Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Gator by The Bay 2010
I feel so lucky to have gotten back in town to catch this years Gator by The Bay Festival. It's hard to imagine that a festival this young could continue to produce such a quality experience year after year. And I do mean quality experience in every sense of the word. They bring us consistently good weather. I believe Maryanne Blinkhorn must be in charge of weather. She's really great at doing the impossible! We couldn't ask for a better location then beautiful San Diego with the harbor as the backdrop. And I'm sure many of you thought having such a convenient place to park your yacht is a nice touch as well. The music just blew me away. If you're a music lover and not even a dancer, you had to have been in awe of some of the fantastic musical performances. San Diego holds it's own when it comes to local talent. Blues, Zydeco, Cajun, Country, Latin, Swing, Steel Drums and even Andean music are just a few.
Newcomer to the festival, The Bruce Daigrepont Cajun Band was off the hook. This guy plays Tipitinas Club in uptown New Orleans every Sunday evening to a packed house. One of the most talented musicians in Cajun music today, and we had him right here. What I like about this guy is he plays a no talk, all music solid hour of danceable songs one after another.
Keith Frank put forth a couple of fantastic sets as usual. With all the carefully choreographed moves their starting to be the Temptations of Zydeco music. Keiths talent as both a musician and a skilled technician never fails to satisfy!
And what can I say about Brian Jack? Personally I never tire of seeing this band. I think if he played 3 times on Saturday and 4 times on Sunday I'd be in line to see him each time. He's just that damm good as a artist and a performer. And that goes for the whole band. They give a performance that leaves the impression that they had a better time than you. There's always this interactive connection going on.
I won't try to make a complete review here as time is tight and the longer I go on my Gator bias becomes extremely evident. So just to show balance I will raise a small complaint. I personally thought the some of the food prices were a bit on the high side. I guess one could say you could either afford it or you can't, and there's some truth to that. But what I'm talking about is in over all value, and how that value contributes or detracts from the overall experience. The prices seem to be totally unregulated. As if vendors can set any price they wish. While that may be the thing to do in a perfect world it leaves festival goers unsure of what their budget needs are for a day long outing. Particularly tough on a family. Having been a food vendor myself, at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, I can assure you as a vendor you could not price as such. You were allowed to sell a small and a large portion of whatever dish were selling and the cap for both was set by the festival. This affords festival goers a way to reasonably budget for their outing, which could easily be all weekend long. Ok, I'll stop my food rant. Overall the food was fantastic. And I stimulated the economy of more than a few select vendors.
Every year I take on this task of photographing the festival. And every year I agonize over taking on this assignment or just having fun like everybody else. But if you look at the festival through the lens of a camera you are blessed with this insider view that seems to be even more beautiful then seeing through your own eyes. Usually I put a huge emphasis on the bands and the entertainers. And they still got their share of attention. But this year my focus was "Happy People." And everywhere I turned there they were. It was like Gator had cast this magical spell over you once you entered the gates. There was no time for despair, it was one big happy time. It didn't matter your age, race, whether you were a dancer or a spectator, the place was filled with happy people. I saw so many smiling faces, I knew right away I couldn't capture them all. But with the time and energy I had, I tried to bring you as many as I could.
Gator seems to be growing more in the direction of a adult festival with a huge family slant. I saw a lot more kids, and like the adults they were having a ball. It seems I saw a lot more mothers, not just present but engaged in the festivities. I saw mothers and daughters dancing together, and even 3 generations jamming together. There were more Latinos and Hispanics, as well as the 42 African Americans I counted. Hey that's up from 37 I counted last year. Just joking of course. We're headed in the right direction. The festival is certainly starting to reflect Californias rich cultural heritage.
Music in all of it's goodness always seems to bring us all together, and that's a good thing. I would even swear that I saw some of some of those Conservatives dancing with those damm Liberals. And they look like they was passing a good time too. Imagine that. LOL!
That's it for now. You can view my photos by slideshow here
Remember to click the button in the upper rightmost corner of the slide show to view full screen.
And you can view one by one here
You can look for the work of Electric Rick and Jerry Jones and others real soon.
Also you don't want to miss the photographs by Otis Alexander. This guy is a fantastic photographer and I can't wait to see his work. I don't have links for these yet, but I'm sure their coming soon.
I invite you to click the follow link up top to follow this blog and keep up with The Bon Temps Social Club and other happenings in southern California.
By the way, who was your favorite? What did you really enjoy at Gator this year?
Feel free to add your voice to the discussion. Drop a comment.
In the meantime. Le Bon Temps Roule