The weekend of September 20 and 21, a short drive up to Ventura will yield a great weekend of beer, BBQ and music. In conjunction with Ventura Beer Week, September 14 to 21, the California Beer Festival starts off Saturday with the Craft Beer Heaven, featuring over 140 local and regional beers on tap plus a great selection of food trucks. Burt’s Honey Wheat, Mendocino Brewing Company, Wolf Creek Brewing Company and Karl Strauss Brewing are just a few of the brewers sharing their samples at the Craft Beer Heaven. Musically, Saturday will feature a full lineup of music from groups such as Petty Theft, the ultimate Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers tribute band, Rey Fresco and Dr. M.
Sunday promises to be an awesome day as the 6th Annual Blues and Brews Festival brings an awesome lineup of musicians to the stage. Tab Benoit, Louisiana’s No. 1 roots expert, headlines the afternoon’s music. A winner of the B.B King Entertainer of the Year and Best Contemporary Male Performer at the Blues Music Awards in Memphis, Tab also was nominated for a Grammy for Best Traditional Blues. He is a master of the guitar, excelling in both blazing fast riffs and yet able to slow down, showcasing the tasteful restraint that makes him such an excellent all-around guitarist. Covering many styles, from down-home blues to funk, soul and Cajun music, his performance at the Blues and Brews Festival will be an amazing musical event.
Tab isn’t just about roots, however, with a repertoire of lively and melodic originals such as can be found on his seventh album, Medicine. Tab is also a staunch Louisiana wetlands conservation advocate. He recently assembled a group of fellow New Orleans musicians into the Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars, recording an album as a musical plea to help save the fragile eco-system that is Louisiana’s wetlands. Cyril Neville, Dr. John, Anders Osborne, Waylon Thibodeaux and Jumpin’ Johnny Sansome are just some of the musicians that joined up for the All-Stars album and live shows.
Gary Hoey, the world-renowned guitarist, when he’s not trading licks with legends such as Joe Satriani, Kenny Wayne Shepard, Peter Frampton and Jeff Beck, fronts his own blues rock band. He will bring to the Blues and Brews stage a set of hard-tinged blues to rock the festival. Also appearing during the day will be Trampled Under Foot, a power rock-blues group known for their amazing live performances. They have a reputation as one of the hottest bands on the blues circuit.
Local favorites Michael John and the Bottom Line are bringing their original, contemporary blues to the festival. Often sharing the bill with blues legends such as Buddy Guy, Robert Cray and The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Michael John has been a hit with his smooth vocals and the Bottom Line’s original sound. Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds will bring their explosive show to the stage. Combining classic soul with a hot seven-piece backup band, Sister Sparrow is known for combining their seductive soul sound with dirty blues-rock to light up the stage.
Rounding out the list of stellar musical acts is guitarist Jonathan “Boogie” Long has been playing since he was six. His blues/soul trio, The Blues Revolution, shows off his amazing guitar chops and strong, bluesy vocals. With the popularity of all of the featured groups on the Blues Festival circuit, this promises to be a day of music that you should absolutely not miss.
Saturday’s hours for the Craft Beer Heaven are from 12:30 until 5:00pm, with beer sampling from 1:00 to 4:30pm. Sunday’s festivities begin at 11am and last until 6pm, with an all day sampling of the delicious BBQ from some of the top teams in California. Tickets priced as follows: Saturday’s Craft Beer Heaven, $50.; Designated Driver tickets (Saturday only), $25.; Sunday’s Blues & BBQ Fest (only), $30.; Blues & BBQ Sample Judge ticket, $45. (get to sample up to eight BBQ entries and vote for thew winners! Sunday only); V.I.P. 3-Day Pass (Friday’s ‘Brew With A View,’ Saturday’s Craft Beer Heaven and Sunday’s Blues & BBQ Fest, $!09; 2-Day Pass (Craft Beer Festival and Blues & BBQ Fest), $75. Buy tickets now at California Beer Festival. Info: (805) 351-5650.
In keeping with the yearly tradition, a portion of the proceeds from each day benefit the Gen Giammanco Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides financial support to student athletes to assist in their pursuit of both scholastic and athletic success in Ventura County. With the combination of great music, great food, great beer and a chance to help give deserving students a hand, this will be a great weekend to head up the coast and have a great time.