Northern California Blues Festival

Northern California’s premier blues music festival is right around the corner.  Located in Auburn, CA, the Northern Caliornia Blues Festival is showcases both popular and up and coming blues artists over the 5th and 6th of August.  This family-friendly festival is about to start its biggest year yet, with more musicians to perform and an additional day of festivities.  Producer of the Northern California Blues Festival Jason Haxton was kind enough to talk to with the Synthesis on why this year’s festival is gearing up to be the most exciting yet.

This is the 11th Northern California Blues Festival.  Do you guys have anything special planned that’s different from years previous?

We’ve added the Friday night show to the all day Saturday event, which we are very excited about. Friday night will feature all of the vendors and excitement of Saturday.

What are some of your biggest names on the bill this year?  What and who should we be excited about (and why)?

We have Janis Joplin’s original band, Big Brother & The Holding Company on Friday night.  I was browsing them on YouTube the other day and found myself utterly amazed by the energy this band puts out… and after all of these years, too! The female vocal parts are expertly sung and the band can not only take you back, but take you on one heckuva journey, too.  Saturday features the return of Dennis Jones for his 2nd straight NorCal Blues Fest appearance.  Dennis and his trio are high-energy and Hendrix-esque, a whole lot of fun to experience.  Following Dennis is Carolyn Wonderland.  The festival world is buzzing about Carolyn.  I describe her as Janis Joplin meets Bonnie Raitt, though Carolyn certainly has a style all her own.  Carolyn’s performance may just well be the most talked about by festival goers after the festival.  I think Auburn is going to fall in love with her.  Headlining the Saturday show is the amazing Kenny Neal.  Kenny is living in CA now, but originally from Louisiana.  Kenny is bringing his Louisana band for this performance, which will be a special treat for all of us.  Even those who have seen Kenny Neal perform in the region are unlikely to have seen the kind of show he is bringing to the festival!  We are going to be in Swamp Blues heaven as he wraps up this year’s festival.

What should first-time goers expect from this festival?

A family friendly experience, for sure. 11 different food vendors.  Plenty of arts and crafts and other non-food vendors.  Real margaritas.  Craft beer from Auburn Alehouse.  Free kids zone on Saturday. Meet and greet sessions with the bands for VIP ticket holders. And also a great natural amphitheater where you can enjoy the best Blues around.

The Northern California Blues Festival will be happening in Auburn on Friday, August 5th and Saturday the 6th. Tickets for the weekend are 55$ in advance or 60$ at the gate (12 and under tickets are 12$/15$ and VIP tickets are 150$/180$). For more information on the festival and tickets, visit the festival’s website at


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