New Blues Festival Debuts

Written by on August 21, 2014 in August 21, 2014, Gigs / Tours / Events, Live Reviews, News To Shout About! - Comments Off on New Blues Festival Debuts

Bringing The Blues Back To Long Beach In a Big Way, Diverse Lineup Of Socal Bands and Artists

New Blues Festival(Long Beach, CA) – The First Annual New Blues Festival, more than anything else, is bringing the Blues back to Long Beach in a big way – back where they belong!

The New Blues Festival happens on Sunday, August 31 (Labor Day Weekend), at POA (Police Officers Association) Park, 7390 E. Carson St., Long Beach. 10 a.m.-10 p.m.  Tickets priced at $20. (children 12 and under, free). Purchase tickets now at Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que (six locations) or at Info: (562) 762-8317 or visit

Taking place on the onetime site of the venerable Big Time Blues Festival presented by the late Betty Miller and partner Bernie Pearl, this year’s new Blues festival lineup features:

Bernie Pearl – Long Beach acoustic guitar great/Blues Blast Music Awards nominee

Boxcar 7 –  Seven-piece show ensemble voted “Best Long Beach Band

Brophy Dale Band –  Passionate purveyors of roots-y rock ‘n’ blues

Jami Bess Belushi –  Prolific singer/songwriter, rising star, and daughter of actor/blues musician, Jim Belushi

Joe Kincaid & the Soul Brothers Band –  Veteran Long Beach favorites and groovemasters galore

Mighty Mojo Prophets – One of the shining stars on the renowned Delta Groove Records label (see video below)

New Blues Revolution –  Avant-Garde Blues revolutionariesNew Blues Festival

Sandi Thom – Singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist known as “The Scottish Songbird”

Stoney B Blues Band  – Straight outta San Diego by way of Chicago, Blues guitarist/showman extraordinaire

Whiteboy James & the Blues Express – This force of (musical) nature is also one of the premiere acts on SoCal-based Rip Cat Records.

.AAM: What made you decide to present the New Blues Festival?

BG: We are presenting the festival to honor the past tradition of blues in Long Beach and the future of the art form.  Long Beach has a rich cultural tradition of blues music.  For over thirty years The Long Beach Blues Festival, started by Bernie Pearl, brought this rich American art form to the people of Southern California becoming the second largest blues festival on the West Coast, and the third largest public event in Long Beach after Grand Prix and Pride. Bernie started a second blues festival in town called the Big Time Blues Festival.  It is in that location where we are reviving the blues festival tradition in Long Beach.  The New Blues movement in contemporary music is akin to the British boom in the blues in the 60’s and 70’s when the American art form was reinterpreted and made accessible to a whole new generation.  We honor the past and hope for the future by presenting this festival!

AAM: How do you go about putting together the bands lineup for an event such as this?

BG: Our goals were simple:  Take the very best of contemporary local blues talent, traditional talent (such as Mr. Pearl), and add new artists making sure to have as diverse a set of  bands as possible (young and old, black and white, male and female, etc.).  We reached out to our friends in Los Angeles (Joe Kincaid, Sandi Thom [the Scottish Songbird]) and San Diego (Stoney B who is opening for B.B. King soon) to round out the diversity – we believe that makes for a strong artistic and cultural lineup.

AAM: Knowing the Southern California live music landscape as well as you do, what do you see as the keys to success for the New Blues Festival?

BG: Blues Festivals, in our thinking, need five critical elements: blues, BBQ, Booze, Lawn chairs and family.  Our title sponsor is the Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que!

AAM: Long Beach has traditionally been a bastion of the blues, dating back to the venerable Blue Cafe. Do you see the New Blues Festival fitting into that realm going forward?New Blues Festival

BG: Much farther back that that even!  Danny Jacobson started the first blues radio show on KLON in this town in the late 70’s.  Bernie Pearl succeeded him as DJ.  The first festival was in 1980.  Gary Wagner (and also Bubba Jackson) continued blues radio tradition at the renamed KJAZZ then at Cal State Long Beach.  All three of these founders will make appearances at the festival this year, Mr. Pearl as a featured artist!  One foot in the past, one in the future straddling the contemporary blues realm.  Our one goal was to create a festival which can be sustained annually for many years to come!

AAM: What can patrons expect at the New Blues Festival that differentiates it from other SoCal blues festivals?

BG: We are the “Coolest festival in Southern California!”  Our strength is our diversity.  Our location is the best:  Bernie Pearl is on record that it is – check out the video of him and the other founders\mainstays….”Legends of the Long Beach Blues” like Mssrs. Wagner and Jacobson interviewed by our Master of Ceremonies, Joanne Sosa.  The videos are available on our Facebook page at

AAM: Every successful Festival needs a good team. Who are some of the main principles on the New Blues Festival team?

BG:   As mentioned, Joanne Sosa is the Master of Ceremonies\Director of Communications and a veteran actress of the Billy Jack films.  She was Master of Ceremonies for the Arab American Festival for 12 years (30,000 attendees annually).  Tri-lingual in English, Spanish and Arabic, she works in Communications globally interviewing foreign heads of State, all levels of US legislative and executive office holders and has appeared in national TV and print interviews.    Elisa McConnehea, a well-known and respected Event Coordinator has worked with the City of Long Beach on some of its largest public events over the last twenty years.  Last month, she coordinated a parade in Los Angeles with a half-a-million attendees.  Bob Barr is a renowned music writer helped conceptualize the festival from the beginning.  Since 2007, Barr has written for Random Lengths News in San Pedro, California as “The Music Writer Dude” covering live music events, as well as reviewing recorded music, art and film for the 35-year-old Los Angeles harbor publication.  Chapman aka “Chap” Cooper is the Production Coordinator, a former professor at Long Beach City College, long-time General Manager of the regionally-known Whittaker Music and guitarist for the New Blues Revolution.

AAM: Where can people find out more information about the New Blues Festival?

BG: and