Sunday at the Blues Festival

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It’s Memorial Day Weekend in Aptos, which for the last twenty plus years has meant it’s also the weekend of the Santa Cruz Blues Festival, held down at Aptos Village Park. I haven’t been to the blues festival in years – the last time I went was to see the great Ray Charles play what turned out to be one of his last concerts.

Aptos Village Park is an awesome venue for a intimate outdoor concert experience such as the Blues Festival. For a number of years, they also held the KPIG Fat Fry there, too, although it’s been many years since the last one.

The Blues Festival spans two days – on Saturday, Gregg Allman headlined, and I heard from one of the ticket vendors that it was a great show. We went on Sunday, when Chris Isaak headlined. The crowd was a little thin – didn’t look anywhere close to sold out to me, although there were thousands of people there. I guess last year (2013) was kind of a disaster, oversold and with ham-fisted security people, so maybe that had something to do with the light attendance.

I went this year because Jackie Greene was playing, and I’m something of fan. I first saw him play 7 years ago when he joined Phil Lesh and Friends at the ripe of age 26. I was pretty impressed when I saw him jam with Phil and Friends – there’s no question, he plays a mean guitar, harmonica, and keyboard. I haven’t seen him play since then, but I’ve bought a number of his albums and caught him on YouTube here and there.

I went to the blues festival this year with my wife Rocio, our children Aiden (5) and Evan (2), and also my wife’s cousin Andrea who has been staying with us as she studies at Cabrillo College. Andrea had never been to anything like the Blues Festival, although Rocio did go with me to the Phil and Friends show back in ’07.

We all had a really good time – Rocio and Andrea particularly enjoyed Vintage Trouble. They were a lot of fun, a very tight blues band with great energy. Chris Isaak took the stage around 5 o’clock or so, and he was a lot of fun too – but we probably only made it half way through his set. We wanted to avoid the mad dash for the bus which would take us back to our car we’d parked at Cabrillo College. It worked out beautifully, actually – the bus was right there waiting for us when we walked up the hill out of the park.

It was good, too, to see some of my friends from the Capitola Aptos Rotary Club down there selling beer. We ended up buying our fair share from them, although the proceeds went to the festival itself. They just collected tips which went into their general fund. I bet they got to see the music for free though. 🙂