Thursday, May 10, 2018

2018 Doheny Blues Festival Preview

Buddy Guy "killing it" at Doheny Blues Festival in 2018.
Photo: Bob Steshetz
Editor's note: Robert Kinsler recently was able to chat with Rich Sherman, president of festival organizer Omega Events, about the upcoming Doheny Blues Festival, coming to Sea Terrace Park in beautiful Dana Point, CA the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, May 19-20, 2018.

Jimmie Vaughan performing in
Dana Point in 2013.
Robert: "Doheny Blues Festival arrives in about a month. How is the planning coming along?"

Rich: "It's coming along great. Moving venues is not what we anticipated (the festival is coming from Doheny State Beach to nearby Sea Terrace Park). When we learned we couldn't hold it at our previous location, we met with the city right away. The city of Dana Point, area hotels and business leaders in town all wanted to keep the festival in the city.

"As it turns out, the venues (Doheny State Beach and Sea Terrace Park) are both about the same size. The layout will feel very similar. We'll have three stages with music, and all the craft beer locations and food booths that fans enjoy. Overall, the festival will feel very similar."

Robert: "I know the mix of artists has always been important. Talk a bit about this year's line-up of artists."

Rich: "When you start in January for a May festival, it's not ideal. We feel really great about the line-up given we got that late start. It's important to get great blues artists such as Buddy Guy and Jimmie Vaughan; we just felt to close the weekend with Buddy Guy was super important to us. We feel there is a great mix of artists. 

George Thorogood rocking at
Doheny Blues Festival in 2013.
"Even George Thorogood (whose blues album Party Of One was released in August 2017) extended his tour to perform at Doheny. 

Robert: "I'm a big fan of Larkin Poe (sisters Rebecca and Megan Lovell); tell me a little about how you came to bring them to the festival?

Rich: "Larkin Poe has been around for a couple of years, but in the last year kept doing tributes and making viral videos; they have covered Buddy Guy and all kinds of classic (blues) songs. They have just released a new album (titled Peach, released via Tricki-Woo Records on April 20). The album is similar to their videos, with a mix of blues covers and original material. Their story kind of reminds me of The Record Company (who thrilled the Doheny faithful on the Backporch Stage in May 2016)."

The California Honeydrops performing in Dana
Point in 2014.
Robert: "Another great young group is the California Honeydrops. Talk a little about what they bring to Dana Point?"

Rich: "They're just a party. Have to break up all the guitar players with some funk. They're great; they make you want to dance and smile.

"Anders Osborne is making his first-ever appearance at Doheny; and with Kim Wilson's Blues and Boogie, Vol. 1 and John Németh's Feelin' Freaky (produced by Luther Dickinson), we are featuring two artists who released two of the best blues albums of the year." 

Nikki Hill in 2014.
Robert: "I know it's a big deal for people who have been long-time concertgoers to think about going to a new site. What would you like to tell fans of your event, which has been in Dana Point since 1998?"

Rich: "It would be for folks to trust us. For those who think 'My festival is gone,' it's not. It has just moved up the street, and we are designing and re-imagining the festival. We are rebuilding the festival for another 20 years. It's a challenge. But those are the challenges we take on with every festival we produce.

"Our goal is to produce the best festival for all the people who will be there."

Here is the line-up for the upcoming Doheny Blues Festival:

Nathan James in 2010.
Saturday, May 19, 2018
George Thorogood & The Destroyers
Blues Traveler
Jimmie Vaughan
Anders Osborne
Eric Gales
Larkin Poe
Knock-Out Greg
Chris Cain and the All-Stars
Mitch Woods
Nathan James
Dany Franchi
Artur Menezes
The Silver Kings

Buddy Guy at Doheny Blues Fest
in May 2013.

Sunday, May 20, 2018
Buddy Guy
Eric Burdon and The Animals
Beth Hart
The California Honeydrops
John Németh Love Light Orechestra
Nikki Hill
Kim Wilson Blues All-Stars
Curtis Salgado / Alan Hager
Quinn Sullivan
Santos Y Sinners
Mercedes Moore

For more information on the Doheny Blues Festival, including how to get tickets, visit the official website here.

A special thank you to Bob Steshetz for all his wonderful photography!

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