The Count Basie Orchestra will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Harbortown Marina Resort, starting off four days of concerts as part of the fifth annual Ventura Music Festival.
Joined by the Four Freshmen, the quartet that made its mark in the 1950s, the Basie band will lead a nonstop dance concert on the tennis courts of the hotel, the first of a series of events that includes a street fair, a tribute to composer John Philip Sousa and a show by Grammy winner Michael McDonald. Tickets for the harbor dance cost $20 per person.
The festival, sponsored by the city of Ventura, will transfer on Saturday to Arroyo Verde Park, where 13 groups, including Mitch Ryder, Otis Day and the Knights, and Buffalo Springfield Revisited, will present a medley of early rock hits in a program called the 30th Anniversary of Rock 'n' Roll. Admission is $15 for everyone except children under 10, who get in free. The park opens at noon and the music begins at 3 p.m.
That evening, California Street in downtown Ventura will become a rollicking blues strip with two R&B bands, the Bombers and the Pontiax, providing music for a street dance. Planners expect the celebration to start at 7:30 p.m. and continue until 11:30 p.m. Cost per person is $7.