Out of the Blue: Jam fest brings Laguna to its musical roots

March 26, 2014|By Billy Fried

Is there really anything else as newsworthy as this weekend's Blue Water Music Festival, the brainchild of music impresario Rick Conkey?

It's massively massive fun. Say goodbye, Coachella. Adios, Street Scene. Adieu, Lightning in a Bottle.

Laguna has its very own multiday music festival Saturday and Sunday. Two days, three stages, 34 bands and 18 hours of nonstop, live music showcasing Laguna's finest artists.

You don't have to stay up late to hear great live music. You don't have to loiter in a dive bar, choke on stale air, congress with drunks or worry about late-night cops lurking in the shadows. The Blue Water takes place at the expansive, alfresco Sawdust Festival grounds, a fitting place to showcase our "other" unique artists.


This is a family event, for a good cause, and the fact that so many gifted artists call Laguna home will fill you with pride.

Let's talk lineup. So many unique voices will entertain.

On Saturday you can reunite with original members of the legendary Honk, the first true Laguna Beach surf band; the great rockers Missiles of October and Robert Jon and The Wreck; soul man O'Malley Jones; bluegrass all-stars the Salty Suites and Vinnie & The Hooligans; crooners Sasha Evans, Shaena Stabler and Adam Lasher; bluesman Chris Whynaught; and local radio deejay Jason Feddy, who occasionally writes and plays music.

And that is just for Saturday. Sunday is just as sick!

Check out pickers Kenny Garcia; John Heussenstamm; Laguna originals Trevor Green and Toulouse Englehardt; the mighty, mighty David Lindley. If you don't know Mr. Dave, he was Jackson Browne's guitarist — and just about everyone else's. He is a slide guitar and multi-instrumental virtuoso — widely considered one of the best in the game — and he'll be jamming with multi-percussionist Wally Ingram.

But the day really belongs to reggae and the vast trove of artists we've spawned in and around Laguna: Nick-I and Common Sense; Pato Banton; World Anthem; and a very special Rebel Rockers tribute to our own Eric "Redz" Morton, who passed away last year. This will be a heartfelt reunion and jam for the many musicians who met through Redz. You don't want to miss it.

More than anything, this will be a celebration of community. As always with the Sawdust, you are bound to meet your friends and neighbors at the convivial sawdust-covered grounds, against the canyon, with great cheer.

Tickets are still on sale through the website, They're very reasonable. And half the proceeds go to local nonprofits, the rest to the artists.

In fact, if you type the words "transition" in the promo code of your purchase path, half your proceeds will go to my favorite nonprofit, Transition Laguna.

It's that easy. See you on the dance floor.

BILLY FRIED is the chief paddling officer of La Vida Laguna and member of the board of Transition Laguna. He can be reached at

Coastline Pilot Articles Coastline Pilot Articles