Wednesday, Jun 20 2012 06:11 PM

Blues Society welcomes fans to Sunday festival and barbecue

BY SUSAN SCAFFIDI Contributing writer

Far better than playing air guitar, or woodshedding on your own, is an honest-to-goodness jam session, especially if you're playing the blues. Advertising a "Ain't no cure for the summertime blues" theme, the Kern River Blues Society is inviting blues fans, and their families, to join them for the first-ever Summertime Blues and BBQ session Sunday at Beach Park.

"The members that have children and grandchildren that can't go to Trout's --that's the motivation for this," said the blues society's founder, Beth Selzam.

Related Info

Summertime Blues Festival and BBQ

When: 3 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday

Where: Beach Park, 3400 21st St.

Admission: Free; dinner $10; food, beverages allowed

The blues society meets twice a month at Rockwell's Trout's on North Chester Avenue; minors are excluded from the bar. Selzam said the outdoor jam session is not only family-friendly, but welcoming non-member blues fans and anyone interested in joining a group for a few tunes.

"Sign-ups are available and will be coordinated by a 'jam master,'" Selzam said.

Selzam said each group will be limited to four songs to make sure everyone gets a chance to play.

The new event is a further sign of the popularity of blues music in Kern County and the success of the Kern River Blues Society. Started in November of 2009, Selzam was the first member as well as founder, after voicing her intention of starting the group while serving on the board of the annual CSUB Blues Festival.

"I told the board members it's been brewing in my mind for some time," Selzam said. "They gave me their enthusiastic support."

Selzam said that tiny beginning has now grown into 230 paying members, with a core group of 40 to 50 people who meet twice a month at Trout's. Selzam said the group has also added a monthly meeting at the Kernville Saloon in Kernville, after the enthusiasm generated by the Kern River Rock and Blues Festival.

"There was a lot of support for a 'satellite' meeting," Selzam said.

"They have very competent players up there -- we're just getting them coordinated," Selzam said.

The outdoor jam session is the latest addition to the growing list of blues music events, pioneered by such individuals as Pat Evans of World Records and his "No Stinkin' Cover Charge" blues concerts; the CSUB Blues Festival, also produced by Evans; and the more recent Kern River Rock and Blues Festival. Selzam said organizations like hers don't just provide entertainment for the audience; they provide opportunities for musicians.

"Some bands have formed as a result of meeting in the society," Selzam said.

The jam session is free. The public is invited to bring seating and food. Dinner cooked by Fat Boyz BBQ is available for $10.

Selzam said the society will be providing a sound system and microphones, plus a drum kit. Other instrumentalists should bring their "axes" and amplifiers, if needed.

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