'Beatlemania,' Fabulous Thunderbirds Headline Morro Bay Harbor Fest, Oct. 4-5

The 33rd Annual Morro Bay Harbor Festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday, October 4-5, on Morro Bay’s Embarcadero, once again filling the waterfront with thousands of visitors enjoying live music, seafood, beer and wine, and a weekend of family fun by the bay.

The Thunderbirds
The Thunderbirds

The 33rd Annual Morro Bay Harbor Festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday, October 4-5, on Morro Bay’s Embarcadero, once again filling the waterfront with thousands of visitors enjoying live music, seafood, beer and wine, and a weekend of family fun by the bay.

Headlining the Festival’s musical lineup will be Beatlemania, one of the most popular “fab four” bands in the country, performing Saturday at 1:30 p.m., and legendary  blues-rockers, the Fabulous Thunderbirds featuring Kim Wilson, who take the Dan Reddell Stage Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Top local bands in the weekend spotlight include Meet the Foppers (Billy and Charlie Foppiano), Burnin’ James & the Funky Flames and Captain Nasty on Saturday, and Vodu Lounge, R. Buckle Road and the Zongo All-Stars on Sunday.

The Festival will also again feature popular events like the oyster-eating contest, as well as shopping at art and crafts booths, the kids cove, and a wide variety of food treats including famous Morro Bay barbecued albacore kabobs, local wine and beer.

Tickets can be purchased in advance at a discount on the Festival’s website for $10 per adult, $5 for children ages 6-12, free for children 5 and under. Tickets purchased at the gate during the Festival will cost an additional $2 per ticket.

Sponsors, food vendors, vendors of art and crafts, memorabilia and maritime-themed gifts can participate this year by contacting the Festival office at (805) 772-1155 or by email: info@mbhf.com.

Festival proceeds benefit more than 30 nonprofit organizations throughout San Luis Obispo County who contribute volunteers to crew the event.

For more information visit the Harbor Festival website: www.mbhf.com; Facebook: www.facebook.com/morrobayharborfestival; and
Twitter: @MBHarborFest.

Crowds Flock to 2nd Central Coast Oyster Festival

[slideshow_deploy id=’2461′]


Beneath a partly cloudy sky, the 2nd Central Coast Oyster Festival attracted thousands of out-of-towners to the Morro Bay Golf Course on Saturday, October 19, for an afternoon and early evening of food, drink and music starring, naturally, the charismatic Morro Bay oyster.

L.A. pop band Smallpools headlined the musical entertainment that also featured Vokab Kompany, Diego’s Umbrella, He’s My Brother She’s My Sister, Forrest Day and Tropo.

Food vendors drawing the longest lines included Tognazzini’s Dockside, led by hand-on owner Mark Tognazzini, who brought his Bonnie Marietta crew and open fires to bake, barbecue and smoke a seemingly endless supply of oysters on the spot. Other top participating area restaurants prominently boothed in the food court were Giancarlo’s, Hoppes, Schooners, Thomas Hill Organic, Full of Life Flatbread, Bella Vino, Dutchman’s Seafood House, Lido and Windows on the Water. Beer, wine and beverage providers included Tap-It Brewing, SLO Brew and various vineyards.

At the end of the day, many oysters gave their all in the good name of Morro Bay and many visitors paid $24 to $28 a ticket (not including parking, food and drink) to enjoy them in a relaxing, green setting by the bay, with plenty of treats to wile away the pleasantly cool fall afternoon.

Central Coast Oyster & Music Festival Returns to Morro Bay

The 2nd Central Coast Oyster & Music Festival will be held Saturday, October 19, at the Morro Bay Golf Course from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

This year’s music lineup includes Bay Area musician Forrest Day, new-pop-folkies He’s My Brother She’s My Sister, gypsy rockers Diego’s Umbrella, San Diego MC duo Vokab Kompany, electronica dance-rock machine TROPO and headliner, L.A. indie-pop band Smallpools.

