Just in case you haven’t made the trip to your local grocery store and succumbed to the long lines of suburbanites vying for that last bag of charcoal, there are lots of things going on in and around our fair city that will make you want to put down that lighter fluid and leave the cooking and the music to the experts!
The Simi Valley Cajun and Blues Music Festival is going on this weekend, starting today and continuing on Sunday. The festival is jam packed with food, music, and fun for families, music lovers, and refugees from the BBQ brigade. Like last year’s festival, the fun starts this morning at 11:30 on two separate stages – the Blues stage, and the Cajun and Zydeco stage – and the parade of performers is very impressive. On the Blues side, there will be a performance by legendary matriarch of the Blues, Barbara Morrison, who runs her namesake Performing Arts Center in Liemert Park, my home for the best blues jams this side of Chicago. Ed Simon caught up with her last August when she played the Long Beach Blues Festival: Ed Simon Interview.
Now, I try never to play favorites, so I’ll go in order…Also appearing tonight is legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame act, Eric Burdon and The Animals. What can I say about Eric Burdon that hasn’t been said before? Well… plenty. So much so, my Q. and A. with Mr. Burdon is in a separate post: Eric Burdon Interview. I will say this though, to have an act of this magnitude in such close proximity is a rare opportunity, one that you shouldn’t miss. The Animals were part of the British Invasion, the “Core Five”. Eric Burdon is a powerhouse of a performer, and at 75 the words “slow down” do not exist in his vocabulary. He’s going to outlast all of us, believe you me! He is taking the stage tonight at 4:45, so I’ll write as fast as I can.
On the stage tomorrow are more legendary acts. Booker T of Booker T and the MG’s fame is scheduled to take the stage at 3pm, followed by another heavy hitter at 4:45pm, Leon Russell, another Rock Hall inductee (can this get any better)? I haven’t seen Leon in a while, so I’m hoping that there will be a healthy selection of songs from his 2010 album The Union, the work that brought him back and helped get him into the Rock Hall.
On the Cajun side, there are the Bayou Brothers, Mark St. Mary, Bonne Musique Zydeco, and a Mardis Gras parade on both days, so if you like your music as spicy as your food, you’ll be in good company. There are food booths in abundance, with some great Cajun-Creole food.
The proceeds from the two-day festival are all going to charity, so you can get out and get your musical fix, your foodie fix, avoid the third-degree burns from your own BBQ, and feel good about it. Pack up the family (or just yourself) and head over there soon. You don’t want to be left sitting at home, watching all of this Monday night on the news, do you? One of our interns took some great photos last year. Our intrepid Editor attends every year and she loves it so much, she’ll be there again tonight.
More information about the event can be found on their website.