Summer Magic Begins with Music

  • 05/29/2012
  • Terelle Jerricks

By B. Noel Barr, Music Writer Dude

Every summer we all like to get out away from our hot, and sometimes, stuffy houses to do something slightly different by enjoying our family, friends and random strangers in relaxed outdoor settings. This summer we have laid out some suggestions that you might not have considered and those we know you will be happy with.

The concert season is already well underway with Coachella and Doheny already done and getting ready for the next year. We had four local festivals starting with the 28th Annual Topanga Blues Festival that happened on May 2, followed by the Blues Band Weekend with Brophy Dale, Big Rockin’ Daddy and a grip of other folks at Costa Mesa’s OC Market Place on May 12.

The following weekend, Leimert Park in Los Angeles launched the Springtime Blues Festival May 17, with the aim of making it an annual event. On that same day, El Segundo drew 500 fans of Bobby D out into the beautiful Southern California sunshine with the 22nd Annual Dylanfest.

Finally, on May 26, the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Festival with the legendary James Cotton headlining the two-day event. This is what I love about Southern California, we have a lot of good music and the climate is the best, maybe outside of Southern France.

Let the party begin.  June 1 is Friday Night Live ROQ at the Races which opens with indie band Rebelution. This group has been selling out venues from New York to Los Angeles with their Peace of Mind CD. Other bands on subsequent Fridays are as follows: The Wailers, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Jimmy Cliff, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Iration, and X on July 13.

The 5th Annual Santa Clarita Blues Festival fires up on June 2 .The one-day festival features Austin Scott and the Triple Threat Band, The Laurie Morvan Band and five other groups for another afternoon in the sun. This is a free event that takes place in Mountain View Park in Santa Clarita.

Charles McBride

June 16 and 17, the Playboy Jazz Festival, is going to make this Father’s Day a happy one. This year the top of the bill goes to The Christian McBride Big Band and the Ramsey Lewis Electric Band with 18 other jazz and blues artists. Comedian Bill Cosby is the emcee of this 34th annual event.

The 26th Annual Long Beach Bayou Festival returns to the Rainbow Lagoon on June 23 and 24. This year we did not have the headliners like we had the previously. Particularly in the past two years The Bayou Festival stopped and it turned into a rhythm and blues show with Tito Jackson ending the two-day event. Last year we had Dr. John, who actually fit as a headliner for the festival. You could not get any more New Orleans flavored than the good Dr. John.

This year we are back to the more traditional Cajun and zydeco sounds. Returning is Geno Delafose and French Rockin’ Boogie with 13 other (mainly) zydeco bands on the main stage. Barbara Morrison and Guitar Shorty are returning this year, with Sherry Pruitt and seven other groups working the blues stage. This is one of the most family friendly events going for a large festival. Lots of great food from Louisiana is served up and a large tented dance floor to shake a tailfeather.

From July 12 to August 30, some of the best local bands will come out to make your sweet summer nights groove with free outdoor concerts for the family from 6 to 9 p.m., at the Los Angeles Waterfront. Each week a different band and genre of music will be featured. Bring your chairs and enjoy the show.
Location: Harbor Boulevard at Vincent Thomas Bridge, San Pedro

The Taste in San Pedro at the Port of Los Angeles is another great family value, happening  Aug. 3 and 4 at the Los Angeles Waterfront. Enjoy the food from restaurants around the South Bay, live music, craft and merchandise booths, children’s activities and more. This is one of the best well-run events in the Harbor. Though I have my differences with the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce in regards to the talent, this year’s Chamber selection will attract who they’re aiming to attract to this fantastic event. The fact that we are not using any of our beautiful parks is another issue. The San Pedro Chamber has this event down to a fine science when it comes to producing such a large event. If you do anything this summer, The Taste in San Pedro is the place to be.

This year marks the Long Beach Jazz Festival’s 25th Anniversary and this year’s line up is a doosie with Blackbyrds, Ron Isley and the Isley Brothers, Poncho Sanchez, David Sanborn and 12 other acts performing from Aug. 10 through 12.

On Aug. 25 and 26 The Los Angeles Guitar Festival returns to the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center. The headliners are Eric Johnson, Albert Lee, Renegade Creation with Robben Ford and Michael Landau, John Jorgensen (The Hellcasters, Elton John Band), Peppino D’Agostino, and Doug MacLeod.

On Aug. 25, the H20 Festival comes to Los Angeles State Park with Snoop Dogg and Alejandro Sanz headlining. This one-day festival brings English and Spanish artists together. “We Speak Music” is the emphasis.

The KJAZZ Blues Bash is happening at the  Carpenter Center at Cal State Long Beach, September 3. Blues harp player James Cotton will be back in the Southland with special guest Robby Krieger of the Doors.

The summer officially ends with the Port of Los Angeles Lobster Festival on the weekend of September 14 through 16. This has been one of the great places to get Maine Lobster and a festival with first class music. Previous headliners include: X, The English Beat and Jason Mraz, who has performed on the big stage of this event. The past few years have been curated by Mr. Shovel of the now defunct Indie103. The level of talent at this event is staggering. Every year has been a treat.

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