, I had to pull many favors, the bands that performed all donated their time, we had called on several companies to sponsor the festival to obtain cash donations and in-kind such as Fencing, sinks for the food vendors etc.. We charged a modest fee for food vendors and craft vendors who were able to make money and start a buzz about the event. We worked it out with the organization at the time which was selling beer to donated back a percentage of sales. Alcohol is a big money maker.

As we grow so do the sponsors.


Papa J: The first two that I set up were by the seat of my pants and I lost money. But I was determined to keeping it real so I guess it was ok. I also always have a charity attached so that young people hear the blues. We also actively seek sponsors, and it looks like we finally may have a couple of good ones for Real blues Festival 3 this year.

Bman: I notice that some festivals (independent of size and metropolitan area) have more interesting talent than others. I’ve actually been to a 3 day festival in a major coastal city which had some great talent, yet the most interesting artists that I saw were hooked to a generator in the street outside of the venue. How do you set your line up and how do musicians get on your list?

LeeAnn: I take it all into consideration. Here in the NW we have such fabulous talent within our 2 states. Not everyone knows who the bands are, and there is several I still do not know, from street performers to big names. I like to mix it up! The purpose of my festival is to introduce those bands to the community, trying not to hurt the venues in anyway but to help them at all. I first start with a time slot with a pay scale. And ask various acts if they will play for that amount. Being the first year you have a very tight budget. You can wish for the moon, but when it comes around what you can pay some sacrifices have to be made. A lot of musicians, want to get there name out there, and are grateful for the exposure, whether it is a street performer, or a band just starting up. So why not bring in the street performers, and mix it up with the more popular bands. The people from the popular bands come in to listen to their favorites, and end up staying for the not so popular bands. I found even different band members will come for most of the day to check out someone they never heard of. Bottom line it is a win- win situation.




Kyle:
Festival talent is all about the mix. The goal every year is to visit a few festivals to see new talent, listen to a wide variety of discs and network with other folks in your genre of choice to generate new ideas. Volunteering at the national level in Blues also exposes me to a number of great bands. We start with a budget and then stir the talent pot to see what comes up.

Michael: When I look at the acts for the lineup, I make sure to try and mix it up as much as possible while still bringing in some of the favorite National and regional artists. This year we went with only five bands because one of the main complaints I’ve heard was that the bands are not playing long enough. My band will open the festival with an hour set then the 2012 IBC Finalist The Delgado Brothers with Sherry Pruitt will perform for an hour. Coming on after the Delgado Brothers is the Legendary Walter Trout for a 75 minute set, there is no question Walter will set the place on fire, I am so excited to have him as part of our festival. Co Headliner Curtis Salgado with his soulful vocals and harmonica will be a sure crowd pleaser. Curtis is currently nominated for a Blues Music award for best Male vocalist for Blues and soul. Closing out the show is crowd favorite Tommy Castro, if you know the blues scene you know Castro, He is currently up for five Blues Music awards including the BB King Entertainer of the year award. This will be a show you will not want to miss. We have three national acts which you would normally pay $25.00 to $30.00 to see just one of them perform. Go to our website and purchase your presale ticket for only $25.00, tickets are $30.00 at the gate. This is a charity event, what better way to spend a Saturday afternoon listening to great music while making a difference in the lives of others. www.simiblues.org You look at this and might think this was a commercial for our festival, you’re right. I think in order to book a festival which will be enjoyed by everyone who attends, you have to mix it up, for example, I had more traditional blues last year and this year we are strong with the more contemporary side of the blues. It is my experience that you have to have passion and love for the music, for me. I live and breath our festival, this is not just an event for me it’s my love and it makes a difference in our community.

Papa J: Being in Calif. it’s a little harder. I tried to really get folks that played the Blues!! K.K. Martin, Alastair Green, maybe names that you don’t hear every day but people that can play. There’s also a great deal of competiton in the festivals market here in Southern California, with no fewer than 5 or 6 taking place each year, all within a three-month period of time. So that has an impact on the bottom line – that being, how many festivals people are willing to come out and spend their time and hard-earned money at.

