Southern California’s biggest Blues, Cajun, Zydeco, and Roots Music Festival features two stages of music, dozens of food booths, craft vendors and a daily Mardi Gras Parade
DAVE MASON, EDDIE MONEY, DEVON ALLMAN PROJECT WITH DUANE BETTS, CHAMBERS BROTHERS, CHUBBY CARRIER & THE BAYOU SWAMP BAND AND THIS YEAR’S GRAMMY WINNER LOST BAYOU RAMBLERS HIGHLIGHT THE 29th ANNUAL SIMI VALLEY CAJUN & BLUES MUSIC FESTIVAL, SATURDAY MAY 26-SUNDAY MAY 27, 2018
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. — The 29th annual Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival will once again fill your Memorial Day weekend with two days of great music and great fun. Taking place Saturday May 26 and Sunday May 27 at Rancho Santa Susanna Community Park (5005 Los Angeles Ave., Simi Valley), this popular festival features two stages delivering non-stop performances showcasing an array of acclaimed Cajun, Blues and other roots-based music acts.
Single Day tickets are $30 for adults (ages 13 and over) per day, and $45 for a 2-day pass; children 12 and younger are free. Special Early Bird single day tickets can be purchased online at http://www.simicajun.org/ for $22 through April 15. After that date, tickets can be purchased online for $25. Note: only $30 single-day tickets will be available at the gate with cash and credit card being the acceptable forms of payment. The Festival also offers a limited number of SuperTicket passes for the Blues Stage. For $124 for a single day or $199 for both days, SuperTickets holders get a reserved seat, in the shade, directly in the front of the Blues Stage as well as private bar access (and two complimentary drinks) and other exclusive “backstage experiences.”
Concertgoers will be pleased to know that this year the Festival has the green light on allowing pop-up tents, so folks can bring their own pop-up tents and enjoy some relief from the sun. There will be 30,000 square feet of shading and low back chairs are recommended for seating.
The main event at the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival remains the music, and this year is no exception with an impressive lineup that crosses genres and spans generations. The Blues Stage is headlined on Saturday by Rock & Roll Hall of Famer (and co-founder of Traffic) Dave Mason. Sunday finds blues-infused classic rocker Eddie Money topping the Blues Stage bill, which also includes a set from the fabled funk soul rockers Chambers Brothers. More old school blues power will be supplied by Lightnin’ Willie (Saturday) and Arthur Adams (Sunday).
The Blues Stage also proudly hosts second-generation blues rockers the Devon Allman Project with Duane Betts, who will perform on Saturday. Bo Dollis, Jr & The Wild Magnolias, who appear on the Blues Stage on Saturday and the Cajun Stage on Sunday, also has strong musical bloodlines. Dollis, Jr. has succeeded his father as “Big Chief” of the Wild Magnolias. There’s even the third-generation Zydeco star Chubby Carrier & The Bayou Swamp Band, who is playing the Cajun Stage both days.
The Cajun Stage this year is also spotlighting several top younger acts that should not be missed. Lost Bayou Ramblers, who won this year’s Best Regional Roots Album Grammy Award for their album Kalenda, will be performing on Cajun Stage Saturday and the Blues Stage Sunday. Kevin Naquin & Ossun Playboys, the heralded Cajun group from Southwest Louisiana, is doing double duty on the Cajun Stage, while the award-winning Acadiana outfit La Recolte has a Saturday set and the popular SoCal band Dennis G and the Zydeco Trail Riderz can be enjoyed on Sunday.
One of the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival’s long-time favorites, Lisa Haley & The Zydekats, will be commanding the Cajun Stage on both Saturday and Sunday. The Festival also welcomes back the dynamic singer/keyboardist Alex Nester, who played the Blues Stage last year, and Kelly Z, who performed last year with her band Kelly’s Lot and this year is part of the local super group 3 Sista Blues
About The Headliners:
Eddie Money: Last year marked the 40th anniversary of Money’s smash self-titled debut album, which introduced "Baby Hold On" and his signature song “Two Tickets To Paradise.” Money has also found chart success with “I Wanna Go Back,” “Walk On Water,” “You Really Got A Hold On Me,” and “I’ll Get By,” and he scored a Grammy nomination for his duet with Ronnie Spector, “Take Me Home Tonight.” The one-time New York City cop was discovered, and managed, by the legendary Bill Graham, who described Money as a natural performer, and the charismatic Money has been entertaining audiences for over four decades.
Devon Allman Project With Duane Betts: After leading the Devon Allman's Honeytribe and Royal Southern Brotherhood for nearly two decades, Devon Allman decided to put together a new band following the death last year of his father Gregg Allman. The six-piece Devon Allman Project fulfills Allman’s long discussed team-up with fellow guitarist Duane Betts (the son of Dickey Betts who is named after Devon’s uncle Duane Allman). The two have known each other since they were teens when their fathers were in the Allman Brothers together. Expect a set featuring some Devon songs, some Dickey songs, some Allman Brothers songs, and plenty of fiery guitar playing.