Last year’s inaugural event, which featured pop-rock band Walk Off the Earth, was a huge success and drew more than 4,000 people, becoming one of the largest oyster festivals on the west coast. Festival organizers expect a substantial increase in attendance this year.

This year’s event will offer larger venue space, more oyster vendors and food experiences, free parking and shuttle from Morro Rock, and on-site parking. As with last year, a wealth of oyster dishes, top local wines and brews and day-long music entertainment anchor the event. Featuring oysters from the Morro Bay Oyster Company, chefs from across the Central Coast will vie for the “Best Oyster of the Central Coast” Chef Award for 2013. There will also be a shucking contest among the oyster competitions, dining events and other activities.

Advance tickets (up to Oct. 12) are $26. Week-of and at-the-door tickets are $28. Food and drink are purchased separately. Children up to 13 are $10. On-site parking is $25 per car with two or more people only.

For more information about the festival visit: www.CentralCoastOysterFestival.com.

The festival benefits OPTIONS Family of Services, a local nonprofit organization serving the disabled or persons with developmental disabilities and persons with a traumatic brain injury. For more information about OPTIONS and OPTIONS services visit: www.OPTIONSfs.org.

The Morro Bay Golf Course is located at 20 State Park Rd. in Morro Bay.

Queen Nation and Kenny Lee Lewis & The Barflyz to Rock Morro Bay Harbor Festival '12

[slideshow id=13 template=caption]

Morro Bay Harbor Festival

This year’s Morro Bay Harbor Festival isn’t simply on a mission with a goal to entertain audiences like never before – it’s out to surprise, delight and amaze them.

The 31st Morro Bay Harbor Festival, set for Saturday and Sunday, October 6 and 7, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. both days, offers a fresh burst of “new-to-the-Central Coast” entertainment, including Queen Nation, one of the most celebrated classic rock revival bands touring today, as well as top local and regional bands, and some highly original entertainment right on the street.

Says Steve Buffalo, Executive Director of the Harbor Festival: “We hope to offer something extra special to help bring back the regulars who love to attend as well as those who have never been to the Festival. That’s why we’re offering such a diverse lineup of entertainment.”

That diversity of entertainment goes beyond music and is designed to turn the harbor area into a street fair. New at this year’s festival are four street entertainers who will “surprise and delight visitors with never-before-seen performances on the Central Coast,” according to the press release. These entertainers are: Marionetta, a 12-foot creature with a full marionette puppet show in her skirts, who comes to life when you see her up close, where her stunning handmade puppets prove to be replicas of a unique stage show; Columbina, a witty clown who uses her brains and beauty as a tool of entertainment and delight; The Living Statues; and The Living Floral Tree, who surprises audiences when she comes to life.

“This year, Festival visitors should be prepared to be surprised and amazed by these strolling entertainers,” Mr. Buffalo alerts The ROCK. “As they make their way through the event, most people won’t believe their eyes. They’re that unique.”

This year’s Harbor Festival will offer two stages of live bands including the two headliner bands. Queen Nation – a band that has received rave reviews for capturing the look and sound of Freddie Mercury & Queen — will perform on the Embarcadero Stage at 2:30 p.m., Saturday, October 6. On Sunday, October 7, Kenny Lee Lewis, lead guitarist of the Steve Miller Band and his local band The Barflyz, will rock the Embarcadero Stage, also at 2:30 p.m.

Anchoring this year’s great Morro Bay waterfront dining experience is the popular Seafood and Wine Pavilion, offering a variety of top area wines and freshly prepared seafood. Also featured in the Pavilion is wine tasting from over 20 wineries, as well as beer tasting courtesy of micro-brewery “Rock-tober.” Other top taste stops include the local fisherman’s barbecue, the People’s Choice Clam Chowder Tasting Contest, and the “Down the Hatch” Oyster-Eating Contest. There are also a wide variety of art & crafts, shopping, and free interactive programs and activities for children.

