Not-To-Be-Missed:Baja’s Original Blues & Arts Fiesta

A great event helping fund local orphanages and charities

 The San Felipe Lion’s Club is holding its 11th annual San Felipe International Blues & Arts Fiesta on March 17 and 18, 2017 at the Pavilion at La Ventana del Mar, El Dorado Ranch. The event is accurately described as “Music and Art Under The Flawless Baja Sky.” The Pavilion is a landmark venue in this quiet Sea of Cortez  town which, if you’ve never been there,  offers amazing ocean views. The drive over Baja’s incredible San Pedro de Martir mountain range from our side of the peninsula is yet another plus. And continuing the tradition. this year’s festival will bring together the top blues bands from the Western US and Mexico as well as the area’s most acclaimed visual artists. Scott Koenig’s interview with Gary Dilley, the Lion’s Club President and event chairman, discussing all aspects of the annual event , gives you the clearest perspective of what this annual event is all about.
“The most important part of this festival is that it benefits a number of services for the local population. Eleven years ago, we used profits from the first Blues and Arts Fiesta to build a fifty bed, class A orphanage facility in San Felipe. 100% of the proceeds every year since has provided funds for the orphanage and also supports San Felipe food banks and eye clinics. We provide 500 exams and pairs of glasses through these clinics to the locals every year. 60% of the recipients are kids. We also help with cataract surgery expenses for the elderly.”
“There’s a saying in parts of Mexico that if your family can’t afford to help you with new glasses or any kind of care, then no one else will. We try to give back to the community and give people a hand.”
“The Fiesta features a center stage for the bands and 20-30 tents with artists exhibiting a huge variety of fine art – from jewelry and collectibles to painting and sculptures, drums, and iron creations. There will also be a food court and 3-4 beer stations. Fiesta hats, shirts and other merchandise are also available to purchase.”
Gary additionally told us that other charities benefitting from this annual event are Cruz Roja, the local Food Bank, Christmas Food & Toys, Sunshine Hacienda Orphanage, & Better Together, two eye clinics funded by the Lions which are currently providing 550 eye examinations (and glasses, as needed) a year as well as 35 cataract operations for elderly residents of San Felipe who are transported by the Flying Samaritans to San Diego where the procedures are performed.
Yuma, Arizona’s TV stations, Channel 5 and 11, as well as Mexicali, Mexico’s Canal 66, have helped with public service announcements and promotions for this annual event valued at over $35,000 USD.

Jimmy Moore, the San Felipe Lion’s VP and Gary’s talent coordinator, has just shared the information with the Baja Times about the Festival’s talent lineup and it is definitely world class. Check it out:

 Bayou Brothers Band

The Bayou Brothers started in 1995 with a shared love of Cajun and Zydeco music by founder John Chambers, on accordion and keyboards, with Ric Lee, laying down Zydeco and Cajun dance grooves on the drums.Throughout the last 15 years, the Bayou Brothers have played their music at festivals and concerts venues all over the southwest. This sassy band is well-known for their rowdy shows, and the bluesy Zydeco that drives the band… and fans of Zydeco… dance crazy! Adding to the Bayou Brothers sound is sax and percussionist Thom Pod. Fun is guaranteed with the Bayou Brothers Band—so come out and be part of the party.

 Backwater Blues Band

The Backwater Blues Band was established in 1996 as one of the premier San Diego bands. They have performed everywhere up and down the coast–from Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach to World Class Events and Festivals. Currently The Band consists of full time musical artists: Jimmy Woodard, lead guitarist / singer song writer; John Simons, bass; Jonny Viau, sax; Diego Armijo, sax; and Tom Stewart, drummer and band leader. Current music and TV projects include a reality show called “Blues Warriors”™. Its all about the life and times of the Band and showcases a fascinating inside look at their real-life work and musical life. There is a little drama, a little conflict, and, of course. playing great festivals. Backwater Blues Band and their TV show features young blues artists, our military, especially Wounded Warriors, into the show. Tom Stewart, the band’s leader, is also a community leader and supports many worthy causes. The Backwater Blues Band cannot wait for you to come out to this year’s performance.

Gregg Wright

The Monterey Bay Blues Festival calls master guitarist Gregg Wright, “the new King of Rockin’ Blues Guitar!” Wright is an electrifying live performer who “learned how to not look like a statue, performing beside Michael Jackson every night on the Victory Tour!” Wright’s guitar virtuosity regularly leaves audiences spellbound with his painfully soulful voice, and rare style.He began performing professionally on the U.S. Southern circuit in the mid-1970’s. Wright played years of one-nighters, and opened shows for blues legends like Albert King and Freddie King. An 80’s move from Louisiana to Los Angeles led to Wright becoming an A-list session guitarist. “I had to master many styles of popular music, but the Blues is where I live”. Awards, platinum albums and world tours with Mick Fleetwood, Michael Jackson, the Gap Band, Spencer Davis and others followed. Gregg is a featured soloist on the IMAX film soundtrack “Ocean Oasis” with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.Wright’s new CD “King of the Rockin’ Blues!” contains some of his best guitar work to date, putting him in a class among the world’s elite Blues guitarists. Outstanding live performances have earned him international acclaim and a growing, worldwide audience.

Madame LeRoux & Krewe
aka Michele Lundeen

Versatile singer, songwriter Michele Lundeen, is a Blues & Arts regular performer. Michele is an 11-time Diego Music Awards Best Blues Nominee and local fave as a soulful vocalist. She effortlessly blends classic and contemporary Blues, Memphis soul, rock, rollicking roadhouse jump swing, Texas boogie, rhythm & blues and jazz, For 2017 Michele returns as her alter ego, “Madame LeRoux”. This year Madame Michele and her “Krewe” will cook up some festive New Orleans-style rhythm & blues, funk, swamp-rock into a satisfying musical stew. Passionate, with always playful vocals, and energized musicianship fuses New Orleans and Gulf Coast R&B …all aimed to get your mojo workin’ at this year’s show! As Madame LeRoux, Michele has performed in front of hundreds to thousands at events such as San Diego’s Gator By The Bay, TGIF Jazz In The Parks, KSDS Jazz Live, and December Nights. Michele often appears as a featured guest with the popular, award winning band, the Bayou Brothers. You will be so happy to see our Michele in this year’s line-up. .

See ya’ in San Felipe!!!
For more information on this years San Felipe International Blues & Arts Fiesta or to purchase tickets, visit www.BluesAndArts.com. Sponsorships are also still available and volunteers are still needed. Inquire with email to sanfelipebclionsclub@gmail.com.

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