Here's some great news for folks interested in attending the Avila Beach Blues Festival.
This year's festival, which will feature performances by Shemekia Copeland and The Fabulous Thunderbirds featuring Kim Wilson, is now free.
"It’s our way of saying THANK YOU for 25 years of support for this festival," May 27 at the Avila Beach Golf Resort, concert promoter Bruce Howard of Otter Productions Inc. wrote in an email.
Concertgoers who already purchased tickets for the popular blues festival will get full refunds, Howard said.
The announcement comes nearly two weeks after the festival's original headliner, Huey Lewis and the News, dropped out of the lineup. That move was motivated by Lewis' recent hearing loss.
"The doctors believe I have Meniere's disease and have agreed I can't perform until I improve," Lewis explained in a tweet April 13. "Therefore the only prudent thing to do is cancel all future shows."
"We are all praying that Huey Lewis will recover and return to the beach at Avila sometime in the near future," Howard said.
In 30 years in the concert business, Howard said he's only had three headliners cancel due to illness, including Lewis. Johnny Cash died shortly after his scheduled sold-out show at the Performing Arts Center in San Luis Obispo, while Willie Nelson did a makeup show at the soon-to-be-reopened Pozo Saloon.
As for a free Avila Beach Blues Festival? "This is a first," Howard said.
General admission to the all-ages event, which will feature a set by San Luis Obispo County's own Guy Budd Band, will be available on site on a first-come, first-served basis. Concertgoers can also upgrade to VIP Beach Club Balcony tickets, available at the venue for $45 apiece.
For more information about the Avila Beach Blues Festival, visit otterproductionsinc.com.