Blues Slide Show
The 4th annual Blues and Arts Festival
enjoyed a record crowd during a breezy afternoon. The
music got started in the late morning and continued
until about 10PM.
The bands at this year's event were outstanding. Beckie
Sue and Her Big Rockin' Daddies, on her first
visit to San Felipe from Washington State, galvanized
the crowd with her white heat delivery and her band's
Chet Cannon and the Committee, a new
addition to the stage this year, rocked the crowd with
his smoky voice booming against his sax and guitar backup.
Michele Lundeen, a veteran of the
festival since it began four years ago, was her usual
unstoppable self. Her dynamic vocals had the crowd dancing
in the dust before her feet.
Of course our local talent held their own against the
imported expertise. The Agave Blues Band
maintained their high level of style and prowess, with
Arturo's riffs on the guitar a great crowd-pleaser.
And the Vatos Locos, always popular in local venues
in and around San Felipe, encouraged the dancing to
continue throughout their set.
Sean Carney Band with Phil Berkowitz
are also first timers to the festival, but they played
as if they had been part of the event's fabric from
the very start. Sean's vocals and strings, backed by
Berkowitz' mean blues harp, had the crowd waving their
cheers. They were a great addition to the calendar this
year and everyone hopes they will be back again.
Ruta 69 from Ensenada delivered a
younger blues sound, anvil hard and aggressive, and
may be the harbingers of a future blues style that accesses
the anger, rather than the pathos and melancholy, of
the modern soul. A signal change is the resistance to
'bending' the notes, preferring to 'kink' them instead.
Javier Batiz, eagerly anticipated,
was unfortunately the last of the musical lineup to
play. Many had already left the ball park by the time
he stepped onto the stage.
The absence of Johnny Mastro and the Mama's Boys was
felt this year. Their Blues Brother look emerging from
the mystic clouds of the smoke machines would have been
a great addition to the roster. Alas, the smoke machines
were on hiatus too.
The organization and execution of the event was, as
always, exemplary. All those involved should feel proud
they are shaping a yearly attraction that has brought
media spotlights to center on our small town in a positive
and entertaining way.