The Long Beach Bayou Festival, with its family-friendly Mardi Gras atmosphere and music on three stages — set for June 24 – 25, has added some new features for 2017. In addition to great blues, Zydeco and Cajun music, dancing, dance instruction, kids activities, a Mardi Gras parade, and crawfish and watermelon eating contests, the festival has added: a costume contest with prizes, pony rides for the kids. and instrument clinics conducted by the Grammy-winning Pine Leaf Boys, T Broussard (of T Broussard & the Zydeco Steppers) and others.
The delectable French Quarter Marketplace is a popular visiting spot with Cajun and Creole delicacies including crawfish etouffeé, jambalaya, gumbo and gourmet coffees and desserts such as bread pudding, sweet potato pie, beignets and an array of cobblers. Popular festival traditions continue with a colorful costumed Mardi Gras parade led each day by the New Orleans Traditional Jazz Band and the crawfish and watermelon eating contests also return this year.
Known for top-notch artists in Blues, R&B, Jazz, Cajun and Zydeco, the festival features simultaneous stages of music along with plenty of activities for kids. As always the large shaded wooden dance floor will be filled all weekend long. The easy dance instruction for all ages is always a popular feature, so even the most inexperienced dancers can join in on the fun.
Some of the highlights from this year’s fantastic performance lineup include Louie Cruz Beltran, Bernie Pearl, Jimbo Ross & the Bodacious Band, Jumpin’ Jack Benny Band. the Pine Leaf Boys, and Brian Jack & the Zydeco Gamblers.
On the New Orleans Stage: With his dynamic blend of Afro Cuban rhythms, Latin jazz, pop, and R&B, famed conguero, bandleader, composer and vocalist Louie Cruz Beltran has shared the stage with legends Natalie Cole, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson, among countless others. Varietytrumpeted Louie’s impact at the Hollywood Bowl’s Playboy Jazz Festival by saying “Louie was the unexpected triumph of the day. This music is why the Playboy Jazz Festival was created!”
Popular blues artist, Bernie Pearl has been described as “an acoustic guitar wizard who fully understands the nuances of the music” by Vintage Guitar Magazine. Bernie has accolades from all over the country and is a well-respected blues artist who hails right from Long Beach.
Back by popular demand is Jimbo Ross, who has played with the likes of the Moody Blues, Pete Townsend, Bob Dylan, Johnny Mathis and Led Zeppelin to name a few. Singing with committed soulful passion, and playing a custom made electric 5 String Viola/Violin – or as Jimbo calls it, his “guit-fiddle”– the way most master guitarists play guitar, Ross blazes through electrifying improvisational leaps that will make a believer out of any skeptic. He dips into the zydeco genre with his latest album, Zydeco Boogaloo.
Debuting this year is the Jumpin’ Jack Benny Band. Combining elements of Traditional Blues, Soul, Funk and R&B, audiences can’t help but get up and boogie and are left mesmerized by their performances. They were included on the “Best of the Southland Blues” CD and have built amazing popularity with Benny’s spellbinding style, smoking hot guitar work, and the band’s airtight rhythm section.
On the Cajun/Zydeco Stage: The always popular Grammy-winning Pine Leaf Boys return this year with their traditional Cajun and Creole music from Southwest Louisiana, inspired by bands dating from the 1920’s. They were included in the Top 6 on the “Best 50 Albums of 2009” chart by Offbeat Magazine.
With four successful Zydeco CD’s, Brian Jack and the Zydeco Gamblers wowed festival audiences in Louisiana and Texas and branched out to establishing themselves around the country, filling dance floors wherever they go. They have had numerous TV appearances including The Travel Channel’s “Road Trip” and several morning news shows.
Dennis G & the Zydeco Trail Riders add their own authentic Zydeco, Cajun, Swamp-Pop, New Orleans, Bayou-Style Boogie and Blues to the party.
Children of all ages appreciate the Kids Corner featuring storytelling, sing-a-longs, arts and crafts, magic, and costume and mask making for the Mardi Gras Parade. The Kids Corner also features kids shows and games and activities for older kids are also featured.
Rainbow Lagoon Park is located on the North side of Shoreline Drive, between Shoreline Village Drive and Linden Avenue. Parking is available on the Marina Green Lot across from Rainbow Lagoon Park.
The event is presented by Benoit Entertainment Group. A portion of the profits will benefit LALA (Louisiana to Los Angeles), a non-profit organization which raises educational funds for local youth to attend college.
WHAT: 31st Annual Long Beach Bayou Festival
WHEN: June 24-25, 2017
WHERE: Rainbow Lagoon Park, (at Linden Ave & Shoreline Dr), Long Beach, CA Sat: 11 am - 9:00 pm, Sun: 11 am – 7:30 pm
TICKETS TO ATTEND
Ticket purchase and Info www.bit.ly/LongBeachBayouFestival , (562) 912-4451
Tickets: Adults: $26.00 advance / $31 at gate
Seniors (60+) and Students (18+): $21 per person advance / $31 at gate
*Children 12 & under: free with paid adult
*Active Duty, Retired and Reservists of the Military: free with current, valid Military ID