Simi Cajun/Blues Music Festival excellent (again)

By George Miller

Over the years, the Simi Cajun & Blues Festival has become one of the region’s top musical events. This year they maintained and enhanced their reputation. Mitch Rider & the Detroit Wheels and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy were the Blues stage headliners. Having two sound stages, a kiddie park, lots of merchandise booths, food and drink makes it very hard to decide what to do. Usually, we shuttle back and forth between the Blues and Zydeco stages, that is when we’re not patronizing the many offerings of food, drink and merchandise.

This year, we focused on the Sunday Blues Stage, arriving fortified with food, drink, hats and sunblock. We weren’t disappointed.

Voodoo worked on us

To us, at least, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy was the best act, hands down. They have a distinctive sound and are very good musicians who can do Big Band sound, Swing, Dixieland, Blues and more. The added attraction is that they are a longtime Ventura County group which has achieved national reach and fame.


Alex Nester

We weren’t familiar with Alex Nester‘s band (below) going in, but she/they made us into fans. Strong band and a strong voice for Alex. She told the crowd that she’s a local Simi gal. We particularly liked their number “What Kind of Voodoo Do You Do?”  This gal has toured with Carlos Santana and his son, Salvador.

Alex Nester’s band at Simi Cajun/Blues Festival 5-28-17. Photo: George Miller/

From her web site:

Alex’s bout with cancer has helped shape her unique sound filled with messages of love, faith, positivity, and healing while channeling the retro soul artists of the 60’s and 70’s… Which only makes sense as she is currently touring with Salvador Santana, recently toured with Tito Jackson (of Jackson 5 fame), and has opened as a solo artist for such acts as Earth Wind & Fire, Chicago, The Rascals, Evelyn “Champagne” King, The Stylistics, and Dave Mason. Most recently she has added multi-platinum selling artist Rachel Platten to that list as well. Her resume already includes 12 albums, countless jingles, and over 25 theatrical productions, as well as working with established musicians such as Carlos Santana, Stevie Wonder, The Four Tops, The Fifth Dimension, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Desi Arnaz, Jr., Alphonse Mouzon, Brandon Fields, and Eric Marienthal.

Check out their act:


The 44’s are a good, solid REAL blues act and didn’t disappoint. Powerful sound/beat and technically sharp.  Read about 44’s


Mitch Rider& the Detroit Wheels was a good name recognition draw, but he’s at least 5 years past his expiration date and didn’t measure up to hopes and expectations. But, they drew the biggest crowd and fans hung on every note of CC Rider and Devil with a Blue Dress On (watch clip below).  They are being inducted to the Blues Hall of Fame in Detroit next month.

Check out the Yardbirds:

The Yardbirds warming up!

Posted by Gary Graswald on Saturday, May 27, 2017

We had lunch at the booth- really good pulled pork sandwich.

All in all, a fine event, with many thousands of loyal fans, who have grown in numbers over the years.

A few changes were made this year in layout: more tented areas were created to shield festival-goers from the harsh Simi Valley sun. But they banned bringing pop-up tents. Also, the dance floor was pulled out from under the Blues sound stage tent and moved several hundred feet away in the open. It was not nearly as popular there. The vacated area was used for much more high-priced seating, which mostly filled up.

Some Cajun/Blues Festival fans dress to be noticed. Photo: George Miller/


We only heard a bit of Dwayne Dopsie over at the Zydeco stage.  Sounded great as usual.  We were thrilled to see that they renamed it the Stephen D. Smith Memorial Cajun & Zydeco Stage, after our former next door neighbor and retired stockbroker who passed away a while back. Steve was a tremendous organizer/supporter of the festival and a hardcore Rotary guy. Read MORE

Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and the Golden Eagles was the closing act on the Sunday Blues stage. We weren’t able to catch them due to logistical problems.  Sounded unique and very good on youtube, though.

Large crowds showed up for the Simi Cajun & Blues Festival May 27-8, 2027. Photo: George Miller/

This was the full festival lineup:


George Miller is Publisher of and a “retired” operations management consultant residing in Oxnard

Get Headlines free  SUBSCRIPTION. Keep us publishing – DONATE

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments