Southside Slim, Photo Credit: Ricky Richardson

Southside Slim, Photo Credit: Ricky Richardson

*Long Beach, CA – The arrival of the Summer Solstice is greeted with plenty of fanfare. Case in point, the official start of Summer fell on the same day as the Long Beach Bayou Festival. The festival was held on Saturday, June 21 and Sunday, June 22 (2014).

Former residents of Louisiana can attest to the fact that any event is a cause for celebration. Thousands gathered on the grassy knoll of the Rainbow Lagoon for the annual Long Beach Bayou Festival. Several of the musicians commented on our beautiful, Southern California weather.

The Long Beach Bayou Festival was a great day of family fun that celebrated Louisiana culture and community at a family friendly event with food, music, active dance lessons, kid’s activities and a marketplace.

Any festival that celebrates Louisiana culture, one is sure to experience an amazing party atmosphere. The Long Beach Bayou Festival provided all of that and more.

The party got underway with the talented Jimbo Ross and his tight band on the Blues Stage. There was a lot of hip shaking and swaying as the group performed “Fiya on the Bayou,” “No Longer Mixed Up and Confused,” “I Put a Spell on You,” followed by an equally dispensed portion of “Mojo Working.” You owe it to yourself or someone special in your life a special treat to the wonderful sounds of Jimbo Ross. Check out his latest CD’s- Steady Rollin’ Man and Driven by the Blues from your favorite online music outlets.

Shari Puorto is a popular, local singer from Hermosa Beach. She contributed additional ingredients to the festivities during her time in the spotlight on the tunes “Funkafied Blues,” “Out of My Mind,” “Better Left Unsaid,” “Home of the Blues,” and “Fiya on the Bayou.”

Southside Slim was outstanding during his time slot. He performed an electrifying set of original tunes while setting off a flurry of pyrotechnics with some Chicago blues.

A huge crowd gathered at the Blues Stage for the set featuring Barbara Morrison with Al Williams. Barbara’s captivating performance featured the tunes “Mr. Magic,” “Let’s Stay Together,” “Black Eyes Blues,” and the crowd favorite “They Call Me Sundial.”

Barbara Morrison, Photo Credit:  Ricky Richardson

Barbara Morrison, Photo Credit: Ricky Richardson

Delta Grooves Record Label brought out their heavy duty artillery in the form of the Delta Grooves All-Stars. This portion of the program featured Sugaray Rayford, Kid Ramos, Jackie Payne, Lynwood Slim, Kara Grainger, Steve Freund, and Randy Chortkoff. One can’t go wrong with a group of musicians of this caliber and all leaders in their own right.

Day two got underway once again on the Blues Stage with Rich Parma. This is an ultimate, all around party band who entertained the crowd with some top-40 cover tunes. Floyd and the Flyboys and Rosa Lee Brooks mixed in some blues that we could use.

The show continued with Sonny Green and The Green Machine. Guitarist Lucky Lloyd opened the show by honoring two kings. He performed “Everyday I Have the Blues” by B.B. King and “I’ll Play the Blues for You” by Albert King, with Lucky Lloyd setting it off on the guitar. Sonny Green thrilled the crowd with a set of old school blues on the tunes “Ain’t That Loving You,” “That’s the Way Love Is,” “Love & Happiness,” and “Keep on Loving You” to name a few.

Sonny Green, Photo Credit:  Ricky Richardson

Sonny Green, Photo Credit: Ricky Richardson

The 28 Annual Long Beach Bayou Festival concluded with a show stopping performance by Otis Taylor on the Blues Stage.

There were additional crowd pleasing performances by musicians on the Bayou Stage. Theo & Zydeco Patrol, San Diego Cajun Playboys, Mark St. Mary Louisiana Blues & Zydeco Band, Bonne Musique Zydeco, The Creole Belles, Blues Box Bayou Band, Jefferey Broussard & The Creole Cowboys and Sunpie & The Louisiana Sunspots. These artists added their own unique flavor of Cajun and Zydeco music that contributed to the large turnout and success of the 28th Annual Long Beach Bayou Festival.

The event was presented by Benoit Entertainment Group. A portion of the profits will benefit LALA (Louisiana to Los Angeles), a non-profit organization which raised educational funds for local youth to attend college.

Ricky Richardson is a Southern California based writer, music reviewer and Photographer. Contact him via: [email protected]