Other local entertainers and live bands scheduled to perform on both stages include:

Embarcadero Stage (October 6)
10:30 a.m. – Pacific Dance
12:00 p.m. – Burning James & the Funky Flames
1:45 p.m. – Hawaiian Shirt Contest
2:30 p.m. – Queen Nation
4:00 p.m. – Zumba by Sally
4:30 p.m. – Triple Threat

Abalone Stage (October 6)
10:00 a.m. – Tim Jackson
12:00 p.m. – The Shival Experience
2:00 p.m. – The Red Skunk Jipzee Swing Band
4:00 p.m. – Trouble Hoof

Embarcadero Stage (October 7)
10:00 a.m. – Cuesta College Jazz Ensemble
12:00 p.m. – The Stratones
1:45 p.m. – “Down the Hatch” Oyster-Eating Contest
2:30 p.m. – The Barflyz
4:30 p.m. – The Versatones

Abalone Stage (October 7)
10:00 a.m. – Mud on the Tires
12:00 p.m. – The Jammies
2:00 p.m. – Jill Knight
4:00 p.m. – The Mighty Croon Dogs

Other highlights include: Discovering Science for Kids, Benet Serat Belly Dancing Troupe, the Incredible Sand Sculptures by the Sand Masters (as seen on the Travel Channel), among others.

For shoppers, there will be more than 100 different booths offering handmade crafts and maritime-themed gifts as well as original food treats from all over the Central Coast.

Each year, many festival volunteers generously donate their time on behalf of nonprofit groups they represent. Says Buffalo, “The cool part is that the hours they put in as a volunteer is calculated and added up.  Then, in return, from the profits we make at the event, we donate the value of those hours back to the nonprofits who have volunteers participating at the Festival.”

The Morro Bay Harbor Festival is sponsored by many local businesses including Morro Bay Furniture, Albertsons, Smart and Final, Casa De Flores, Morro Dunes, Morro Bay Power Plant, Tap It Brewing Company, Lagunitas Brewing Company, Embarcadero Inn, Rabobank, Sage Eco Landscapes, Estero Bay Graphics, Chevron, Coldwell Banker Liberty Realty, Morro Bay Tourism Bureau, the Cayucos Tavern, Giovanni’s Fish Market, and the San Luis Obispo Blues Society.

Media Sponsors of the Harbor Festival include KSBY-TV, New Times, The Cambrian, The Tribune, Bay News, SLO City News, Coast 101.3, KVEC, New Rock 107.3, Sunny Country 102.5 and 96.1, KPIG, 94.9 The Beach 95.3 and two Fresno radio stations, Classic Rock the Fox 95.7 and KJewel, 99.3.

Entrance tickets to the Morro Bay Harbor Festival are $10 adults, $5 for children ages 5-12, and children under 5 are free. Discount pre-sale admission tickets are available online at the Morro Bay Harbor Festival website: http://www.mbhf.com or starting September 24 can be purchased at Albertson’s in Morro Bay.

For more details about the 31st Annual Morro Bay Harbor Festival contact the Morro Bay Harbor Festival Office at (805) 772-1155 or by email at info@mbhf.com. Or contact Anna Scott at ScottMediaPartners@gmail.com or by phone at (805) 710-0713.

Walk Off the Earth Conquers Morro Bay

[slideshow id=7 template=caption]

When Walk Off the Earth, perhaps the hottest rock band on the earth at this moment, walked onto the 14th hole of the Morro Bay Golf Course, the site of the First Annual Central Coast Oyster Festival, early Saturday evening, June 16, you’d think Tiger Woods had just scored a hole in one there.

That’s how it must have sounded around the rest of the golf course when the roar went up from the 14th.

In a major coup for Morro Bay and benefiting local non-profit OPTIONS Family of Services, producers of the event, the in-demand Canadian band sent an estimated crowd of 2,500 into a frenzy when they launched into their international YouTube smash cover of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know.” True to their mind-blowing video, the five-piece band played “Somebody” on just one guitar – all at the same time. It was exactly what the crowd had come to see and they expressed their joy by singing and dancing along to the song the whole world has been singing. It was amazing how many people at the Oyster Festival, including adults, knew the lyrics and sang along.

