cajun blues fest 6_15_14

Lydia Cavitt, center, and Don Stone dance to the music of Red’s Blues, featuring guitarist Steve Freund, at the Cajun & Blues Festival in Isleton, Sunday. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

Rio Vista

Cajun and Blues Festival brings Louisiana to Delta

By From page A3 | June 16, 2014

ISLETON — Festivalgoers came by the busload Sunday to experience the Cajun vibe at the Delta Loop.

A new location didn’t deter the masses from attending the Cajun and Blues Festival this year. With a lineup featuring Grammy-award winning artists and Louisiana-inspired cuisine, people came from afar to experience the Southern vibe on Brannan Island.

“We’re big fans of the New Orleans Jazz Festival,” said San Francisco resident Rafael Morales, alongside friends and family. “This is the closest you can get to it in Northern California.”

Southern-inspired blues music by The Terry Hanck Band and Friends lit up the dance floor, and beyond the main stage street percussionist John King II, of Sacramento, lured onlookers as he tapped on his makeshift drum set that included garbage bins, tin cans and 5-gallon buckets.

JD McPherson and Marcia Ball were the scheduled headliners Sunday, and the previous evening saw the Kyle Rowland Blues Band and Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys take the stage.

While couples danced, lines held steady at most of the food tents, which advertised Southern vittles such as gator on a stick, jambalaya and duck gumbo.

After eating three pounds of crawfish as well as frog legs and gumbo, Morales said his group had little room left for the beignet, a New Orleans classic.

“We filled up on the essentials first, then we’ll think about the dough,” Morales said. “We gotta pace ourselves.”

The food options maintained authenticity as Lake County-based vendor Hal, who refused to give his last name, cooked crawfish and alligator that came from Louisiana and used a beignet mix from the New Orleans mainstay Café Du Monde.

Riverside County vendor Danielle Pearson said her oysters, jambalaya and frog legs were authentic and homemade. After working the festival for five years, the Louisiana native said it’s clear people want the Cajun experience. But Pearson still misses some things about home.

“Folks are just so friendly out there . . . ,” she said. “There’s a slower pace out there, too. I miss that.”

The Isleton Chamber of Commerce revived the event, which was known as the Crawdad Festival in years past, as the Cajun & Blues Festival in 2011, said chamber president Lynette Brister. The festival seeks to benefit the area’s businesses by drawing people to the local resorts and restaurants, she said.

At its new location of Delta Boat Storage, Brister said festivalgoers had more options with ample dock space, campgrounds and RV parking nearby.

“We wanted to bring people in by land and by water,” she said.

A few miles west of the festival, people could park for free in a rural lot off Jackson Slough Road.

Sacramento resident V. John White waited for about 20 minutes before boarding one of three shuttle buses that transported people to and from the show. Although he was concerned about the return trip, White wasn’t discouraged about the wait.

“We’re just glad to be down at the Delta . . . ,” he said. “It’s a beautiful afternoon, people are nice.”

Kevin Glynn took another route. The 37-year-old Rio Vista resident could be seen making the nearly seven-mile trek along Highway 12 from town to the festival.

“It’s just within range of where I live to walk, and even though it’s farther than some people think, I felt like I could keep walking until I got here,” he said.

Once inside the festival gates, Glynn had one thing in mind.

“I’m thinking of getting something to drink,” he said.

Reach Adrienne Harris at 427-6956 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aharrisdr.

Adrienne Harris

Adrienne Harris

Adrienne joined the Daily Republic in September 2009. She earned her journalism degree at the University of Florida in 2005 and has worked at newspapers in Fort Pierce, Fla.; Las Cruces, N.M.; and El Paso, Texas.

Discussion | 3 comments

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  • John AndersonJune 16, 2014 - 10:05 am

    Went on Saturday. Great entertainment, super sound system, terrific food, and a friendly crowd. Well organized. Good vibe- I people watched all day and saw virtually none of the usual troublemakers or blatant neanderthals. It was very family friendly- a far cry from what the old Isleton "Crawdad Festival" had degenerated into. I hope it becomes a tradition at B&W!

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  • Beth Reid-GrigsbyJune 16, 2014 - 10:34 am

    Thanks for the photos! I loved singing with my band and Steve Freund at this festival. It was refreshing and a whole lotta fun. Hope to return next year!! Mindy Giles, et al., did a spectacular job putting this festival together at a great location. The shaded stage and dance floor, as well as a lot of grassy area and the Delta Breeze were excellent. And the musicians were well taken care of, with plenty of water and beverages and food set up in a cool tent area by stage. Gabe Lewin and Clarity Sound, as well, did a superb job making sure I had what we needed sound-wise, and I appreciate that a lot. Thanks again, everybody, for all your hard work, and especially to my band, Richard Grigsby, Robert Sidwell, Larry Carr, and to our good friend and special guest, Steve Freund. Beth Reid-Grigsby

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  • Mindy GilesJune 16, 2014 - 11:13 am

    On behalf of the Isleton Chamber of Commerce and many volunteers, and my company Swell Productions, we are so grateful. Big kudos to hosts B&W Resort Marina, who believed the vision we had to bring this festival out to the beautiful Delta Loop area for the first time. Beautiful weather, and vibe, GREAT Cajun, zydeco, blues and roots music and bayou cuisine --- AND lovely concertgoers who helped us build a memorable weekend community. We took good notes and know how to improve a few things next year-- as the last line in "Casablanca" goes... " I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." - Mindy Giles, Festival Music Programmer

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