Where can you enjoy lively fiddle music, stunning views of Morro Bay and the surrounding area, and fresh-baked cookies delivered by boat?
Try the 12th annual Boatzart concert on Sunday in Baywood Park. The free concert on the Baywood Park Pier, located next to the Back Bay Café, will coincide with the afternoon-long Bayfest concert at the adjacent Back Bay Inn.
As in past years, Boatzart is presented by the Baywood Navy, an informal group of sailors who explore Morro Bay and the Estero Bay area in kayaks, canoes, sailboats, rowboats and other vessels. (Their tongue-in-cheek motto? “We don’t sail in water deeper than we can stand in!”)
According to organizer Stanley Stern, Boatzart has its roots in the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival, now known as Festival Mozaic.
Never miss a local story.
After Mozart Festival organizers stopped holding concerts at the pier, Stern and his group took over – offering a free performance by local musicians.
“People loved it,” recalled Stern, a retired teacher who moved from Los Angeles to Los Osos in 1999. “The next year, we did it again, and people liked it even more.”
Boatzart is traditionally held at high tide in order to allow concertgoers to safely launch watercraft — including the aforementioned Cookie Boat — in the bay. The concert usually draws 50 to 60 boats, Stern said, plus plenty of onshore spectators.
This year’s lineup features the Three Fiddlers — violinists Mario Ojeda, Paul Severtson and Amy Sze — backed by Elita Chaffin on bass and Stern on piano.
The program features a mix of classical, Americana, Celtic and ragtime tunes, as well as Latin American and gypsy-flavored selections. Familiar titles range from “Danny Boy” to “Turkey in the Straw” to “The Entertainer” and “Maple Leaf Rag.”
“This program’s going to be a real potpourri of fiddle styles,” Severtson said, and that’s fine with him. “I’ve always felt that learning different musical (disciplines) enriches your approach to music.”
Although Severtson has attended Boatzart concerts in the past, he’s making his debut as a Boatzart performer this year.
“(The setting is) very relaxed, kind of loose — not a formal concert by any means,” said the San Luis Obispo Symphony co-concertmaster, who retired in June as development director at public radio station KCBX-FM.
Joining Severtson on stage will be his student, Cal Poly Symphony concertmaster Mario Ojeda, and 14-year-old Amy Sze, who’s a member of the San Luis Obispo Youth Symphony. (Ojeda also performs regularly with Opera San Luis Obispo, Symphony of the Vines and the Santa Maria Philharmonic Orchestra.)
“It’s kind of a teaching situation for them,” Severtson said of the younger musicians.
According to Stern, this year’s Boatzart will be held in honor of his late friend and fellow musician Richard Webb, owner of Los Osos’s 3rd Street Bakery.
As in 2014, this year’s Boatzart concert will be immediately followed by Bayfest, one of two annual music festivals held in the event garden at Back Bay Inn.
Junefest typically occurs the week after Memorial Day, organizer Paul Irving said, while Bayfest is held closer to Labor Day weekend. Both are free and open to the public.
“We get 800 to 1,000 people dancing back there” while enjoying beer, wine and barbecue, Irving said. “It’s a really, really fun thing.”
In addition to Afro-Caribbean dance band Zongo All-Stars, which is headlining Bayfest this year, the concert will feature performances by Brazilian-style guitarist Jon Stephen, Americana bluegrass band Cuesta Ridge and the quartet CC Riders, featuring Kenny Blackwell, Kenny Hustead, Dorian Michael and Louie Ortega.
Irving, who plays trumpet in Zongo All-Stars, also organizes the free, weekly Beer at the Pier concert series, 5 to 7 p.m. Mondays at Baywood Park Pier. (Back Bay Betty plays Monday, followed by Green to White on Sept. 7.)
“We wanted to provide a really nice event for the community,” the insurance agent and concert promoter said.
Noon to 1 p.m. Sunday
Baywood Park Pier, Second Street, Los Osos
528-6557 or email@example.com