Surprisingly for those who initially tuned into their videos, the band’s all-time, brilliant adaption of “Somebody” appears to be a freak of rock nature, a gem for sure, yet not typical of the group’s usual sound, style or presence. While “Somebody” and their videos captured their internet appeal, Walk Off the Earth is, at this point, more a live band than a recording band – to the delight of arm-waving, camera-crazed festival-goers that mobbed the stage throughout the performance. Met with a wave of affirmation reserved for instant classic hitmakers, the band’s youthful, high-energy appeal was undeniably contagious as they blended upbeat, catchy reggae, rap and rock, always with great harmonies and pop flair.

Though well known for their cover songs, outside of  performing “Somebody” and Adele’s “Someone Like You,” it was their uptempo, still-raw original songs that swept the crowd, led by “Magic,” “Corner of Queen” “Money Tree,” “Julia” and “These Times.” Also featured were new songs, destined hopefully for their upcoming Columbia Records debut, including Festival-festive “Summer Vibe,” “Revolution’s In My Head” and “That Gun Is Loaded.” The new songs are strong indicators that their original songwriting is gelling at the right time for long-term mainstream success beyond “Somebody.” All the pieces are in place to last. Behind the heartfelt, high-flying act (act or not), they are an impressively tight rhythm machine; band members play multiple instruments, rotate lead vocals, and bring fresh perspectives to a rock party that’s obviously just begun to roll around the world.

Loose and fearless on stage, Walk Off the Earth, anchored by singer/guitarists Gianni Luminata, Sarah Blackwood and Ryan Marshall, has rightfully earned a priceless reputation as an immensely versatile people’s band with the beat of the street in their back pocket, a band armed and ready for the future, on camera and off, online and in your face.

Morro Bay was lucky to be a small breakout point in the pop music universe for one night. The success of this first-time event is a clear signal to producers to start planning now for the Second Annual Central Coast Oyster Festival. If they can come up with next year’s Walk Off the Earth – or, even better, this year’s Walk Off the Earth again next year (wouldn’t that be something?) – more and more entertainers will discover outdoors in the fresh summer air of Morro Bay by the sea is the perfect stage.

In the meantime, the roar of Walk Off the Earth’s success will echo ’round Morro Bay Golf Course for some time to come. Also appearing on the festival stage were excellent local rockers, the Neon Russell Band, local electronic dance group TROPO, and Bay Area progressive bluegrass band Hot Buttered Rum.

— Ed Ochs

Eric Andersen Sparkles Like a Diamond in the Dark at Coalesce

Eric Andersen

Legendary singer/songwriter Eric Andersen made a rare West Coast appearance at Morro Bay’s Coalesce Bookstore on April 20, presenting a sold-out audience with a shimmering vision of the Sixties up to his still-active present, through his elegantly crafted, poetic songs and colorful, ringing guitar work.

In the intimacy of Coalesce’s Garden Chapel, Andersen, dressed in black and wearing a black fedora, played many of the classics that gained him a reputation as an insider favorite in folk/literary circles for his poetry, romanticism, and dramatic guitar and harmonica lines that endeared him to the softer side of the Sixties’ rock revolution.

Evoking a fast-fading era of emulating the French passion poets, of Jack Kerouac, Ferlinghetti and the North Beach “beat” poets, Greenwich Village folkies and enduring Woodstock music scene, Andersen held the artistic high ground with just guitar, harmonica, sometimes keyboard, and songs as captivating as the best modern literature.

