One of the disadvantages of having to write a column a month before each edition of this paper is often things happen that need to be in the previous months, or two months’, editions to be ‘timely.’
This past October is a good example. Some friends, my son and me drove over to San Felipe on the Baja Peninsula to attend the 2023 San Felipe Blues and Arts Festival. The event took place on the 13th and 14th at the El Dorado Ranch community. El Dorado Ranch is about ten miles north of San Felipe proper and is a wonderful community of homes, condos and a golf course, complete with restaurant and clubhouse.
The local Lions Club International, in cooperation with the Rotary Club of San Felipe put this event together and, let me tell you, it was a blast!! Started in 2005 by the San Felipe Blues and Arts Society, the promotion and management of the event was taken over by the Lions Club of San Felipe in 2008, which has run the event since then.
After spending four days in San Felipe, attending the Blues Festival on Friday evening, October 13th, and all day Saturday the 14th, listening to the great music provided by the opening act of Xavier Adrian Meza Legy who sang traditional rancho/campesino songs before Austin Thomasson & Family took the stage to kick off the blues portion. Austin was followed by headliner Mike Wheeler (Chicago blues), with Larry William’s on bass guitar (if you really want to see a bass player/showman, Larry is as good as they come), vocalist Demtria Taylor and the never-tiring Robert Gates on drums, segueing into Oscar Jesus Bugarin’s (aka OJB) “southern fried rock/blues (heavy on the BLUES!!!),” it occurred to me…why can’t Rocky Point host a Blues and Arts Festival?
We have Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers events regularly and their fans fill the hotels and venue, so the idea of a Blues and Arts Festival like the San Felipe Festival is not out of the question. To be sure, there would be a big difference between the Roger Clyne shows and a festival like the one we attended in San Felipe, but our town would benefit greatly from such an event. Not to mention the charities like the Lions Club or other clubs who might participate.
Based solely upon my observation of the San Felipe Blues and Arts Festival, the venue would have to be one which allowed for easy ingress and egress before, and after, the festival. It should have a place to set up a stage, with all that it entails, a place for art vendors, food service people and attendees both covered (VIP tickets) and open air (regular/door tickets) and views that don’t quit! Someplace like the golf course staging areas at the Mayan Palace or out at Isla del Mar would be perfect!
If you are a blues or jazz aficionado, imagine going out on a cool fall day, plopping down on your lawn chair (either covered or uncovered), sipping a cold one, munching on some local delicacy, and hearing the live music of some of the greats in those genres? What a great way to enjoy Peñasco and our beautiful fall weather!!
To my way of thinking, there is really no reason we here in Peñasco could not accomplish something like that. The net results would benefit not only the charities of the service organizations putting it together, but our entire city would get a pre-holiday bump that would, surely, be worth the effort.
I’m throwing out the challenge to any of our readers who might be able to get this ball rolling. It’s a ton of work. Long on effort, short on immediate reward, but, damn! It would be so very cool to have a Rocky Point Blues and Arts Festival!! We might even plan the event on the heels of the San Felipe Festival! After all, a lot of people I spoke to knew of our fair city and many have visited here. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that we could attract quite a few folks from San Felipe to visit Peñasco after they attended the San Felipe Festival! But, hey, it’s just an idea, so feel free to ‘riff’ on it.
If you’re a member of a service organization (Lions, Rotary, Kiwanis, American Legion, Moose, Elk, etc.) please think about starting, and/or supporting, such a plan. It would be well worth the effort! If we can get enough people interested the event could become as iconic as our Bike Rally! Check out www.bluesandarts.com for a look at what San Felipe’s Festival was all about. I think you’ll agree, we could do it, even better, here!