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Catalina Island will host a full weekend of musical entertainment when the Catalina Island Blues Festival returns to Avalon Sept. 25-27. Featuring headliners Taj Mahal and Robert Cray for a special concert in the world famous Casino Ballroom, the festival invites visitors to enjoy a complete line-up of musical entertainment.
The island comes alive when the festival kicks off with the ever-popular Blues Walk throughout Avalon. The Bayou Blues Band will be performing at The Lobster Trap and JL's Locker Room will feature Len Rainey performing the blues late into the night. Visitors can stroll through town from location to location, enjoying the lights of harbor, the clean ocean breeze, and the hot sounds of music in the air.
The festival continues Saturday afternoon at 2:00 in the center of town at Crescent Street and Metropole Avenue with a free outdoor concert by the Midnight Players and more exciting music in the beauty of downtown Avalon. Local restaurants and Catalina’s quaint shopping district will also welcome guests in friendly island style.
The headline entertainment begins in the Casino ballroom at 7 p.m. with the dual bill of Taj Mahal & The Phantom Band and Robert Cray. Taking the historic stage of this most unique art deco setting, these giants of the blues scene will entertain the crowd for four fantastic hours of the best blues music in the world, in an intimate venue the seats just over 1,000 people!
After the show, join the Len Rainey Band at JL's Locker Room from 11:00 to 1 AM for a spectacular After Show Jam! For those who need to get back to Long Beach on Saturday night, there will be a special 11:45 Catalina Express boat to get you back home in time for church on Sunday!
The Catalina Island Blues Festival comes to a close with a free concert at the Descanso Beach Club. The Missy Anderson Blues Band will grace the lawn stage for Blues on the Beach from 12:30 until 4 p.m. in front of a gorgeous seaside backdrop of ocean waves. Put a drink in your hand and your toes in the sand.
Taj Mahal is a two time Grammy Award-winning blues artist who has been playing his own brand of the blues for over 40 years. A self taught musician, Taj plays more than 20 instruments and compliments the sound with his distinctive voice, traveling the entire spectrum from smooth & sultry to rough, blues gravel. His music feels as if it erupts from raw emotion. The influences of funk, Caribbean, folk, rock, Latin, jazz, gospel, zydeco, soul, and so on, meld with solid blues in a manner that defies classification into a single genre. Says Taj Mahal about his music, "In the end, ultimately the music plays you, you don't play the music."
Robert Cray has been described as being at the center of the contemporary blues revival, winning him a total of five Grammy Awards and eleven nominations for his work. Robert's precise and passionate guitar licks and soulful vocals combine with his 1960's Seattle roots to produce an unique sound bringing with it images of O.V. Wright, B.B. King, and Buddy Guy. Robert's prominent cross-over success and his powerful song writing have helped to ensure his longevity and undeniable appeal. "Every time somebody asks me about where my music comes from, I give them five or six different directions," he says, "I always attribute it to the music we grew up listening to, and the radio back in the 60's. It's pretty wide open. Its hard to put a tag on it."