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Blues festival keeps the good times rollin’

Regional Park to host diverse line-up of musicians
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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You won’t find a lot people down-in-the-dumps this weekend at the Northern California Blues Festival. That’s because the rockin’ show at Auburn’s Regional Park, scheduled for August 5 and 6, has a line-up of 10 acts. Producer Jason Haxton said the family-friendly event also comes at a wallet-friendly price, with tickets starting at just $30 for adults and $10 for kids. Part of the proceeds will benefit the Auburn Recreation District Youth Assistance Program. “It’s fun to play. It’s fun to dance to. It’s good music,” Haxton said. “Even though it’s called blues, it puts you in a good mood. It’s family friendly. It can appeal to everyone. It’s not condescending. It’s not necessarily angry. It’s all storytelling.” With a mix of several local bands and national-touring phenoms, the roster is packed with diverse talent. Haxton said he is especially looking forward to seeing musician Carolyn Wonderland, who tours all over the world. “She is kind of the hit thing on the music circuit these days,” Haxton said. “I think she is going to be the most talked about artist. I think Auburn is going to fall in love with Carolyn.” Other notable acts include Kenny Neal and Big Brother and the Holding Company, Janis Joplin’s original band. Guitarist Mark Horr, of one local act, The Soulshakers, said this will be his band’s inaugural performance at the blues festival. “It’s a chance to express ourselves musically,” Horr said. “You don’t get a bigger charge than playing live for someone. It’s just the audience and performers feed off each other.” Horr calls their musical style “electrified funky blues.” They have also performed at Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo Cantina in South Lake Tahoe, the Powerhouse Pub in Folsom and Swabbies On the River in Sacramento. Opening for The Soulshakers on Saturday is Monterey-based youth band Population 5. They qualified to play by winning a battle of the bands, along with Todd Morgan and the Emblems. Horr said seeing them play is a chance to support true up-and-coming musical talent. “It’s not canned. There are no drum machines,” Horr said. “I would encourage people going out to support the young musicians. It’s really important to me and other people who like music made by human beings.” This year’s blues festival also features a unique VIP experience. Meet-and-greet opportunities await VIP ticketholders in the air-conditioned VIP lounge and bar. For everyone’s enjoyment there will be food, craft and merchandise vendors. Four large twin-fan misting towers and free drinking water bottle fill-up stations will also be available for those looking to beat the heat. Saturday there will be a free kids’ zone with a climbing wall and inflatable water rides. Al Lauer, local public radio announcer and the owner of Cherry Records in Auburn, said he is glad the event was moved from Fair Oaks to Auburn last year. Discount tickets are available at Cherry Records. “It should fill in the gap of the SPCA Barbecue and Blues,” Lauer said. “I like the idea that Auburn is getting more musically cultured. They put an awful lot of work into it. I so think Auburn needs to keep supporting this kind of thing.” Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com. ______________________________________________________ What: Northern California Blues Festival When: 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5, and 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 6 Where: Regional Park, 3770 Richardson Drive, Auburn Cost: Friday- $30 for adults, $10 for kids, $80 for VIP Saturday- $40 for adults, $10 for kids, $120 for VIP Weekend Pass- $55 for adults, $12 for kids, $150 for VIP Event Details: The Northern California Blues Festivals features two days of family-friendly concerts, vendors and a kids’ zone.