Meeting Date: 17 May 2013

Prepared By: Dick Strayer


Cajun and Blues Music Festival

Simi Sunrise, the Sponosr club for One World Rotary and my former club, has one of the best fund raisers in Rotary. The event runs for two days, May 25 and May 26, 2013.

This event needs about 400 volunteers, attracts about 20,000 people and raises about $140,000 net. The event has four different performance stages: Cajun, Blues, Children and Dance-practice. Prominent musicians perform from all over the US. There is a huge play area for the children, parade, exotic Cajun/Creole food like alligator. There is always something new each year like having the huge Budweiser Clydesdale horses and beer wagon.



2012 Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Festival: 3:07 min


Live Blues Review - Simi Valley Blues Festival

2012 Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Festival - Memorial Day Weekend

The festivals throughout the year, ones that seem to impress the most are the ones that serve the community. There always seems to an underlying purpose that is not for "self" but for "service" and from that the nature and atmosphere of the event is a reflection of that purpose. Such was my experience of the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Festival over Memorial Day weekend in Simi Valley, CA. The Rotary Club of Simi Sunrise has put on a Cajun Festival for the last 23 years.

They asked Randy Chortkoff, to take over the blues stage with his Delta Groove All Star Revue. To quote the website, which was absolutely accurate: "2012 promises to continue our tradition of bringing fans a full weekend of nonstop award-winning entertainment, more food choices than you can sample in two days and activities to keep kids of all ages entertained too. The Cajun & Zydeco stage will feature 9 hours of continuous music each day. Featured will be international and award winning Cajun, Creole and Zydeco music acts. The Blues Stage will feature the world class Blues & Roots acts both Saturday and Sunday. Both stages feature lots of viewing space plus large dance floors. In addition, this family friendly event has a giant kids area featuring a children performing stage, bouncers, rock walls, specialty acts, crafts and talent shows."

You could shop and eat all day and take dance lessons at the Cajun stage on the biggest dance floor I have ever seen. It was a fantastic festival! And all the proceeds go to help seniors, children in the community and around the world!!

The great Zydeco bands, winner of the 2012 Best Instrumentalist--Terry Hanck, "Tres Amigos", grammy award winners, along with all the performers and their pictures (about 80) at this event can be seen on



The Blues Stage was on the opposite end of the park so there was no music volume cross-over. The journey between the two was filled with great food, beer, shopping, and activities for the entire family. The scenery from the park was great along with the weather.



As the sun set slowly in the west (i.e. the stages were getting dark), the final performer took the stage. Candye Kane vowed she would perform at the festival after her pancreatic surgery, even if she had to sit to do so. But Candye stood proud, sang her heart out and closed the festival in style. Her band includes the formidable Laura Chavez (guitar), Kennan Shaw (bass), and Baldhead Fred (drums). Everyone was overjoyed to see Candye back on stage!

So with that, one of the best festivals I have ever attended came to an end. I highly recommend you put this on your calendar for next Memorial Day weekend. Thanks to the Simi Sunrise Rotary Club for all they do before, during, and after the festival. It is how a festival should be – festive!

Photos & Comments By Marilyn Stringer ©





BLUES REVUE MAGAZINE"Crawfish boils, sausage gumbo, etouffee, alligator on a stick, Mardi Gras beads, and Cajun music. This must be New Orleans. Wrong. It's May weekend in California's picturesque Simi Valley. Everywhere you turned, there was something exciting happening. Put this on your 2013 festival calendar."


Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival - A Photo Essay

For more than two decades the Simi Valley Rotary Club has put on what has been the largest Cajun and zydeco music festival west of the Mississippi. This Southern California Festival over the Memorial Day weekend has for the most part featured the infectious sound of mostly zydeco music. The festival expanded to include a blues stage on the same grounds a few hundred yards away from the cajun and zydeco stage. Each year there has been a large increase in attendance at the blues stage. The lineup has always has always been true blue. Enjoy a great photo essay at Blue Junction Productions. David Mac.

365 Things to do in Simi Valley Cajun Music Festival: 5:44 min


One More Mile: 12:07 min



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