Heart-bending love songs, tear-welling soul songs and history-echoing protest songs tumbled from the musical palate of a master scene painter/storyteller. A cascade of Andersen classics — “Violets of Dawn,” “Foghorn,” “Waves of Freedom,” “Close the Door Lightly,” “Is It Really Love at All,” “Florentine,” “Goin’ Gone,” “Rollin’ Home,” “Before Everything Changed,” “Time Run Like a Freight Train,” “Rain Falls Down on Amsterdam” and many more – flooded the room with a depth and style one would have to send out a search party to find in contemporary music today. Equally compelling were his versions of David Whiffen’s “More Often Than Not” and Townes Van Zandt’s “Night Train.” Outstanding were tributes to old friends — “Pearl’s Goodtime Blues,” perhaps the best-ever song salute to Janis Joplin, and “The Busker,” which rekindles his ongoing friendship with genius street-singer/songwriter/producer Joe Flood. No matter how many times he’d sang them before, it even made Andersen smile a little to once more bring back old pals in a song.

Yes, gone are his Dionysian good looks, long since replaced by a rugged durability, but the glint in the eye and gap in his front teeth are still there; his presence as solid and sturdy as his legs, his timekeeping impeccable, and guitar work crisp, precise and resonant. Standing there like a rock playing song after song was truly an impressive display of a true artist, pushing 70, fighting Father Time, still producing and going strong. Only his voice showed the strain of time and the road, but the music and the message were still hauntingly clear. Among the echelon singer/songwriters to emerge from the Sixties, Andersen may be one of the very few of his treasured ilk still touring and plying his trade with an eye toward tomorrow.

Andersen continues to keep the flame burning on a candle he fears is flickering dangerously low, he told The ROCK. As a tribute to his late friend Levon Helm of The Band, who had passed away the day before the show, a subdued Andersen closed the evening with an aching, Helm-like reading of his stirring gem, “Blue River.”

Watching the artistry of Eric Andersen unfold up close at Coalesce was a privilege and a memory reminiscent of experiencing a great artist performing in a small club in Greenwich Village with a handful of people in the room, though this small room was full, and rightfully so. It was hard not to appreciate the polished talent and skill of this amazing performer.

Andersen, now living in Amsterdam, had never been to Morro Bay before. “Can you swim in the water?” he asked, pointing toward the ocean. “In a rubber suit you can,” answered someone from the audience.

—Ed Ochs

For upcoming concerts and events at Coalesce visit the bookstore on Facebook, or visit the San Luis Obispo Folk Society at http://www.slofolks.org.

“The First Annual Central Coast Oyster Festival Benefiting OPTIONS Family of Services” – A Pearl of an Idea

“The First Annual Central Coast Oyster Festival Benefiting OPTIONS Family of Services,” which splashes down in style Saturday, June 16, at picturesque Morro Bay Golf Course, promises to be one of the most unique and exciting events taking place in Morro Bay this year.

The Festival will offer no shortage of the spectacular and near-spectacular – dazzling oyster dishes, premier wines and brews, an ultimate cook-off for “Best Oyster of the Central Coast” Chef Award, a tense oyster-shucking contest, an “Aphrodisiac Lounge” of exotic local taste delights designed by LA-based organic structure innovators The Do LaB, and a performance by Canadian buzz band Walk Off the Earth, headlining a a strong lineup of up-and-coming bands and day-long music.

The Central Coast Oyster Festival is not only an early-summer celebration of local oysters; this new event benefits Morro Bay-based OPTIONS Family of Services, one of the largest a non-profit organizations in San Luis Obispo County dedicated to helping people with disabilities achieve their goals, dreams and rightful place as full citizens of their communities.

Mike Mamot, CEO of Options Family of Services, believes the Oyster Festival will provide a boost to the local economy. “First of all, it will increase tourism which is the number one industry in Morro Bay. The oyster beds have been in Morro Bay for many years and the community has been known for the excellent seafood ever since commercial fishing was established here. So, we hope to celebrate those qualities of our community, as well as supporting OPTIONS which has been headquartered in Morro Bay since 1986.“

Mr. Mamot expects tourists from across the County and from all over California to attend the Festival: “We hope to not only draw people from around the county, but also attract tourists from throughout California. … We are anticipating thousands of visitors for the first year of our event.”

The idea for the Festival sprang from Jacqueline Delaney, Marketing and Sales Director for OPTIONS Family of Services.

