Long Beach Blues Festival heats up Rainbow Lagoon for Labor Day weekend

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long-beach-blues-festivalBobby Womack, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Mavis Staples and the Funky Meters will be among the performers at the 30th annual Long Beach Blues Festival, set to take place Saturday and Sunday, September 5 & 6 at Rainbow Lagoon Park, adjacent to the Long Beach Marina, in downtown Long Beach. Tickets for the festival go on sale on May 30, with ticket information available at http://www.jazzandblues.org.

The blues festival is the flagship event and an important revenue generator for KJAZZ 88.1 FM, the #1 full-time jazz and blues radio station, and one of only five remaining, in the country.

Young guitar master Kenny Wayne Shepherd tops the bill on Saturday, September 5 along with New Orleans’ Funky Meters featuring original members Art Neville and George Porter Jr. Also appearing Saturday are Texas blues/rock guitarslinger Johnny Winter; soul singer Betty Lavette, whose recent albums for Anti- Records have received high critical marks; the Homemade Jamz Blues Band, the youngest band ever to be nominated for a Blues Music Award; and Hill Country Revue featuring Cody Dickinson and Chris Chew of the North Mississippi Allstars.

The blues festival line-up on Sunday, September 6 includes recent Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Bobby Womack, known for such hits as “Lookin’ For a Love,” “It’s All Over Now,” “Across 110th Street” and “That’s the Way I Feel About Cha”; and Mavis Staples, long the lead voice of the Staple Singers (“Respect Yourself,” “I’ll Take You There”) who has forged a vital solo career in recent years. Also on the Sunday bill are the Blind Boys of Alabama, purveyors of rockin’ gospel since 1939; Louisiana slide-guitar wizard Sonny Landreth; four-time Blues Music Award nominee Diunna Greenleaf, from Houston; and the Andy Walo Trio, whose guitar-wielding frontman accompanied the late Junior Wells for many years.

In its three decades of existence, the Long Beach Blues Festival has become one of the nation’s pre-eminent blues celebrations. As a major fundraiser for publicly supported radio station KJAZZ, the event serves not only as an annual weekend devoted to a classic American music form, but to help keep jazz and blues on the air all year long.

(Homemade Jamz Blues Band will play the Long Beach Blues Festival on Saturday. More info after the video)

Over its long history, the Long Beach Blues Festival has featured a who’s who of influential blues and soul artists including Chuck Berry, Booker T, Taj Mahal, Dr. John, Little Richard, Jerry Butler, Bobby Blue Bland, Otis Rush, Etta James, Charles Wright & the 103rd Street Rhythm Band, Robert Cray, Bo Diddley, Little Milton, Otis Rush, Albert Collins, Jimmy Smith, Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson, Joe Liggins & the Honeydrippers, Big Joe Turner, Lowell Fulson, R.L. Burnside, John Mayall, Charlie Musselwhite, Eddie Floyd, Lonnie Mack, The Blasters, Son Seals, Irma Thomas, the Allman Brothers Band and the Black Crowes.

According to co-producer Bill Silva at Bill Silva Presents, “Once again, we are thrilled to be involved in the 30th anniversary of the Long Beach Blues Festival at the Rainbow Lagoon Park. We couldn’t be more pleased with the array of artists we have scheduled to appear at this gorgeous site.”

Rum & Humble’s Martin Fleischman adds, “It’s always a privilege and a pleasure to spend Labor Day weekend with a full complement of world-renowned blues and soul artists on hand. This is our heritage and the Long Beach Blues festival has allowed us to nurture and celebrate it every year for 30 years now.”

“Year in, year out, the Blues Festival has proven to be one of the largest events for Cal State Long Beach,” said President F. King Alexander. “We are very pleased to be able to share the success of this two-day event with the city of Long Beach and our community.”

Presale tickets become available exclusively through Ticketmaster Thursday, May 28 at the Early Bird Presale price of $39.50 per day or $70 for a weekend pass. Starting Saturday, May 30, tickets will sell at the Plan Ahead discount price of $43.50 per day or $75 for a weekend pass. Advance Price tickets will take effect once Plan Ahead tickets are gone, at $49.50 per day or $80 for a weekend pass. Plan Ahead and Advance tickets will available through Ticketmaster, at World of Strings in Long Beach and at West L.A. Music in West Los Angeles and Universal City.

In addition, the Festival offers several VIP package rates, all of which include a donation to benefit KJAZZ: The Buddy Pack (two weekend passes plus parking and beverages) for $300; and the Platinum Pass (two VIP weekend passes plus VIP parking, food and beverage) for $750. Also offered are the Backstage Pass (two backstage passes plus VIP parking, food and beverages) at $1,500 and the Ultimate Backstage Pass (two backstage weekend passes and a reserved seating area plus VIP parking, food, beverages and hotel or transportation) at $5,000.

VIP ticket packages are available directly from KJAZZ by calling (310) 478-5061 or online at http://www.jazzandblues.org/events/lbbf/2009/microsite/.

The Long Beach Blues Festival is produced by Bill Silva Presents and Rum & Humble. Executive producers are the California State University Long Beach Foundation and Global Jazz, Inc.

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