Bman: Do you have a committee who determines who will be invited?

LeeAnn: Yes we do, with our committee of 10, we knew 164 bands. So we stuck our favorites in a hat and drew them out for the more popular time slots. Funny way of doing it, but it was a start. The single and duo’s made a list and researched them in a public place if playing to get a reaction of the public.

Kyle: As a group we generate a want list and then evaluate every act on cost, talent, contribution to the mix, etc.

Papa J: Me, myself and I, mostly. With help from my publicist, Doug Deutsch.


Michael: Not at this time, I have been the one who selects all the bands.

Bman: Are some artists more or less likely to travel to specific areas? I know some major talents who really don’t tour much and seem to only make the major venues. Do you think that this is due to a limited regional following versus the cost to bring them?

LeeAnn: Funny you mentioned this, some out of town bands are willing to work with you, because they want to get their name out there in your area, while others demand more and will not accept what you have to offer. Those bands forget how they started out, and someday they are not going to be quite as popular and need us smaller venues to give them exposure. There was one band, that we verbally agreed on the contract, but when I got it, was twice as much and accommodations were not good enough. For example they only stayed in La Quinta Hotels, and the Marriott was not good enough…. Scratch that band!

Kyle: Ronnie Earl for example only tours within a limited NE region by choice for health reasons. Life on the road is hard and routed gigs are tougher to come by with so many clubs closing, switching to local talent and cutting back on available days for acts to perform on. Very few clubs schedule Blues seven days a week anymore.

Papa J: I really have not had to deal with that part yet. I have thus far used local (Southern California) talent - and there is a great amount of that out here – for bringing in local blues fans. It’s really about cost. When you have to go through the booking agents its a lot more money. The bands and solo artists that play the Real Blues Festival all get paid pretty decent money each year – something that’s not very common in the SoCal Blues community at the present time.

Michael: This is a very interesting question, I will give you my take on this. Being located in Southern California we are blessed to have a lot of major talent in our own backyard both Regional and National. Let’s face it, the blues scene in Southern California is not in the best shape right now. There are not a lot of venues in which National Acts can come into town so that you can get an opportunity to see them up close. I think for some National acts its a combination of both following and cost, it really depends on the act, when they are touring they need to book multiple shows within the area to be able to cover costs.

Bman:
Is there a book or template to putting one of these together or is it a secret diary that is handed down from the mentor to the young organizer?

LeeAnn: If there is, it would be a lot easier! Like “Building a Music Festival for Dummy’s” would be good!

Kyle: A number of organizations have published information helpful to the festival organizer. The Blues Foundation has a lot of festival resource information on their website. There are several conferences you can attend that will give you information and of course, having a senior mentor’s help is invaluable. But there’s no secret diary.


Papa J: I am learning as I write this answer. I just saw that the big “Blues” festivals were booking rock acts and still calling themselves blues festivals. You really have to keep your ear to the ground so to speak, and be aware of who is popular, drawing well, etc. These all factor into the equation of who we decide to book each year.

Michael:
Well, I don’t have one but I could just give you a little advise. The old saying “ A little Kindness goes a long way” is very true. Be a people person, surround yourself with good people that are not only into the music but really want to help. Always think of ways of getting the community involved, make your event their fund raiser by giving them a return on tickets they sell. There are many service clubs and organization that are looking for events to get involved in.

Bman: What’s the toughest thing that you have to deal with?

LeeAnn: Budget! If you don’t get the sponsorship, you depend on ticket sales. That is the nerve breaking part. Many sleepless nights on this one.

Kyle:
We’ve been blessed to have great artist relationships and very few problems. The hardest thing we’ve had to deal with is a band deciding to un-pack their back line & set it up when they indicated in their rider that they we would use our back line. This caused a serious time delay that we hadn’t planned for and it set the headliner’s start time back, which wasn’t cool. That won’t happen again.

Papa J: To tell you the truth it’s the love of the blues, or I wouldn’t be doing this. I also think that it is important to pass down what little I can to the younger people. There was no Blues at the Grammy Awards – well, at least not that was visible. The act that received the Blues Grammy (Tedeschi-Trucks Band) wasn’t even listed in the L.A. Times with the other winners on the Monday following the Grammys – amazing!