“We were looking to create two-three unique annual ongoing fundraisers to make up for the budget cuts our program could be facing,” Ms. Delaney says. “In researching successful events and ideas that would support our local community the beautiful Morro Bay Oyster Farm stood out to me as a perfect opportunity to highlight what is within our own backyard.

“We have not had any events that highlighted oysters, yet other cities such as Arcata, San Francisco and San Diego hold extremely successful Oyster Festivals, therefore this seemed to be a perfect fit for OPTIONS and the Central Coast Community.”

Ms. Delaney located the event at the Golf Course, and shuttles will help keep traffic flowing and spread festivities throughout the business community that weekend. The Golf Course offers a pristine stage by the bay.

“The Morro Bay Oyster Company Farm is located in the bay right across from the Morro Bay Golf Course,” she says. “The intention was to provide a beautiful setting along with a space that made sense for this type of festival. This was not only the closest space to the farm, but has unbelievable beauty any which direction you are looking. Also the intention was to not interfere with the local community businesses but to help increase business and exposure for the weekend. We have selected to shuttle the patrons in from various areas in Morro Bay in hopes they will support local restaurants and retailers before and after the event.”

Once the event is over, the Golf Course will be restored to tee-off conditions, says Ms. Delaney. “We have also partnered with Eco Rotary and Morro Bay Guerrilla Gardening Club to make this a zero waste event. We will recycle, compost and leave the grounds as we found them.”

Ms. Delaney says the accent of the Festival is heavily on the best of the Central Coast, and the plan to grow the Festival long-term. “All participants and suppliers will be from our local Central Coast Community. Local wineries and local brewery Tap It Brewing will provide us with an exclusive Oyster Brew available only at the Central Coast Oyster Festival.

“Our intention is to draw people from all over the country to showcase all the Central Coast has to offer, provide local businesses with an opportunity to participate and benefit from this exciting event and continue to build on this year after year… We also believe this event will put Morro Bay on the map for holding an event that stands out as unique, classic and beautiful with structures, ambiance and fun.”

With the cost of medical care rising sharply for both provider and client-patients, the dollars raised by this event will help bridge the widening financial gap and provide essential services so people can live more “inclusive” lives, according to Mr. Mamot.

“The past few years have been a struggle for all businesses,” he says. “In the case of OPTIONS, 90% of our funding comes from state or federal sources. Not only have we not had any increases in funding, our rates have actually been reduced by nearly 5%. With other costs rising, we need to turn to fundraising to offset these rising operational expenses and lowering of reimbursement. The Oyster Festival is a fun opportunity to raise such badly need funds. We would like to raise about $50,000. However such goals are hard to achieve, especially in the first year of such an event. Nonetheless, we are optimistic we will have an excellent turn out.

“The funds we raise will help us with expenses associated with the services we provide,” Mr. Mamot adds. “A lot of times we provide services that are above and beyond what we are funded for, such as transporting persons to medical appointments or to family members during holidays. At the Oyster Festival, we will have a wishing wall where people can make donations specific to things that each service area needs. This may include such things as new kitchen supplies at a site or a special outing to some place like Disneyland for one of the groups.”

Unless a family member is directly involved, most people don’t experience the impact of a developmental disability, how important self-sufficiency is for the disabled, and how expensive customized care can be on an individual’s day-to-day path toward independence.

“Generally speaking,” says Mr. Mamot, “somewhere between 8% to 10% of the population has a disability of one sort or another. At OPTIONS, we serve about 200 persons daily with developmental disabilities or a traumatic brain injury. Our mission statement is ‘full inclusion,’ meaning that our goal is for each person to be self-sufficient and fully included in the community of his/her choice.

“A few years ago a study was done on OPTIONS on the return of the investment on the services which we provide. It found that there was a 167% return to the community for every dollar spent on the services we provide. We are extremely cost effective for the services we provide. We are accredited by CARF and have had perfect surveys — without a single recommendation — five out of our last six surveys spanning the past 18 years.”

