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Laurie Morvan performs at Catalina Island Blues Festival

"Blues Festival Delivers Fun, Music and Tourists"

Catalina Islander, Avalon, CA - October 3, 2008 - Front page story/review
by Dennis Kaiser
  
Female blues artist Laurie Morvan helped kick things off at the Catalina Island Blues Festival Sept. 26, 2008

"Morvan captured the hearts and ears of blues fans...humble but powerful talent..."

The blues was alright in Avalon last weekend. In fact, some of this year's Catalina Island Blues Festival had highlights that surpassed any moment from previous year's festivals.

Female blues artist Laurie Morvan helped kick things off during the Blues Walk on Friday night while playing as a special guest with Island resident musician Roger Connelly and The Blues Merchants.

During a set, Morvan, a tall blond-haired young woman who can play rockin' blues with the best of men and make it look easy, jumped up on the bar during one of her gigs.

Morvan, who is unassuming and easygoing in person, captured the hearts and ears of blues fans throughout the weekend. She is an approachable, humble but powerful talent who promoters said really helped round out this year's blues festival.

The Santa Catalina Island Company's Joe Caliva also played drums with Connelly's band as well as at Descanso Beach Club on Sunday.

Headliners for the main event on Saturday night at the Casino Bllroom were blues guitarists Jonny Lang and Buddy Guy. About 800 people, a mix of Island residents and visitors from over-town attended.

"That is very good attendance for a weekend in a down economy when fewer people are thinking about spending money on entertainment," Caliva said.

Lang played guitar like a yeoman prodigy blues musician with the precise chops for which he ahs come to be known for. His singing voice was mostly silent that night however, due to a bout of laryngitis. One of his band mates handled most of the vocals.

Caliva, vice president of Sightseeing Operations for the Santa Catalina Island has worked with Billy Delbert, who retired this year from the Island Company to create each of the recent blues festivals on Catalina.

He said that Buddy Guy's performance in the Casino on Saturday was the best part of the festival for him as a spectator. "He put on one of the best shows I have ever seen in the Casino," Caliva said. "His showmanship was fantastic. I could really see how he has had such a strong influence on people like Jimi Hendrix, Keith Richards and Eric Clapton. There is no other way to describe what he did other than to say he was excellent."

The Santa Catalina Island Blues Festival was revived about three years ago. Last year, the event was moved from September to October, according to Caliva, as a way to let people know that Catalina had in fact survived the previous summer's fires and that there was still plenty to do and experience by visiting the Island.

"Last year, we had Otis Clay and Blues Caravan at Descanso Beach as the main act," Caliva said. "We hope to keep it going and have the blues in September again next year." Caliva said events like the blues festival and JazzTrax, which the Island Company also helps to promote and drive the Island's tourist economy.

"They bring a lot of money to town and raise the awareness of Catalina as an easy but popular destination with people nearby on the mainland," Caliva said. This year, the festival continued on Saturday afternoon in the center of town at Crescent STreet and Metropole Avenue with a free outdoor concert featuring Laurie Morvan with the Len Rainy Band.

The festival ended on Sunday with a free concert at the Descanso Beach Club with Blues on the Beach with Michael John and the Bottomline.

 
 
 
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