Mojo Working: Lineup Set for 2nd Annual Baja Blues Fest in Rosarito
Born under a bad sign? All out of John the Conqueror root? Fear not, blues aficionados. The Baja Blues Fest is returning August 23-25 at the Rosarito Beach Hotel in Rosarito, and the lineup is strong enough to get your mojo working better than ever. John Nemeth will headline the 2nd annual version of the musical showcase, and the Idaho-born bluesman with the magic touch figures to get plenty of 12 bar help from The Blackwater Blues Band, Annette ‘Da Bomb’ McGee and D Bomb Squad, The Fremonts, Deja Blues, Wyatt Lowe and the Youngbloods, Pachuco Blues, Scotty Blinn and Black Market lll.
According to Jackie Alameda, president and director of the board of directors for the Baja Blues Fest, the 2013 festival is expected to surpass the success of last year’s inaugural event. “We sure know a lot more and we have a great guy, Tom Stewart, helping us with music and marketing,” Alameda said. “We are also reaching a broader audience, so much so that Caltrans contracted us about traffic impact at the border on Sunday with cars returning to the U.S.”
Alameda went on to say that the layout of the grounds has been improved to allow better access to vendors and artists. “We have mapped out a handicapped entrance, with the help of the hotel, which accesses an elevator. We want to promote a party atmosphere with great blues performers.”
One of the best features of Baja Blues Fest is that it raises money for five children’s charities, including La Mision Children’s Fund, BECA, Friends of the Library, the Los Angelitos Orphanage, and the Baja Scholarship Fund. Each of these organizations does wonderful work on behalf of children, so in addition to enjoying the great music, delicious food, and beautiful summer weather, festival goers will also be giving back to the local community. How does it work? Easy. As soon as the expenses for the event are paid, the remainder of the money is donated to the charities. The board of directors decides the amount of money each charity receives, based on participation and need. Last year the board was able to donate $6,000 to the charities.
In addition to the great music, festival guests will also enjoy a wide variety of art, as a number of highly regarded regional artists are expected to attend. Artist Vickie Rama, from San Felipe, will show several of her latest carvings. She began her art career at age five, and has been creating ever since. Cathy Elliot’s award winning work is found in corporate offices as well as in private collections. Today she divides her time between teaching, reviewing art, and commercial art. Originally from Mexico City, physician Carlos Bueno will present some of his unique art designs created from x-rays.
Photographer Keith Williamson attended college intending to become an eye surgeon. But after he found a camera in a New York City park, he decided to devote himself to photography and printmaking. Retired clinical aroma therapist Nancy Lustig, meanwhile, will offer a presentation of mixed media art, and R.P. Kidd will display a selection of gallery pieces. These works will include everything from leather portraiture to collectable art and t-shirts.
Several unique exhibitions are also scheduled. Tommy’s Gallery will show off their steel tongue drums. When the tongue of the drum is quickly and lightly struck, it creates sound waves and an incredible listening experience. Plus, a popular street artist will teach youngsters the difference between good and bad graffiti, and a surfboard will be painted and raffled off during the festival.
Alameda notes that the Baja Blues Fest is beginning to flourish in Rosarito. “It is developing a life and a momentum of its own. There are many more people coming this year due to worth of mouth. Visitors are coming from Seattle, Portland, Boise, Orlando, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.”
“A festival of this sort can bring many needed jobs and money to the families of this area,” she added. ” By drawing tourists for the fest, it shows them what our city is like. Then they can return at other times during the year for family vacations.”
The 2nd Annual Baja Blues Fest kicks off Friday with a meet and greet party. Performances begin on Saturday, with a jam session and post party on Sunday. Tickets can be purchased online at the festival’s website, or arrangements can be made to purchase tickets through one of the participating charities. Three day passes for the Baja Blues Fest are $35 U.S. If you want to attend Saturday’s show, tickets are available for $20 in advance. For the Friday and Sunday night festivities, tickets are $10.
Planning a trip to Rosarito? Contact a travel agent at Baja.com.
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