There was a great story in the Santa Cruz Weekly this week with Santa Cruz Blues Festival co-founder Bill Welch recalling his top 20 moments over the festival's 20 years.
It really shows how this festival in Aptos Village Park has put Santa Cruz on the international map of music. Over the years it's brought in some of the biggest names in music and given locals their chance to see the greats of blues and roots music, some shortly before they passed away.
This year the Festival had a tragedy in losing guitarist Michael Burks just weeks before he was scheduled to play here. Welch told the Weekly that Burks won't be replaced in the trio of Coco Montoya and Jimmy Thackery, but they will play a tribute to him.
The lineup this year recalls many of the past great performers, including Los Lobos, Los Lonely Boys, Jonny Lang, Elvin Bishop and James Cotton.
It also features a favorite local blues-based band, the Doobie Brothers. OK, blues, pop and rock-based. But you know they can bring it. You can also catch some of the best performances at night at Moe's Alley, where the bands sometimes hang out and jam after being on stage.
Here is a list, in the Weekly, of the people who have played the Festival the most and those who have passed on.
Attached are some photos of my favorite moments. In the interest of full disclosure, I worked for the Festival for three years, along with current owners Michael Blas and Mike and Margie Spano. One of the reasons I moved to Santa Cruz from San Jose was that I loved coming to the Festival every year.
Check Patch's ad in the Blues Festival program Saturday and Sunday May 26 and 27 for a way for you to post your favorite Blues Festival pictures on Patch and get free gifts.
Also, to buy tickets and see the complete lineup, go here.