LAISSEZ LES BON TEMPS ROULIER!

Simi Cajun & Blues Festival

By Karen Redding

Simi Cajun - Blues FestivalForget the beach, the mountains, and Las Vegas. Camping? Who cares? Southern California's 26th Annual Simi Cajun & Blues Festival is the only place to be for Memorial weekend. With the most spectacular lineup of Blues, Cajun and Zydeco music in its 26 year history, there's no better option for entertainment for this All-American holiday. The festival is held on Saturday and Sunday, May 23 and May 24. Hours are 12:00pm-7:30pm both days.

Located at Rancho Santa Susanna Community Park, the spacious, tree-shaded festival site has ample space to include two stages, a huge dance floor at the Cajun/Zydeco stage, an arts-and-crafts area with over 100 artisans, and a children's area with special entertainment for the kids. There is a daily Mardi Gras parade and best of all, the proceeds from this festival go to the local and national charities supported by the Simi Cajun Rotary.

This festival will satiate the appetite of the hungriest Blues fan, delight the little ones, and transport you to the bayous and back porches of southwest Louisiana. Indulge in the huge selection of delectable treats (from BBQ to Creole and everything in between) in the Food Court, dance until you drop, lose yourself listening to the Blues, shop for goodies and trinkets in the Crafts section and bring back treasured memories that will last you a lifetime.

Canned HeatFeaturing the world's best Blues, Swing, Zydeco & Cajun music, this year's festival lineup includes many legendary entertainers: Spencer Davis Group, Big Brother & The Holding Company, Canned Heat and Royal Southern Brotherhood (consisting of legendary artists Cyril Neville, Devon Allman and Mike Zito.) It doesn't stop there! For the first time, the festival will have a dedicated dance floor at the Blues stage so lovers of Swing can gyrate, jump and twirl to Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and the Boogie Woogie beat of swing and blues queen Candye Kane. Blues lovers will be treated to 82-year-old Leo "Bud" Welch making his West Coast debut playing the Mississippi blues he's famous for, and the legendary Guitar Shorty will lay it down like nobody else can. Louisiana's Dwayne Dopsie & The Zydeco Hellraisers will be crossing over from the Cajun/Zydeco stage to the Blues stage for the first time this year.

Terrence SimeonConsisting of Cajun Queens Ann Savoy, Jane Vidrine, Lisa Trahan and Anya Burgess, The Magnolia Sisters grace the Cajun/Zydeco stage with the chank-a-chank of the rubboard, the distinctive wail of Cajun accordion and Cajun French lyrics that are mournful and happy at the same time. Dancers can re-visit the dance halls honky-tonks of southwest Louisiana as they two-step on the huge dance floor to two-time Grammy winning Terrance Simien & His Zydeco Experience, Andre Thierry & Zydeco Magic, Curley Taylor, Jeffery Broussard and Ruben Moreno.

Transportation is easy: With ample free parking, the festival site is just minutes off the speedy 118 freeway and those who love to travel by rail can step off the train right across the street from the festival site. While temperatures have been moderate to cool the past several years, Simi Valley can be extremely hot during this time of year, so be sure to check the weather and plan accordingly.

At $25 per ticket for adults (13 and over), this event is the most reasonably priced of any of the Southern California Cajun/Zydeco/Blues Festivals. Children 13 and under are admitted free. There is also an option to purchase discounted single-day tickets for $20 and two-day passes for $35. Go to the festival website for all the information you will need to make this weekend a winner.

Laissez les bon temps roulier!