Jazz & Blues Festival Recap: A Huge Success, Attended by an Estimated 3000

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The 3rd Annual Latin Jazz & Blues Festival Attended by an Estimated 3000
The 3rd Annual Latin Jazz & Blues Festival is in the books and was a huge success this past Saturday, May 24th.  We're reporting upwards of 3000 people came through throughout the day.  Many thanks to all our partners and sponsors for helping make it a great event. 


An addition attendees can expect next year - a dance floor!  There was a lot of dancing because of all the great music.  And with that came a bit of dust.  Said Liz Gonzalez, "While I was dancing, I kept laughing to myself that we dancers were literally kicking up dust."

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A little dust, though, was a small price to pay for such a great event. 
"Boxcar 7 and Poncho were amazing!  Great event!" said attendee Dave Lang.  Boxcar 7 is a popular area blues band known for putting a little emotion into it, to put it mildly - as seen here.   


The members of Boxcar 7 also had a great time this year.  Said one of the members of Boxcar 7, "The level of the event with (more experienced engineers) doing the sound went up quite a bit. Good sound engineers are as important as good bands. It's a great event it gets better every year and it's fun to be part of it."


Here's Councilmember Neal, his wife, Katonja, and Councilmember-elect Rex Richardson with the lead singer from Boxcar 7.


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The headliner for the night was Grammy-award-winner Poncho Sanchez, who said how great it was to play Houghton Park again.  He'd played in Houghton Park as a much younger man, and said onstage, "This is home."
In this article from the OC Register, Mr. Sanchez described this further. "“I was kind of surprised to see Long Beach (on the schedule),” Sanchez said. “We used to do a little more stuff (locally). I used to work for the city with the municipal band and we used to play all the parks. It was cool. I played at (Houghton) many years ago.”


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In the OC Register article, Sanchez went on to say how it's important to do events like this, noting that there's something special about the free community events.

“I think it’s a good thing. We’re doing something for the people who maybe don’t go out to the clubs or the big festivals,” he said. “There’s something here you can bring the family to and hear some good quality music. We go down a little on our price. It’s good to play for the home folks.”
Events like these require a lot of hard work from a lot of people.  A special shout out goes to our Parks & Rec department.  Seen here are Houghton Park Director Sonny Seng and Park Administrator Veronica Ortega. 


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So yes, it was a lot of fun.  If you couldn't make it this year, then keep an eye out for next year.  No date is set yet, but it's too good a time not to.  Said attendee Lamont Larkin, "North Long Beach will be the place to be each year. This is just going to get bigger." 

Here's a few more pics for your enjoyment. 


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We'll close out with one more shot of Poncho Sanchez waving good bye through a dancing-induced plume of dust.  See you here next year!


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