Michael: There is not one set thing; you will run into bumps in the road during planning, day before set up, and the day of. It’s how you handle them. Last year I would have to say it was the weather, we had very strong winds which blew our vendors tents over and our bathrooms. We had people in place to address the issue and came up with a solution, with that and a prayer we started the show a little late but it was still a success.

Bman: How do you get a bellwether on who your audience wants to see?

LeeAnn: You look for that person that has high respect in the area, one that doesn’t get into too much trouble, but is happy and loves what they do!


Kyle: Our audience looks forward to whoever we bring because they know they will see a great show. But we have society members who will e-mail act suggestions and we consider those.

Papa J: Since I use local acts I try to see who can bring there people and go from there. I have used a couple of acts twice because they helped draw. But of course, this whole process is a work in progress!

Michael: By mixing it up keeps everyone happy, the line up I have this year with our National Acts have all won multiple awards for their talents and are nominated this year for Blues Music Awards (BMA). I also receive emails from festival fans with suggestions and ideas which I read every single one of them.

Bman: If money were no object, what would this year’s lineup be and why?

LeeAnn: For my first year, I would not change my lineup! I was very fortunate to have the best around the area, offer to be part of my festival this year. Next year, I would love to bring in a couple more bands out of town.

Kyle: Buddy Guy – his last disc was absolutely brilliant. The Tedeschi-Trucks Band just won the Grammy for Blues. Bettye Lavette is an artist we’ve had who is still fantastic. Kenny Wayne Shephard – amazing guitar and his current disc is killer. And Ruthie Foster – Ruthie with her band is just dynamite.

Papa J: I would still keep the festival small like it is, but it would be cool to have Taj (Mahal), B.B. (King), maybe Bonnie (Raitt),a guy you have probably not heard of, Stoney B, and of course Papa J & Friends.


Michael: Hmm… it would have to be a week long festival, there are just so many great artists out there.

Bman: Is there a goal to make each festival better than the last or to try to make it similar to control unknowns? Is ticket price point a big factor?

LeeAnn: My goal every year will be to bring more people come out and enjoy Music! It is The world of music that makes the world goes around, whether it is hardships, relationships, entrepreneur, and emotions of everyday life. Give back to a charity. It is a great heartwarming to see smiling faces when you put on an event. That strives me to make it better, for all of you, that is my thrill.
The other is listening to what the people want. What can I do, to make their few hours memorable! Yes ticket is a factor, you want it cheap enough so EVERYONE can enjoy no matter what the income is.

Kyle: We just try every year to provide a great day of music to our audience. Ticket Price is a factor in that we want to make it affordable for everyone to attend. We’ve produced enough shows that the unknowns are very few if any.

Papa J: Yes the goal is to have a better experience for everyone. In this economy I try to keep things down so that everyone can enjoy a day without a lot of pay. Trying to keep it not a big festival experience. For us it’s all about the community.

Michael: Yes, ticket price is always a factor. Folks want to come to the festival but by the time they purchase tickets for their family they already have a major investment. With the purchase of food and drink it could get expensive. We have always made it a point to make our festival family friendly by keeping the cost down, this year presale tickets are only $25.00 (that’s $5.00 per band) and $30.00 at the gate. Children 7 and under are free with paying adult and 8–12 only $5.00.

Bman: What’s the single most important thing that my readers can do to help you make your next festival more enjoyable?

LeeAnn: Any feedback of good and bad experiences would be taken in too deep consideration. You can learn with other peoples experiences.

Kyle: Just come out and support our efforts. We work very hard to provide a great event and are known far & wide on the back end for our artist hospitality, etc.

Papa J: Please help keep the blues alive !! Support your local Blues Festivals.
Keep a eye out for the Real Blues Festival of Orange County III coming this August, 2012. We plan on some big surprises with regards to the bands lineup, but we can’t say exactly what they are yet till confirmed!

Michael: Bring low back chairs so that everyone can enjoy the event behind you, this year if you have high back chairs attendees will be direct towards the back and sides to insure everyone has a nice visual of our stage.

