Saturday, 24 February 2024

CyberSoulMan: Festivals by the lake

I am excited and impressed by the flurry around and interest in the Lake County Oldtime Bluegrass Festival next week at Anderson Marsh in Clearlake.

Don’t misinterpret my intent. I don’t know a whole lot about bluegrass. I do know that bluegrass combines elements from more than one culture which, in my mind, is a good thing. I am aware of folks like Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and Doc Watson. I also know a local picker, Patrick Ickes, whose band is playing at this year's event and I’m itching to hear them play. (Unfortunately, it won’t be at this year’s Bluegrass Festival.)

It’s good that Lake County is making a dent in the festival scene, period. The handwriting is already on the wall suggesting that musically speaking the community here is growing out of the only-one-kind-of-music-will-sell-here exile that has been heaped upon us concert after cry-in-your-beer concert for a lot of years now.

You might say, “What the heck is the CyberSoulMan raving about now?” Is he bashing country music? Is he not bashing bluegrass?

Well no, I’m not bashing country. Yes, I am similarly not bashing bluegrass. Whether or not they are similar or dissimilar is a matter of personal preference. What I’m angling at here is that there is room for more that one musical artistic palette here.

The mission statement of the Oldtime Bluegrass Music Festival is “a community benefit to help support education in science, history and performing arts for the children of Lake County.” That is a noble notion to help the children of Lake County. They’ve got a long way to retirement and need all the help we can give.

Over in Upper Lake, a very successful third annual Blue Wing Blues Festival was recently held. Up on Cobb Mountain, merchants present a yearly music festival.

Whatever the venue or the genre, all the music festivals I’ve been to have been outstanding. This year, as I’ve reported, I have been to several blues festivals. They include the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival in Davenport, Iowa; the Monterey Bay Blues Festival in Monterey; and the Reno Tahoe Blues Festival in Reno.

The people I run across at festivals are always interesting, the food is usually superb. Oftentimes, I am able to hang out with performers. They are usually some of the nicest people ever.

At the Russian River Blues & Jazz Festivals in the past I have seen pristine performances by the likes of Etta James, Ike Turner, Little Richard, Chaka Khan, Ledisi, Boney James and Bettye Lavette – and that’s just the short list. I met Blues Queen Koko Taylor there twice. The last time, a couple of years back, we hung out together backstage for close to 30 minutes. Sadly she passed away this year.

Next weekend, I’ll be heading down to the Russian River for the first-ever combined Jazz & Blues Festval. That’s why I won’t be able to hear Patrick Ickes and his band at the Lake County Old Time Bluegrass Festival this year. Headlining at the Russian River are Al Jarreau, Dr. John and The Neville Brothers. Next week I’ll bring you a full report.

Keep prayin’, keep thinkin’ those kind thoughts.


Upcoming cool events:

Labor Day Special In The Garden: Roy Rogers & The Delta Rhythm Kings plus Gerald Mathis & Starlight. 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 7. Blue Wing Saloon & Café, 9520 Main St., Upper Lake. Telephone 707-275-2233, .

Roy Zimmerman, 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11, at the Kelseyville Senior Center, 5345 Thirds St.

Front Porch Blues, Blue Wing Saloon & Cafe Sunday Brunch, Sept. 13. Brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; music from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Blue Wing Saloon & Café, 9520 Main St., Upper Lake. Telephone 707-275-2233, .

Fourth annual Old Time Bluegrass Festival, featuring Laurie Lewis and Nina Gerber, and Susie Glaze and the Hilonesome Band. 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12. Anderson Marsh State Historic Park, Lower Lake. A community benefit to help support education in science, history and performing arts for the children of Lake County. Information: 707-995-2658, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Russian River Jazz & Blues Festival, Saturday, Sept. 12, and Sunday, Sept. 13. Johnson’s Beach, Guerneville. Saturday's jazz festival lineup includes Al Jarreau, Jazz Attack, Rick Braun, Jonathan Butler, Richard Elliot, East Bay Soul, Jackiem Joyner, Mads Tolling Quartet and Times 4. On Sunday, the blues festival includes the Neville Brothers, Dr. John, The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue, Tommy Castro Band, Bernard Allison, Rick Estrin, Janiva Magness, Otis Taylor, the Delta Wires and MoFo Party Band. Information: 707-869-1595.

Petaluma Summer Music Festival, through Sept. 13. For lineup go to or call 707-763-8920

T. Watts is a writer, radio host and music critic. Visit his Web site at

Upcoming Calendar

02.24.2024 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Lake County Theatre Co. lip sync event
03.02.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Special Olympics Polar Plunge
03.03.2024 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Pianists Benefit Concert
St. Patrick's Day
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