*(Lawndale, CA) The city of Lawndale hosted its 10th Annual Lawndale Blues Festival, on Saturday, September 9. 2023, at Jane Addams Park, 15114 Firmona Avenue.
This was a milestone celebration; the 10th Annual Lawndale Blues Festival is also a signature event for the city. I’m proud to say that I have attended the festival for eight years. I missed the 7th iteration of the festival due to a scheduling conflict, and last year’s festival, the 9th annual, was canceled due to inclement weather.
The festival started off as the Lawndale Blues and Jazz Festival, a decade ago, on the corner of 147th Street and Burin Avenue, in front of Lawndale City Hall, for a couple of years.
The Lawndale Blues Festival relocated to Jane Addams Park to accommodate a larger crowd, as well as to add a classic car show.
The Lawndale Blues Festival has hosted jazz and Latin Jazz and Salsa artists in the past. The blues lovers from Lawndale, El Segundo, Inglewood, Hawthorne, Torrance, Gardena and Beach Cities are thrilled to attend a consistent blues festival in the South Bay each year.
Mike Este, Director of Community Services has been at the helm from the very beginning. Mr. Estes wears many hats, Producer, selects the stellar lineup of artists and promotes the festival to blues lovers in the South Bay and surrounding communities.
South Bay Locals Car Show partnered with the Lawndale Blues Festival with a display of three dozen classic, vintage cars, different makes and models, for everyone to enjoy.
The show got underway exactly at noon, with official welcome remarks from Lawndale Mayor Robert Pullen-Miles and his fellow City Councilmembers and City Clerk. California State Senator Steven Bradford was also in attendance.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell acknowledged and recognized the milestone celebration of the Lawndale Blues Festival. Ara An, Deputy, Constituent Engagement, Office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell presented the award to Lawndale Mayor Robert Pullen-Miles.
The 10th Annual Lawndale Blues Festival was rockin’ and smokin’ due to the awesome lineup of electrifying, fiery guitar slingers on the bill. Kara Grainger Band, Steve Riddle Band, Laurie Morvan Band and Bill Magee Band.
The Kara Grainger Band was the first act to fan the flames of the blues. Kara Grainger is a singer, songwriter, and guitarist from Australia, who entertained the crowd with a set of blues, soul, and funk. She opened her set with “Light Your Fire,” and continued with “Different World,” “Lift Up Every Stone,” “Come On In My Kitchen,” and “Feel Like Breaking Up Someone’s Home.” The band consists of Kara Grainger-guitar/vocals, Howard Scott Stein-guitar, Jimmy Earl-bass, and Chad Cromwell-drums.
Brian Power is a talented guitarist. He provided entertainment in between sets.
The Steve Riddle Band was up next. Steve Riddle is a guitarist, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, and an amazing fine artist. Check out his artwork online after you finish reading this review. The band featured Steve Riddle-guitar/vocals, George Michael Webster-bass, Dave Eiken-keyboards, and Rick Johnson-drums. The Band thrilled the crowd as they knocked it out of the park with hard-hitting, rip-rockin’ down home blues with the following selections. “Dimples,” “Black Cat Bone,” “Hoochie Coochie Man,” The Thrill is Gone,” “Help the Poor,” and “Cold Shot.”
Laurie Morvan Band brought the heat. Laurie Morvan is a singer, songwriter, and guitarist. She is also a great inspiring storyteller as she introduces each song throughout her engaging and crowd-pleasing set. Laurie Morvan Band had the crowd up and dancing, shaking their tail feathers. Laurie Morvan-guitar/vocals, Lisa Morvan-vocals, “Pretty Boy” Pat Morvan-bass, Chris Ryan-keyboards and Lonnie Jones-drums.
Bill Magee’s bio stated that he performed in a band alongside the late great Jimi Hendrix, back in the day. What more do I need to say or that you need to know about Bill Magee? Bill Magee is the Real Deal as it relates to his headlining, show-stopping set of down-home Chicago and Southern style of blues. The band put on a great show to close out another successful iteration of the Lawndale Blues Festival. This is further proof that ‘The Blues is Alright.”
Ricky Richardson is a Southern California-based writer, music reviewer, and photographer. Contact him via: [email protected]
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