By George Stahl
Special to the Sun
Frandy Campground on the River in Kernville will be the place to be again this year as the 8th Annual Bud Light Kern River Rock ‘n’ Blues Fest rolls into the Kern River Valley. Presented by Frandy Campground and produced by Notorious Entertainment, the festival begins Thursday, September 27, and runs thru Sunday, September 29. The lineup this year will be studded with award winning and world-renowned performers from the Blues World of music. According to Orion Sanders of Notorious Entertainment, the roster of performers is of the caliber that stars are made of and the artist this year are those stars. Orion also thanked the local businesses and individual sponsors for the event. These are listed on the fliers and on the website.
Beginning the event with what has become a tradition, the Kick Off Party will be Thursday night, September 27, at the Kernville Saloon starting at 8 p.m. Featured artist Gino Matteo, whose mantra is “Work hard at what you love, treat everyone you meet like family, and try to smile here and there,” will give a spontaneous and explosive original performance to launch the weekend and set the bar. Matteo has shared the stage with artist the likes of B.B. King, John Mayer and John Fogerty. He is not here to disappoint.
After this extraordinary beginning, the weekend performances could only get better. Headliners this year on the Main Stage will be the 2016 International Blues Challenge Winners the Delgado Brothers from East Los Angeles. Featured in the group is Joey Delgado, 2016 Albert King Award for Best Guitarist of the year. The Delgados have been making music and collaborating for over 30 years, and as these journeymen of music envelope you in their unique take on the genre of blues, you will feel the synergy and emotion that went into each song as they wrote it and now perform it.
This year, a welcomed addition to the ensemble is a singer songwriter from Australia named Kara Grainger. Grainger is an expert on the slide guitar, which enables her to bring a powerful, soulful touch to her sultry vocals and her distinctly modern take on roots, blues and soul. Grainger has opened shows for power acts such as Peter Frampton, Jonny Lange and Buddy Guy. In 2008 Kara signed to Australian label “Craving Records” and was invited to the US by producer David Kalish where she recorded her debut solo album. The recording entitled “Grand and Green River” received This year’s VIP Party, presented by ‘Rip Kitty,’ will feature as its solo artist 60 Grit! The performance is dedicated to the memory of Ronny Jackson, who had a recurring role on the television sitcom Home Improvement throughout the ‘90s.
Several other name artists will be joining the event this year, some of which have been here in the past, but most who have never been. This year, a second stage, the ‘Budweiser Acoustic Stage,’ will feature artist Kelly’s Lot and five other establishments around Kernville will serve as venues for at least eight other bands and individuals. The event will culminate in a grand sendoff on Sunday with an All-star Revue in Circle Park under the gazebo, featuring Crooked Eye Tommy from 11 a.m. to 2p.m.
Other artists scheduled for the event at press time will be The Mike Eldred Trio, Jim Gustin, Faith Jones, the CJ Parker Band, Up Jumped the Bluez, Warfield, Bunky Blues Band, and On Tap, just to name a few. This year, for the first time, according to Orion Sanders, “All of the proceeds from the gate will go to ‘Sarge’s Wreaths for Vets.’ We are so happy to be involved with this phenomenal organization this year. The generosity of the Kern Valley Community is legendary and there was no reason not to open the gate for those who have given so much. This is our first year with Sarge’s and we are looking forward to being a part of such a great, worthwhile cause” Sanders said.
“I think that we put together one heck of a show this year. Kernville is the perfect community to have something like this. The walkable community atmosphere is contagious and will always be an inviting point of this venue. The river doesn’t take a backseat to that either, it is raging past the campground and is a constant reminder of the awe and beauty of our valley to ourselves and to our guests,” Sanders said.
So, come out on September 27 to September 30 and enjoy some real rock ‘n’ blues music performed by some real rock ‘n’ blues artists. For ticket information and a complete overview of the show, please visit the website at www.kernriverrocknblues.com
“Hope to see all of you at the show!” Sanders said with a huge smile.