Bman: Thanks to each one of you for your time. Good luck with your festivals!







Thursday, February 2, 2012

Castro, Salgado, Trout: Heavy Hitters Headline Simi Valley Blues Festival 4/28

Tommy Castro, Curtis Salgado, Walter Trout:
Heavy Hitters Headline


A Full Day Of Blues Music And Family Enjoyment At
The Scenic Hummingbird Nest Ranch
In Simi Valley;
Benefits American Diabetes Association & Local Charities

(SIMI VALLEY, CALIF) - Michael John's 7th Annual Simi Valley Blues Festival, one of the most anticipated Blues festivals of the year in Southern California, takes place at beautiful Hummingbird Nest Ranch, 2940 Kuehner Drive, Simi Valley, Saturday, April 28, 2012. Tickets $25. in advance, $30. at the gate; available now at www.simiblues.org. Portion of proceeds from the festival benefit the American Diabetes Association along with other local charities. Presented by the Kiwanis Club of Simi Valley.

Heavy hitters headlining this year's Simi Valley Blues Festival include renowned guitar aces Tommy Castro and Walter Trout, along with harp virtuoso/vocalist, Curtis Salgado. Also on the bill: popular longtime SoCal act The Delgado Brothers (with dynamic guest vocalist Sherry Pruitt); and former IBC Finalist (as well as festival founder), Michael John And the Bottom Line. Special Guest Emcee: Mickey Jones. Also Food & Craft Vendors, Guitar Giveaway, Kids Areas and more.

The Headliners....

Tommy Castro has received multiple awards throughout his career and was nominated in four Blues Music Awards categories this year: B.B. King Entertainer of the Year; Contemporary Blues Artist of the Year; Band of the Year; and Contemporary Album of the Year (for Tommy Castro Presents The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue - Live!!). www.tommycastro.com.

Curtis Salgado is widely regarded as one of the most soulful singers around who also plays an amazing harmonica. Salgado - a cancer survivor and one of the most well-liked musicians on the Blues circuit - has been nominated for the 2012 BMA Soul and Blues Album of the Year. www.curtissalgado.com.

Walter Trout may very well be the most popular U.S.-born guitarist in all of Europe, once placing #6 in a BBC poll voting on the best guitarists in the world. Trout's guitar playing is high energy, soulful, and always entertaining. His new CD is Blues For The Modern Daze. www.waltertrout.com.

Watch a scintillating live performance by Walter Trout performing his song "Reason I'm Gone"



A History....

Michael John's Simi Valley Blues Festival, formerly the Write4hope Blues Festival, was the vision of Simi Valley resident Michael John Basowski. John (who also recently founded the Ventura County Blues Society) has been a musician all his life and had always dreamed that someday he could do something which would make an impact on his community.

Being a blues musician, the idea of a blues festival was the ideal way to turn his dream into reality. At the first festival - held in 2006 - Michael John teamed up with the local non-profit organization Write4Hope, who was instrumental in helping with the logistics for the event and made it possible to hold the first three blues festivals in Oak County Park in Simi Valley.

Simi Valley resident musician/actor and celebrity figure Mickey Jones has emceed the Simi Valley Blues Festival every year since its beginning. In addition, Michael John's family and friends have donated their time and talent to help make this event a yearly success, with over three thousand attendees at the 2011 Simi Valley Blues Festival. The 2012 presenters are the Kiwanis Club of Simi Valley. With the support of our Sponsors and the generosity of Hummingbird Nest Ranch (our Title Sponsor), the 7th Annual Simi Valley Blues Festival will be the biggest and best one yet!

Casey Reagan of American Blues News: between LA and Santa Barbara, you'll find the upstart Venture Blues Society where my friend Michael John is making huge efforts to get the blues recognized and properly represented in his region and Ameriblues wish him nothing but success and prosperity in the coming years. Michael sponsors the annual Simi Valley Blues Festival every year at the plush Hummingbird Ranch and he can count me in as a regular attendee as well as counting on my support any way he needs it.
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