In Louisiana, the word “lagniappe” connotes “a little something extra”, a small gift included with a purchase, or an added bonus.  At Gator By the Bay, we heartily embrace the lagniappe concept, and include lots of extra goodies in your enjoyment of the festival.  In addition to all the great music you’ll hear on our 5 stages, here are some “extras” that you don’t want to miss —all included in your ticket price ! Continue reading

Eating Your Way Through Gator By the Bay

If you think that Gator By the Bay is only about music and dancing, you’re missing out on one of the tastiest facets of the festival.  Gator By the Bay is also about fantastic food—and in particular the signature cuisine of Louisiana.

crawfish group Debra Bourgeois GBB 2012_IMG_3197

Everybody loves crawfish! credit: Debra Bourgeois

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Blue Largo: Swingin’ Blues (And a Special Guest!)

Guitarist Eric Lieberman and vocalist Alicia Aragon are the core of San Diego’s Blue Largo, specializing in hard swinging 1940’s / ’50’s jump blues in the vein of Louis Jordan, T-Bone Walker, Johnny Otis, Julia Lee, Ruth Brown, and Dinah Washington. They can also pay sincere tribute to the likes of Billie Holiday or The Nat King Cole Trio with equal conviction, .performing with an unshakeable passion that audiences immediately pick up on.

Joining Blue Largo will be a very special guest, (sorry, we can’t name him yet, but you’ll be as excited as we are!), a former San Diego Blues singer/songwriter icon whose original songs have been covered by such blues legends as Etta James, Solomon Burke, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and Tom Jones. He has won four San Diego Music Awards and has released 14 albums. Figured it out yet?  Catch Blue Largo on Friday evening, and be prepared to be thrilled.

Bill Magee’s Got the Blues (and We Are Very Happy About It!)

Voted the “Best Blues Band in San Diego” by the San Diego Music Association, as well as by The Reader, The Bill Magee Blues Band is a perennial favorite of the San Diego blues scene.

Born in Mississippi, Magee, who was known then as “Willie” Magee was orphaned at 13 and went to live with his brother in Ithaca, NY, where, inspired by the likes of Muddy Waters, BB King and Elmore James, he bought his first guitar. Within a few years, he was nurturing his talents in the blues clubs of Harlem, where he met a budding guitarist who called himself Jimmy James.  The two formed a band, Jimmy James and the Flames, in 1963. By 1967, Jimmy James had changed his name to Jimi Hendrix and gone to England, and Magee took his new band, The Kansas City All-Stars on a tour of Europe.  After leading that band for almost 3 decades, performing with just about every living blues great, Bill Magee relocated to Southern California in the late 1980s and formed his current band in 1993.

Catch the Bill Magee Blues Band at Gator By the Bay on Sunday on the Festival Stage and see how good the blues can make you feel.



Carrying a Torch for Linnzi Zaorski

In New   Orleans, indie-jazz torch singer and songwriter Linnzi Zaorski has been an acclaimed presence on the neo-trad jazz scene of Frenchmen   Street since its very beginnings over a decade ago. Known for her cheeky lyrics, unique and refreshing phrasing, and retro style, she breathes new life classic depression-era swing tunes as well as rocking her original material.  It’s been said that Linnzi can transform a venue into a late night speak easy with her coy, after-hours charm.

Linnzi has released 5 albums since 2002 and in 2006 her music and career were featured on NPR’ s “ All Things Considered” in a story by Andrei Codrescu.

Here’s what others have said about Ms Zaorski:

“ Linnzi is the Ninth Ward’ s torchiest torch singer, evoking the lost,
romantic days when men were men and women were dames in seamed stockings
and stiletto heels.” —Offbeat Magazine

“ Most of the current female jazz vocalists sing with an airy-prettiness, but Zaorski sings
like the brassy, sassy broads of yesteryear.” —-ZeeGig San Diego

Gator By the Bay is most excited to bring Linnzi Zaorski to the Bourbon Street Supper Club on Friday Night and to the Bourbon Street Stage on Saturday afternoon.

Deanna Bogart—One Saxxy Lady!!

Sometimes one instrument isn’t enough to do justice to the inherent talent of an outstanding musician.  Such is the case of pianist, saxophonist, vocalist and songwriter Deanna Bogart, an award-winning multi-instrumentalist and genre-defying musician. Among her many honors are three consecutive Blues Music Awards for Horn Instrumentalist of the Year— 2008, 2009, 2010— and Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year nominee in 2013.

Deanna combines the best of boogie-woogie, contemporary blues, country and jazz into a splendid blend she calls “blusion.”  Recognized for her dazzling keyboards, soulful saxophone, smoky vocals and cut-above songwriting, Deanna is a featured player in the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Revue, jamming with Tommy Castro, Magic Dick (founding member of the J. Geils Band), and other guitar slingers.

We’re thrilled that Deanna will be appearing at Gator By the Bay several times over the course of the weekend to adequately showcase her diverse talents. On Saturday, she’ll be playing the saxophone as a member of Sue Palmer’s Ladies Shoes Blues Review, after which she’ll be appearing alongside Mark Hummel, Nick Gravinitas and Johnny V with the Johnny Vernazza Project. On Sunday, Deanna will be getting into boogie woogie mode in a six hand piano extravaganza with Sue Palmer and Steve Lucky.  Three opportunities to check her out—and you won’t want to miss any of them!