OPTIONS is dealing with difficult times: a shortfall of funds for general pay increases for staff; an era of persistent erosion of employee health benefits; and deferred site maintenance. Limited resources are focused on the vital programs and services OPTIONS provides. So the Festival will be a celebration with a definite purpose – to help ease the financial burden and maintain a high level of services.

“At OPTIONS, we seek to provide quality care for each and every person we serve. That has been extremely challenging these past few years,” Mr. Mamot says. “The Oyster Festival is an opportunity for us to raise badly needed funds, while at the same time bring an event to the Central Coast and Morro Bay that we can all be proud of.  It is our hope that everyone will benefit from this event and I am sure it will be a lot of fun.”


The First Annual Central Coast Oyster Festival – An Epicurean Cultural Event


The world is your oyster — and you get to eat it any number of ways — at the “The First Annual Central Coast Oyster Festival Benefiting OPTIONS Family of Services” on June 16 in Morro Bay.

Attendees will find the great food, wine and entertainment they came for, and will take home a little something extra: they can say they were part of a coastal happening.

“There are so many great wine, food, and entertainment events on the Central Coast that we’ve really concentrated on creating an experience unlike any other,” says Jacqueline Delaney, Director of Marketing for OPTIONS Family of Services.

That one-of-a-kind experience begins with oysters, lots of them. Within view of the Morro Bay Oyster Farm and Morro Rock, the Festival will feature oysters from the Morro Bay Oyster Company, widely recognized as one of the greatest suppliers on the West Coast. Dozens of chefs from across the Central Coast will go head-to-head for the “Best Oyster of the Central Coast” Chef Award, and the audience will taste the results.

Oysters won’t be the only delectable to delve into at the event. For gourmet exotica, the “Aphrodisiac Lounge,” a stunning “modern-chic” pagoda designed by The Do LaB group based in LA, will house a raw oyster bar, sparkling and still wines, cocktails, cheeses and chocolates. Local craft brewery Tap It Brewing Company is releasing a Festival-exclusive micro “oyster brew” designed to complement the oysters in the Lounge and commemorate the event.

The Do LaB is world-renowned for its reality-bending interactive environments, event production and creative lighting design. Prominently showcased at such high-profile gatherings as the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Annual Festival and Burning Man, The Do LaB takes an organic approach to everything they design and create, using natural materials, found objects and sustainable resources. The “Aphrodisiac Lounge” is the special focus of their whimsical creative energies at the Festival.

Capping festivities will be the much-anticipated performance by dynamic Canadian indie band Walk Off the Earth, along with performances by TROPO and the Neon Russell Band, among others musical guests.

For an out-of-shell experience, the Festival also features a shucking competition, and local shuckers are invited to demonstrate their speed and skill to a live audience for prizes and the respect of the Central Coast community. Participants can sign up the day of the festival by 2 p.m. for the 4 p.m. contest.

In addition to the Morro Bay Oyster Company, the First Annual Central Coast Oyster Festival is sponsored by the Morro Bay Golf Course, the City of Morro Bay, Tap It Brewing, Element Solar, KRUSH Radio, New Times, the Cities of Los Osos/Baywood Park, Cayucos Abalone Farm, and ECO Rotary for a Zero Waste Event.

The First Annual Central Coast Oyster Festival is scheduled for June 16 from 12 to 8 p.m at the Morro Bay Golf Course. Tickets for this full-day event are $20 and are available at www.CentralCoastOysterFestival.org. For tickets or more information, visit www.CentralCoastOysterFestival.orgContact: Jacqueline Delaney via email at: Jdelaney@OPTIONSfs.org or phone at (805) 459-0701.


UPDATE: Walk Off the Earth Headlines First Annual Central Coast Oyster Festival Benefiting OPTIONS Family of Services in June


Eclectic folk/rock/YouTube sensation Walk Off the Earth will headline the music entertainment lineup for the First Annual Central Coast Oyster Festival to be held Saturday, June 16, at the Morro Bay Golf Course from 12 p.m to 8 p.m.

