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Bring on the Blues

The 20th annual Santa Cruz Blues Festival is going down this Saturday and Sunday.

Growing old never looked—or sounded—so good. Now in its 20th year, the is ready to shake, rattle and roll like it never has before May 26 and 27 at Aptos Village Park.

“This is an anniversary party,” Bill Welch, co-founder of the festival, said. “We’re thanking the community for supporting us. It’s for Santa Cruz and we'll be celebrating 20 years of bringing music to town.”

Welch said the weekend’s all-star lineup includes acts that have graced the park's amphitheatre stage before, like Johnny Lang and Los Lonely Boys, to help bring the celebration full circle.

“We are very thankful to the community because a lot of places wouldn’t support something like this for 20 years, but people are fanatical about it,” he said. “You go to a major city that holds a music festival and it’s nothing like this. This is more of a boutique festival with great acts.”

The focus of the weekend will be, as always, the music.

“The Doobie Brothers, Joan Osborne, Los Lobos…they’re all headliners and we’ve got them performing on the same stage on the same day,” Welch said. “We’ve stacked the lineup with national acts. It’s just going to be the best music possible.”

Welch said that picking out the act he’s most excited to see is like choosing his favorite child, though he’s amped to watch Joan Osborne grace the stage Saturday.

“I’ve never seen her perform live before,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to hearing her. She’s got a blues record out now that’s at the top of the charts.”

With 8-9 different beers, wine, cocktails and food ranging from BBQ to Mexican, the crowds are sure to be happy with the 20th anniversary party being held in their honor.

“We want people just to get out and get out their funk,” Welch said. “Let their hair down for a weekend and enjoy this beautiful place we live in. Everybody gets to come down and enjoy this stuff right in their backyard.”

Tickets are still available for both Saturday and Sunday, but are going fast, Welsh said.

For a complete list of acts, including performance times, visit the Santa Cruz Blues Festival website.

Welch recommends leaving plenty of time to get to the festival as he expects traffic to be heavy due to the Memorial Day weekend. There is free parking at Cabrillo College beginning at 8 a.m. and free shuttles leaving from the campus at 9 a.m. There is no parking at the festival site.

The temperature is expected to climb to the 70s both days, but bring a jacket as it's expected to cool down in the evenings.

What: The 20th annual Santa Cruz Blues Festival

When: Saturday, May 26 and Sunday, May 27. Gates open by 10 a.m. both days, earlier if possible. Shows start at 11 a.m. and are expected to go until 7 p.m. No in/out privileges after 3 p.m.

Where: Aptos Village Park, 100 Aptos Creek Rd., Aptos

How Much: $65/Adult One Day Ticket; $120/Adult Two Day Ticket: $120; $110/Gold Circle Ticket for Saturday; $25/12 and under one day; $40/12 and under for two days

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