Janiva Magness: Sultry Songstress

Sultry. Smoky. Earthy. Impassioned. Gutsy. In describing female singers, especially blues singers, these words are much used—some might even argue overused—but in the case of singer and songwriter Janiva Magness, they are totally right on.

In 2009, Janiva was named the BB King Entertainer of the Year by the Blues Foundation—only the 2nd woman ever to be so honored—and Contemporary Blues Female artist of the Year. In 2013, the Blues Foundation named her song “I Won’t Cry” (co-written with Dave Darling) Song of the Year, and once again was awarded her 4th Contemporary Blues Female artist of the Year title.

Janiva channels an early life of extreme adversity into her music with a survivor’s triumph, and it is this honest emotional complexity that brings the unquantifiable depth and passion to her performances that her audiences respond to on a visceral level.

Wahtzup Picks nails it when they describe Janiva’s shows:  “While Magness soulfully knocks it out of the park when she performs her originals, she has also made quite the name for herself with her blues and soul covers. Perhaps one of her greatest gifts is her ability to completely transform music from outside genres into a blues performance without abandoning their original forms. No one has ever so seamlessly and comfortably slipped pop and country songs into a bluesy masterpiece.”

Janiva Magness headlines the Bourbon Street Supper Club stage on Friday at 8:30 PM.

Tab Benoit Comes to Gator By the Bay!

tab-benoit-2Now in it’s 13th year, Gator By the Bay continues to be the West Coast’s largest Cajun, Zydeco, and Blues music festival, delighting over 17,000 attendees on the 2nd weekend of May, every year.

This year, the good times of Gator By the Bay expand to 4 days, with the addition of a festival kick-off, Thursday Night Blues Extravaganza featuring Louisiana guitar legend Tab Benoit on May 8,  under the Festival Stage tent at 6:30 PM.

Benoit, who has chocked up three Grammy nominations, four Blues Music Award’s “Entertainer of the Year” titles, and has garnered five Contemporary Male Blues Music Awards, consistently plays to sold-out crowds. A founding member and driving force of Voice of the Wetlands, an organization of musicians, filmmakers and conservationists dedicated to preserving Louisiana’s endangered wetlands, Tab Benoit is the real deal— a masterful musician and a true son of the Louisiana bayou.

Seating is limited and this concert WILL sell out! Don’t wait—order tickets here:

Robin Henkel & Kellie Rucker

Robin HenkelKellie RuckerGator By The Bay is happy for the return of Robin Henkel to the 2013 musical lineup. Robin Henkel will be performing with the phenominal harp player Kellie Rucker on Saturday at 5:30 on the Bourbon St Stage and with  Whitney Shay and Billy Watson on Sunday at 4:50 PM on the Bourbon St Stage.

San Diego native Robin Henkel is a self-styled blues man, a story-teller, a singer, a musician and a performer that consistently amazes his captive audience with his unique style and sometimes unpredictable delivery. Henkel’s instruments include: guitar, lap-steel guitar, bottleneck slide, dobro and mandolin and the genre can be any combination of blues, jazz, funk, country swing, Hawaiian and Latin music. As described in his online biography: “He borrows from each of those styles when he performs and sometimes even surprises himself with the musical direction his songs take”. A two-time San Diego Music Award recipient Henkel has tapped into the acoustic music of the Mississippi Delta of the 1930s and ’40s as his muse over the years. His raw-instrument talent in combination with his blues-tales songs and his ability to make us all expect the unexpected.

With over 25 years in the professional music industry Kellie Rucker has performed bluegrass, blues and rock with legends such as: Dizzy Gillespie, Stephen Stills, Albert Collings, ZZ Top and B.B. King to name a few.  Her command of the blues harp and her powerful singing voice, combined with Robin Henkel’s self-styled blues make this duo a perfect fit for Gator By The Bay 2013.

Stay tuned to Gator News to keep up on our daily additions to the musical lineup and current festival news.



Bill Magee Blues Band

Bill MageeGator By The Bay is thrilled to announce the addition of the Bill Magee Blues Band to our 2013 lineup. No matter how much crawfish and dancing fun you have scheduled at the fest you absolutely must make it a top priority to see the renown Bill Maggee Blues Band perform on Saturday May 11, 2013. Quite simply, you will not be disappointed.

Born in Collins, the backwoods of Mississippi in 1943, Willie (Bill) Magee grew up listening to and living the Blues. Orphaned as a teenager Bill was uprooted from his home in Mississippi to live with his brother in a one room flat in Harlem, New York. It was during this transitional time in Bills life that he discovered his love and natural born talent as a musician. While Bill’s musical start may have began slow in the beginning with him scrimping and saving for his first guitar that cost $29.99, by the late 60s his career was in full acceleration and since then he was had worked with many legendary artists including but (nearly) limited to: Jimi Hendrix, BB King, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, Otis Redding, and Bo Diddley.  Fast forward through the amazing years of travel and tours to the late 80s when Bill landed in sunny San Diego.  To date Bill has grown to be a San Diego staple in the local and international music scene and has consistently mesmerized us again and again with his timeless and soulful blues. It goes without saying that it is with amazing honor that we welcome the Bill Magee Blues Band to Gator By The Bay 2013.

Stay tuned for more of our daily Gator By The Bay 2013 lineup updates, news and happenings!