Brea Downtown Jazz Festival in full swing

In Arts & Entertainment, Music
Abraham Jauregui/ Daily Titan
Abraham Jauregui/ Daily Titan

Just a short drive north of Cal State Fullerton, located on Birch Street, is a festival with live music and people dancing in the streets.

The City of Brea is holding its 11th Annual Brea Downtown Jazz Festival every weekend in September.

The free event is open Saturdays beginning at 4 p.m. and Sundays beginning at noon.

A different headline jazz and/or blues band will be performing each day.

“The entire community is involved and it just keeps growing bigger and bigger every year,” said Garry Hobday, host of the Brea Jazz Festival.

Hobday, who has hosted the event since its inception 11 years ago, said the crowds can range anywhere from 3,000 to 6,000 people.

“The Brea Jazz Festival has become a central event in Brea and in bringing surrounding communities together,” said Karalee Watson, Director of the Brea Downtown Owners Association.

Patrons can bring lawn chairs and small coolers to the event to use if they find room along the open seating available in front of the main stage.

For those who find it difficult to sit still during the live show, they can make their way in front of the stage to dance and let loose.

The Rebellious Blues Dogs, a blues band that blends elements of rockabilly, swing and Tex-Mex influences into their sound, was the first act for the festival’s opening day on Sept. 7.

Opening day drew in a large, energetic crowd as the Rebellious Blues Dogs delivered a blood pulsing performance.

The band, made up of Leff Rogers (guitar), Mike Cortez (guitar), “Big Mike” Vasquez (bass), Leo Badger (drums) and Tony “Teddy Bear” Rodriguez (harmonica), kept the festival’s mood upbeat and alive from start to finish.

“When the crowd’s up, the band’s up,” Rogers said.

Rodriguez was a crowd favorite as he displayed impressive, lengthy harmonica solos on various songs.

“Fun, a lot of fun. The crowd was into it and everyone was dancing from the first song,” Vasquez said.

Along the blocked off street are local establishments serving up food and drinks, offering a family style or night out on the town environment.

Whether you’re hungry for a big breakfast or craving a sweet-tooth dessert, restaurants such as Bruxie and Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor will satisfy your belly’s desire.

If you’re over 21, the Brea Jazz Festival offers a beer and wine garden for guests who need a little push to get a good night going.

Dr. Bobby Rodriguez and the Jazz Leaders will be performing this upcoming Saturday.

The CSUF Jazz Band is scheduled to play Sunday at noon and Poncho Sanchez, a trumpet player who won a Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album, will play at 5 p.m.

The CSUF Jazz Band, directed by Grammy Award winning conductor, composer and arranger Bill Cunliffe, has produced four award-winning recordings and are currently working on their fifth.

For more information on the Brea Jazz Festival visit www.BreaDowntown.com.

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