It’s spring and, despite some lingering cool weather, temperatures are rising with a full dose of the blues in the forecast this weekend.
Kicking off the season, the Ventura County Blues Society is bringing its 13th annual Ventura County Blues Festival to Camarillo on Saturday. The festival will be held at Studio Channel Islands in Old Town Camarillo. Gates open at 10 a.m.; music starts around 11 a.m.
This year’s headliners will be John Nemeth and Earl Thomas, with performances by Deb Ryder, Alan Wright Band and Sandy Scott and Blues to the Bone as well. The finale will feature the Ventura County Blues Society All-Star Jam.
According to Michael John, founder and coordinator of the Ventura County Blues Festival and Ventura County Blues Society (VCBS), it all started with an Independence Day celebration.
“I am a musician myself,” said John, “and I have so many musician friends. One Fourth of July, we had a big party. All my friends came over and we were having a great time, and that’s where I came up with the idea to put a festival together to give back to the community. And what better way to do than with all these musicians?”
Funds raised from this year’s festival will support Safety Harbor Kids (safetyharborkids.org), which provides tutoring services for homeless, foster and orphan children. Food Share Ventura County will also be available to receive nonperishable food items. The festival will also be dedicated to its longtime friend, Mickey Jones, who died in February. Jones, known for his work nationally as a drummer and actor, served as the event’s emcee for many years.
Other noted updates this year include allowing high-backed chairs and food options that will include vegan and gluten-free menu choices. Attendees will also have a chance to view some of the artists’ studios located at Studio Channel Islands.
The best “hassle-free” option for parking is to park free at the Amtrak Station on the corner of Lewis Road and Ventura Blvd. A free trolley is also available, leaving the station approximately every half hour, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Exit the trolley at Stop 9.
Regardless of the weather forecast, fans of the blues can expect good times and hot music to be pouring out of Camarillo on Saturday.
The Ventura County Blues Festival takes place on Saturday, April 28, starting at 10 a.m. at Studio Channel Islands, 2222 E. Ventura Blvd., Camarillo. For more information, call 501-7122 or visit venturacountyblues.com.