Walk Off The Earth’s stunning covers of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” and Adele’s “Someone Like You” went viral on YouTube earlier this year, and their video cover of Nirvana’s “Polly” is generating more buzz for the Ontario-based band recently signed to Columbia Records.

Other bands performing at the event include:

Hot Buttered Rum – The Bay Area progressive bluegrass band has performed at such exclusive festivals as the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Newport Folk Festival and South by Southwest.

TROPO – The local high-energy electronic dance-music group features a unique blend of violin, percussion, spectral pads and bass that produces a compelling urban-tribal vibe.  Their atmospheric sound regularly draws a crowd of hoopers and fire dancers that will also perform at this event, complemented by art installations from annual Burning Man hooping posse, Spin Cycle.

The Neon Russell Band – The local group will perform its own special brand of “redneck blues” and obscure covers.

Says Jacqueline Delaney, Director of Marketing and Sales for OPTIONS Family of Services, about selecting Walk Off the Earth for the Festival: “In watching the up and coming artists, Walk Off the Earth is a band out of Canada receiving tons of media exposure on you tube and social sites — I believe over 100 million hits at this point. We wanted a lineup that crosses many demographics so there is a little for everyone, but also something unique and different to draw more people to our event. Walk Off the Earth provides great energy along with international exposure on a large scale to draw the attention we are looking for.”

Tickets for this full-day event are $20 and are available at http://www.CentralCoastOysterFestival.org.

This new event will benefit OPTIONS Family of Services, a nonprofit organization serving the disabled or persons with developmental disabilities and persons with a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

The first annual Central Coast Oyster Festival is sponsored by the Morro Bay Oyster Company, the Morro Bay Golf Course, the City of Morro Bay, Tap It Brewing, Element Solar, KRUSH Radio, New Times, The Cities of Los Osos/Baywood Park, Cayucos Abalone Farm, Guerrilla Gardening Club, and ECO Rotary for a Zero Waste Event.

For more information, visit http://www.CentralCoastOysterFestival.org or contact: Jacqueline Delaney at: jdelaney@optionsfs.org or (805) 459-0701.

–Ed Ochs


Remembering James "Red" Holloway (1927-2012)

Red Holloway playing the classic Charlie Parker tune, “Now’s the Time” (June 7, 1995)


Play it out, Red.

Red Holloway, a soulful master of the tenor and alto saxophone and a Los Angeles jazz legend, died Saturday in Morro Bay from kidney failure. He was 84.

Holloway, whose career spanned for seven decades, was influential in several music genres: bebop, jazz, blues, doo-wop, and classical music. Every song he graced with his saxophone was turned into a silky smooth experience that listeners all over the country couldn’t help but fall in love with over and over again. Holloway’s fans were hooked by his unparalleled sense of rhythm, the strength of his notes, and the soul of his music.

On May 31, 1927, James Wesley Holloway was born in Helena, Arkansas. He was raised by his single mother, who was only 13. He grew up without a father, but Holloway later met him when he was 20. His mother, who was a pianist, originally taught him piano — but his true love with the sax. At 12, he got his first tenor sax and never looked back. At 16, Holloway started performing professionally with bassist Eugene Wright’s Dukes of Swing.

When he was serving in the Army, at 19, he was the bandmaster for the Fifth Army Band. After World War II ended, Holloway returned to Chicago where he played with musical greats like John Mayall, Yusuf Lateef, Dexter Gordon and Willie Dixon.  He later played with legends like B.B. King, Billie Holliday, Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Chuck Berry and many more.

Holloway moved to Cambria in the mid-1960s, and once ran for mayor in 2004. For more than 20 years, Holloway was a prominent fixture in Cambria’s Famous Jazz Artist Series.

Holloway is survived by sons Michael and John (his third son, James “Binkey” Holloway, died in 1995); daughters Lianne Holloway, Marsha Aregullin and Denice Holloway-Rivers. He is also survived by six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.