(Story by Blues-E-News)
The burgeoning Southern California (SoCal) Inland Empire finally has it’s very own Blues Festival, the 1st Temecula Blues Festival on Saturday, April 21, from 12 Noon until 10 pm and featuring a solid lineup of multiple Blues Music Award nominee vocalist Tad Robinson, Shari Puorto Band, Stoney B. Blues Band and many more.
The person responsible for creating the Festival: Andy Doty, who also owns the recently-opened (renamed) Old Town Blues Club, in Temecula.
Blues-E-News did a ‘5 Quick Questions’ interview with Andy as part of its continuing series. Here’s how it went.
BEN: What led to your decision to create and promote a Blues Festival?
AD: I own a blues club in Old Town Temecula, and I am exposed to so much wonderful local and regional blues talent. The folks in the Temecula Valley are savvy music lovers and frankly, the area has also become a” Musical Mecca”, with musicians flocking to the area due to the demand for entertainment from the wineries, casinos, and Old Town. If you think about it for a moment, Temecula is centered within an estimated radius of twenty million Southern California residents. The town itself has become a viable “weekend destination” in SoCal for wine tasting, micro-brewery tours, and casino and entertainment activities. I recognized right away that the draw is here to support a festival, and that there was also a void in the Blues festival circuit in that there were no true Blues-oriented festivals in the Temecula Valley region. It just seems that the timing is ripe.
BEN: How did you decide on which acts to book for the Festival?
AD: It’s my first festival so the primary objective is to make it a great blues experience for blues lovers and to ensure success. I wanted a quality national headliner and we got that in Tad Robinson. I then wanted the SoCal region to be represented, by quality regional bands that also have solid followings. I have bands from the San Diego, Los Angeles and Inland Empire region. We accomplished that with the likes of Shari Puorto, Stoney B. Blues and Bill Magee. Lastly, I absolutely am an advocate for local talent and as previously stated, there is real talent in the Temecula Valley. JD Priest, Tim Cash and Harvey Freedman are solid, seasoned musicians and performers. Can’t wait.
BEN: You’ve also just established a new Blues club in Temecula. What is your vision for that going forward?
AD: Ahhhh…ya know, it’s all about the vibe. Whether there is a band playing or not, people love to just “chill” at the Old Town Blues Club. It’s that kind of place. Warm, cozy, artsy, friendly, great lighting, great location….and again, very chill. One of my strengths is that I do have a knack for knowing what type of bands/music will appeal to my clientele, and so far, (knock on wood) I have been successful. The best part of my job is seeking out new talent for my club.
Going forward, we simply will keep on doing more of the same. I always say that when making a business decision, you must ask yourself, “what’s the story you want to be told the next day?” So, based on that philosophy, we want people to be talking about how great a time they had last night, last weekend, etc.,etc. and to be so pleased with their visit, that they spread the word.
It’s organic growth like that, that makes for a successful business.
At the Old Town Blues Club, we basically throw a house party every weekend and as a result we gain new fans and friends. The word spreads fast when a good time is had.
BEN: What’s your own background in the music/entertainment industry?
AD: This is my first venture. I’ve been a music lover all my life. Started by playing the piano, then saxophone and ultimately ended up on guitar. I’m still working at it! Yet, I believe that I have good taste in music and honestly one of my dream jobs when I was younger was to be a FM radio station programmer. You know, creating the playlist for the station and all of that. Well that never happened, but I kind of get to do it now! I set the house play list, choose the bands and turn my customers on to new music.
I love sharing great music with people more than just about anything else that I do.
BEN: What do you foresee as the future of the blues and live music in the Southern California market?
AD: I see a resurgence in blues, partly because of folks like myself, who are an advocate for keeping blues alive. I have a venue for blues artists and it makes a big difference in being able to get these artists exposure to new fans.
There are a couple of generations of our population who really don’t get or even know the blues, yet. They think they know the blues, but they don’t because most of them have never experienced it live.
I see these under 35-year-olds, experiencing blues for their first time in my blues club and I see their reactions. They are loving it. To them it’s new and exciting.
Once you see good blues, most people are hooked for life. I’m already feeling/seeing the interest in blues increase substantially.
I live in suburbia Temecula and blues typically tends to be associated with “metro” areas of our nation. Chicago, NY, KC, New Orleans, Memphis, etc., etc., you know, the city.
Many folks who live here, come from these metro areas from the Midwest or East Coast and they welcome with enthusiasm to hear live blues, without having to leave town.
I think were on a roll.
For more information on the Temecula Blues Festival, visit http://www.temeculabluesfestival.com/index.html;
for more on Old Town Blues Club, visit https://www.facebook.com/oldtownbluesclubmusic.