Music News & Reviews

8 fun Memorial Day weekend events in SLO County and Santa Maria

A fire-wielding juggler entertains the crowd at the Arroyo Grande Strawberry Festival in 2015.
A fire-wielding juggler entertains the crowd at the Arroyo Grande Strawberry Festival in 2015.

Whether you’re into blues, brews or berries, you’re bound to find something to your liking this Memorial Day weekend.

It’s packed with events aimed at everyone from art lovers to auto aficionados to classical music fans.

Here are eight ways to make your Memorial Day weekend truly memorable.

Arroyo Grande Strawberry Festival

9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday

Various locations, downtown Arroyo Grande

Free, $30 to $35 race registration

805-473-2250 or

Here’s a sweet way to celebrate Memorial Day weekend: a family-friendly festival dedicated to delicious berries.

In addition to strawberry treats, the Arroyo Grande Strawberry Festival — a fundraiser for the Arroyo Grande Village Improvement Association — serves up food, games, carnival rides and arts and crafts booths, plus the Strawberry Stampede run/walk and the Strawberry Blonde contest.

The packed entertainment lineup includes the Blue Moonshine Bluegrass Band, rock duo Ghost\Monster featuring Nataly Lola, roots musician Dulcie Taylor, folk guitarist Dorian Michael and jazz band Rag Bone Saints.

Avila Beach Blues Festival

2 p.m. Sunday

Avila Beach Golf Resort, 6464 Ana Bay Road, Avila Beach

$55 to $110

805-924-1142 or

You’d be “Stone Crazy” to miss this outdoor blues bonanza headlined by legendary guitarist Buddy Guy.

The Avila Beach Blues Festival marks its 23rd year with performances by blues singer-songwriter Carolyn Wonderland, trombonist/trumpeter Trombone Shorty and his band, Orleans Avenue, and Guy, a six-time Grammy Award winner whose hits include “Mustang Sally” and “Damn Right I’ve Got the Blues.”

California Festival of Beers

5:30 to 8 p.m. Friday and 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday

Madonna Inn, 100 Madonna Road, San Luis Obispo

$35 to $150

805-544-2266 or

Thirsty for a good time? Drink in the fun at the 30th annual California Festival of Beers, a fundraiser for Hospice of San Luis Obispo County.

BeerFest kicks off Friday with “Arts and Drafts” Connoisseur Tasting at the Alex Madonna Expo Center, featuring beer, food and music by Latin rocker Louie Ortega featuring Talia Ortega.

At Saturday’s Grand Tasting event at the Madonna Meadows, groove to performances by roots rock group Chase Walker Band and classic rock cover band Generation Gap while sampling craft beers by local breweries and nationally recognized brands.

“Craig Russell — A Musical Tribute!”

2 p.m. Monday

Cohan Center, Cal Poly

$12 to $14, $9 to $12 students

805-756-4849 or

Cal Poly professor Craig Russell is the focus of this celebratory concert featuring music by Mexican Baroque composers.

Soloist Kathryn Summersett and the Cal Poly Early Music Ensemble will perform pieces by Antonio de Salazar and Manuel de Sumaya that Russell reconstructed using original manuscripts from Mexico City’s Puebla Cathedral. They range from soothing sacred motets to energetic folk songs.

This concert is the perfect way to salute a man who’s been part of the local music scene for 34 years.

“Eventyr: Circus of Fairy Tales”

7 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Clark Center for the Performing Arts, 487 Fair Oaks Ave., Arroyo Grande

$20, $15 for seniors, students and children

805-489-9444 or

San Luis Obispo’s Suspended Motion Aerial Arts takes to the air for a Cirque de Soleil-style show. Aerialists twist, tumble and soar while suspended on silks 25 feet above the stage.

Suspended Arts’ fifth annual aerial ballet features family-friendly fairy tales including “Cinderella,” “Hansel and Gretel,” “Little Red Riding Hood” and “Rapunzel.” High-flying nods to “Peter Pan,” “Pinocchio” and “Alice in Wonderland” are also in store.

Morro Bay Art in the Park

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday

City Park, Harbor Street and Morro Bay Boulevard, Morro Bay


805-434-3306 or

More than 120 artists and craftspeople from across California will display their wares at the Morro Bay Art Association’s 61st annual arts extravaganza. It’s the nonprofit organization’s main fundraiser.

From ceramics to sculpture, jewelry to glass, watercolors to wind chimes, there are items to suit every taste and every budget. In addition, there are strolling musicians and gourmet food booths to keep you entertained and well-fed while you shop.

Paso Artsfest

6 to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday

Studios on the Park, 1130 Pine St., Paso Robles; Downtown City Park, Paso Robles

$50 party, free festival

888-988-7276 or

Studios on the Park in Paso Robles is celebrating Memorial Day in artful fashion.

Now in its eighth year, Paso ArtsFest kicks off Friday with a “Come as You Art” costume party and continues Saturday with the free Festival in the Park. More than 90 artists will participate in the Signature Exhibition, a Local Stars Quick Draw competition and the Outdoor Fine Art Show and Sale.

Other attractions include sand sculpting, steamroller printing and music by power-folk duo Bear Market Riot, soulful California folk group Próxima Parada and gypsy jazz band The Tipsy Gypsies.

West Coast Kustoms Cruisin’ Nationals

7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday

Santa Maria Fairpark, 937 S. Thornburg St., Santa Maria

$15, $10 seniors, $5 for military members

951-488-0413 or

The Cruisin’ Nationals car show celebrates 35 years of chrome-kissed custom style this weekend in Santa Maria. The fun kicks off Friday with the City Cruise, followed by a model car show on Saturday and an automotive swap meet on Sunday.

Also in store are auto-related vendors, live music and an auction benefiting Alzheimer’s research.

About 800 vehicles will be on display at Cruisin’ Nationals, which is open to American-made automobiles manufactured before 1961. Check out the Batmobile designed by George Barris for the 1960s “Batman” television series.