It’s the latest local happening that, alongside the recent Springboard West music conference, show Ocean Beach’s rising profile as a music destination. “I was really inspired (to co-create this event) by the turnout at both the Blues Summit concert at Tin Roof and at Aristotle Georgio’s Memorial service in September,” said Bolton.
One thing he noted was that early start times allowed more people to attend. “I was especially surprised by the support of people in my own age group,” he continued. “Many of the people/musicians who came I hadn’t seen since the ’70s. I’ve thought for a long time there’s a real need for venue’s to have earlier shows so that all of us can enjoy it. Very few people my age can make it to a show where the band doesn’t come on until 10 p.m.”
Bolton acknowledges there are other Mardi Gras events in town, but points out there will be differences between this and other similar gatherings. “Our event is taken straight from Bourbon Street, New Orleans,” he said. “We wanted to open up your senses to the sights, sounds and scents of Bourbon Street. Other Mardi Gras events happening seem to cater to the 21-30 age bracket with DJs sets and light shows. Not that there’s anything wrong with that but we just wanted something more authentic."
Providing the tunes will be The Bayou Brothers with guest blues singer, Michele Lundeen, performing under her flashier alias Madame LeRoux, with further entertainment from Burlesque Queen’s Nina Bel Vande, Ginger N. Whiskey and Eva Mae Garnet, alongside MC, Kickxy Vixen-Styles. Part of the proceeds from the event will go to the Blues Lovers United of San Diego (Blusd.org) group, which helps send disadvantaged youth to the Summer Blues Camp. “I love what Blusd does for disadvantaged youth,” Bolton said. “For kids with autism or any disability, music is their shining light and a path to opening up their eyes and ears to endless possibilities.”
Lundeen has performed at other Mardi Gras events in the past and is looking forward to playing at this one’s inauguration. “It’s traditionally a day of letting "completely" loose before ones penance,” she enthused. “I love the energy, the history, the culture, the colorful costumes, the music, the extravagance, the irreverence and reverence of it all,” she said. She considers Ocean Beach to be a good match of event and location. “OB seems to be all about the things I've mentioned that I find appealing about Mardi Gras,” Lundeen remarked. “I think OB and Winston's is a perfect choice for a wild, colorful, free-form celebration and the venue is a party institution there too.”
Though the first OB Mardi Gras has yet to take place, plans are already underway to make this a new addition to San Diego’s yearly event calendar. “We’re hoping next year to book four to five live venues in OB with Mardi Gras acts, similar to the OB Jazz Fest years back,” Bolton said. “For those who have never been to New Orleans we hope to bring a slice of NOLA to you - along with complimentary red beans and rice.”
OB Mardi Gras: Saturday, Feb. 10 at Winston’s, 1921 Bacon St. 4 p.m. $10. 21 and up. www.winstonsob.com www.obmardigras.brownpapertickets.com