Local, celebrated musicians to perform at Gator by the Bay


San Diego will resemble Louisiana in May when the annual Gator by the Bay music and food festival takes place at Spanish Landing Park.

The event, slated for May 11 to 14, will include dozens of bands, including Grammy-nominated blues singer and pianist, Marcia Ball.

Several local bands will also hit the stage.

Encinitas musician Ben Powell, a one-man band, will bring his country-blues tunes to the festival.

Powell, who was nominated for the best blues album in 2014 at the San Diego Music Awards for his sixth CD, plays a resonator guitar while stomping on a box to replicate a drum sound. He also sings and plays harmonica.

He said he’s excited to share this type of music in San Diego.

“This is kind of a more stripped-down, bare-bones style,” he said. “It’s a great American tradition of music, and it’s a niche these days. Not a lot of people are doing it, but I think it’s making a comeback when I see young people enjoying it and dancing to it.”

The Farmers, comprised of former members of 1980s and ’90s band The Beat Farmers, will headline the main stage on May 13.

Jerry Raney, lead guitarist, said if people were to try to pigeon hole the band — which has members from all over San Diego County — they would think of the band as a mix between the Rolling Stones and Creedence Clearwater Revival.

The band was nominated in the best rock category for the San Diego Music Awards this year.

Fans can expect Beat Farmers songs, like “Happy Boy” and “California Kid,” as well as Farmers originals and other covers during their set, Raney said.

Powell, a first-time Gator performer, said he enjoys being a part of something that sort of takes San Diego to a different place.

“We get a little taste of something outside our San Diego norm,” he said. “On top of that, we have the best San Diego bands in blues, rock and roots genres. It’s super fun being a part of it.”

The festival will also include Louisianan food, a shopping plaza, activities for children, dancing and more.

Peter Oliver, a Gator by the Bay producer, said in a statement that the event — which has been around since 2001 — brings “Louisiana’s eclectic melting pot of history, food, music, dance and more.”

“We truly pride ourselves in offering San Diegans and visitors alike the chance to experience authentic Louisiana culture,” he said in a statement. “I can guarantee you will discover something new and leave wanting more.”

The event will take place May 11 to May 14 with varying hours at Spanish Landing Park, directly across from the San Diego International Airport.

Ticket prices range from $25 to $95.

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