|Long Beach Blues Festival|
Long Beach Blues Festival Logo (2007)
|Dates||2 days on Labor Day Weekend|
|Location(s)||Long Beach, California|
|Years active||1980 - 2009|
The Long Beach Blues Festival, in Long Beach, California, was established in full in 1980, and was one of the largest blues festivals and was the second oldest on the West Coast (first being the San Francisco Blues Festival). It was held on Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend. For many years it was held on the athletic field on the California State University, Long Beach campus. The 2009 festival, the 30th annual, was held at Rainbow Lagoon in downtown Long Beach. The Festival went on hiatus in 2010, and has not been held since.
The Festival was started in 1980 by jazz radio station KLON (later renamed to KKJZ) in Long Beach, California under the direction of Bernie Pearl, who was the host of a blues program "Nothing But The Blues" on KLON at the time. The first Festival was a one-day event titled the "KLON Blues & Gospel Festival" held at Veterans Stadium in Long Beach, drawing only a small crowd of 700, resulting in loss of $7,000 for the radio station. The Festival grew larger each year, becoming a major fund raising event for KLON. During 1996 through 2000, KLON expanded the event to 3 days utilizing the entire Labor Day weekend. It went back to the 2-day event in 2001 because CSULB wanted Labor Day to clean up the field for their use in the new school semester. The Festival venue for the second Fest and thereafter was the North Athletic Field at Cal State University, Long Beach (CSULB), with the exception of 1992 which was held at Shoreline Aquatic Park in downtown Long Beach, and at Rainbow Lagoon in downtown Long Beach beginning in 2008 and 2009.