Nothin' Left to Lose: End of the Line for San Diego Blues Fest

Mavis Staples, Los Lobos and other headliners played the annual Embarcadero event over the years

California Honeydrops 9.9 SD Blues Fest (14)
Steve Covault

The San Diego Blues Festival will not return to the Embarcadero this year, ending 12 years of the family-friendly event benefiting the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank and its North County Food Bank chapter.

The food bank leadership cited "soaring inflation, supply-chain challenges, and skyrocketing overhead costs for event infrastructure and entertainment" as reasons for the event's cancellation.

PICS: 2017 San Diego Blues Festival

"Announcing the end of our beloved San Diego Blues Festival does not come easy, but after much consideration, the increased event costs, including equipment rental, staging, sound and lighting, service providers and musical acts, forced our board of directors and title sponsor Vince Kasperick of to announce the end of this major annual Food Bank fundraiser concert," said San Diego Food Bank CEO Casey Castillo.

Kasperick founded the festival with partners and the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank in 2011. For more than a decade, the event brought Grammy-award-winning musical artists to San Diego and raised more than $1.3 million and around 21 tons of food for the Food Bank.

The annual festival featured food trucks, and arts and crafts vendors, while featuring headliners such as Billy F Gibbons & Friends, Mavis Staples, Eric Burdon & the Animals, Tommy Castro & the Painkillers, Los Lobos and Taj Mahal with the Phantom Blues Band.

Other rising blues acts included Big Jon Atkinson, Larkin Poe, Aki Kumar and Christone "Kingfish" Ingram, along with local, acts including Whitney Shay, the late Candye Kane, the Paladins, Nathan James & the Rhythm Scratchers, the World Famous Jim Gibson, Blue Largo, Sarah Rogo, Chickenbone Slim & the Biscuits, Fred Heath, the Fremonts, Taryn Donath, Ben Powell and others.

"On behalf of the Food Bank, I would like to thank the dedicated Blues Fest fans who attended over the years," Castillo said. "I'd also like to thank the Food bank's staff and volunteers who worked the event, the wonderful musicians who played at the annual festival and our event producer, Michael Kinsman."

Castillo encouraged festival attendees to continue supporting the Food Bank through its other major fundraiser events.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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