Chambers Brothers: It was 50 years ago this year that the Chamber Brothers scored a Top 20 hit with their epic tune “Time Has Come Today.” This psychedelic soul masterpiece has remained popular and relevant ever since. The song has been covered repeatedly by bands over the years; Pearl Jam performed it at their 2016 Wrigley Field “Let’s Play Two” concert. No one, however, can play like the Chambers Brothers can. Their sound, a special brew of gospel, funk, R&B, and rock & roll, draws upon their native Mississippi and their long-time home of Los Angeles.
Lost Bayou Ramblers: The past year has been a thrill ride for the Lost Bayou Ramblers. The Louisiana band appeared on the acclaimed documentary series American Epic in a performance produced by Jack White. Their album Kalenda picked up a Grammy win for Best Regional Roots Album back in January. Featuring Louis Michot (fiddle and lead vocals), Andre Michot (accordion and lapsteel), Eric Heigle (electronics and acoustic guitar), Kirkland Middleton (drums), Johnny Campos (guitar and vocals), and Bryan Webre (bass and vocals), the band takes both a traditional and unorthodox approach to Cajun music, which might be why Arcade Fire liked them enough to bring them out on their Reflektor tour.
Chubby Carrier & The Bayou Swamp Band: Chubby Carrier is known as “The World’s Premier Zydeco Showman,” and he has demonstrated that every time he takes the stage at the 150 or so shows he plays each year with his Bayou Swamp Band. With his group, he has spread the joyous sounds of Zydeco around the world. Zydeco music is in Chubby’s blood: his father Roy Carrier, his grandfather Warren Carrier and his cousins Bebe and Calvin Carrier are all Zydeco legends. Chubby Carrier & The Bayou Swamp Band were honored by a Grammy victory in 2011 for Best Zydeco or Cajun Album.
Bo Dollis, Jr. & The Wild Magnolias: Bo Dollis, Jr. hails from New Orleans music royalty. His father Bo Sr. served as “Big Chief” of the Mardi Gras Indian tribe known as the Wild Magnolias before Bo Jr. succeeded him in 2012. The following year, they released A New Kind of Funk, their first album of original recordings since 1999. Besides creating wonderfully festive and authentic New Orleans funk, the band is also known for their colorful costumes that represent native Louisiana “Indian Masking” traditions.
3 Sista Blues: This trio - Deb Ryder, Shari Puorto and Kelly Z - represents something of a Southern California blues super group. Each “Sista” has had a significant career on her own. Ryder was a Sean Costello Rising Star Award nominee for the Blues Blast Music Awards. Puorto was named Best Female Vocalist at the South Bay Music Awards and won Americana/Blues/Roots Song of the Year honors at the L.A. Music Awards. Kelly Z’s band Kelly’s Lot has been a mainstay of the L.A. music scene and has a strong European following. Now the powerhouse vocalist has teamed with Ryder and Puorto to create a terrific triumvirate of local blues all-stars.
Kevin Naquin & Ossun Playboys: Led by the accordion-pumping Naquin, the Southwestern Louisiana-bred band has racked up a number of honors from the Cajun French Music Association over the years. The group honors Cajun music traditions while also injecting their songs with their own brand of infectious energy. Be prepared to shake and swing because Kevin Naquin & Ossun Playboys are known as being one of Cajun music’s premier dance outfits.
Lisa Haley & The Zydekats: For over 20 years, Lisa Haley and The Zydekats have ranked as one of the best, if not the best, Americana/Cajun/Zydeco bands in California. Joining fiddler Haley in The Zydekats are David Fraser (accordion, keyboards, harmonica), Andy Anders (bass and vocals), and Cam Tyler (drums, vocals and percussion). They have entertained crowds around the globe, performed on more TV shows and movies than you can count, and grabbed a Grammy nomination for their album King Cake.
The Festival’s Blues Stage has been booked again by Martin Fleischmann and his company, Rum & Humble. For more than two decades, Rum & Humble has played a key role in presenting many of the world’s top musical acts (Radiohead, King Sunny Ade, and The Rolling Stones, to name a few) at top Los Angeles venues including the Hollywood Bowl, the Orpheum Theatre and the Santa Monica Pier. The firm is known for its close collaborations with many clients, ranging from artists including Jackson Browne and Paul Oakenfold to such organizations as KJAZZ Radio and the National Geographic Society. Rum & Humble also has been a pioneer promoter of Latin alternative music, and Fleischmann helped to start L.A.’s Conga Room.
Since its start nearly 30 years ago, the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Festival has garnered international attention and grown into one of the largest music festivals of its kind west of the Mississippi River. Jazz Weekly’s George W. Harris has hailed the Festival, proclaiming, “forget the Playboy Jazz Festival, the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Fest beats the older and richer sister. This is coming from a jazzer, yet still, pound for pound and dollar for dollar, I have more fun here than in Hollywood … (it) “delivered music made to last…(and I) can’t wait until next year.”
To reach Rancho Santa Susanna Community Park from Los Angeles, take California Hwy. 118 (Ronald Reagan Freeway) north to Stearns Street exit and then drive a couple blocks south. Ample free parking is available, with the main lot located at the Simi Valley High School; a free shuttle takes to you to the Park. The Festival also is within an easy walking distance of the Amtrak Simi Valley station, which is located nearby at 5050 Los Angeles Avenue.
A presentation of the Rotary Club of Simi Sunrise, the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival donates 100% of its profits to charitable, educational and humanitarian causes on a local, national and international level. A list of these organizations may be found at