The worst thing to tell a music fan is that a favorite annual festival has been postponed.
It’s bad enough that I have to re-jigger my family’s schedule due to natural disaster (see Rim Fire and Strawberry Music Festival) or artist illness. Making matters infinitely worse, however, is the reality that “postponement” is many cases is nothing more than an euphemism for “cancellation” and that organizers are just trying to break it to me gently that a long-favored festival is to be no more.
Northern California blues fans in 2013 have the right, therefore, to be skeptical and even downright fearful for the fate of a few seemingly well-established late-summer festivals.
For those in the far north end of the state, Blues By the Bay in Eureka for 16 years was a stone jam featuring top artists. The 2012 edition, for example, included performances by harp giant James Cotton, Alligator recording artist- vocalist Janiva Magness and guitarist Chris Cain. A notice on the festival website, however, informs visitors that the event has been “postponed” until 2014.
“We are hoping to have a restructured Blues Event in the future,” it adds. I read that as: if we are able to bring the festival back at all it will be smaller and the caliber of performers diminished. But that’s just me.
This weekend also was supposed to feature the Marin City Blues, Jazz and Soul Party, a raucous event whose 2012 lineup included Joe Louis Walker, Andre Thierry and Zydeco Magic, Fillmore Slim and Bobbie Webb. This year? Not so much.
The founders of the Marin City Blues, Jazz and Soul Party in the Park have decided the event will not be held this year on Labor Day 2013. After thoughtful consideration regarding the ongoing health and success of the event, our goal is to continue in the fall of 2014.
The news is not so traumatic, although hardly encouraging, for San Jose’s Big Easy Music Festival. “Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Big Easy Music Festival will be postponed for 2013,” its website reveals.
In its place, the Pour House will present the Lil' Easy Backyard VIP Party on September 7. The stripped-down version promises to offer “a lot more music, comfort and fun” with a lineup featuring the Chris Cain Band, Ron Thompson and Friends, Junior Watson Blues Band and the Delgado Brothers, among others.
Suffice it to say, these are dicey days for Northern California blues festivals. I do, however, have one event to recommend for your Labor Day weekend.
Blues for Bones IV is set for Saturday afternoon at Winterhawk Winery in Fairfield. The lineup features Chris Cain and Solano County’s own Used Blues Band. Proceeds benefit the SPCA of Solano County to sponsor its new spay and neuter clinic. Tickets run from $20-$25.
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