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Chuck Berry to play fest for blues

May 31, 2008|Randy Lewis | Times Staff Writer

The Long Beach Blues Festival will get a face-lift this year with a new home and will feature an 81-year-old headliner who made musical history because he wouldn't play the blues. Chuck Berry, who became one of the titans of rock 'n' roll because he didn't think he ever would become a credible blues artist, headlines the opening day of the 29th annual festival on Aug. 30 at its new home at Rainbow Lagoon park next to the Long Beach marina.

Pioneering R&B-funk group Sly & the Family Stone will top the lineup on Aug. 31. Other acts slated for this year's bill include John Mayall, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Pinetop Perkins, Booker T. Jones and Charlie Musselwhite.

The new site moves the festival out of its longtime home at Cal State Long Beach.

"We believe this move will enable more community members to take advantage of what is one of the most popular events in Long Beach every year and, in the process, businesses in the downtown area will benefit as well," university President F. King Alexander said in a statement.

In addition, the event will be co-produced by longtime Southland concert promoter Bill Silva Presents and Rum & Humble. The festival is a key fundraiser for the university-based radio station KKJZ-FM (88.1).

Tickets will go on sale June 7. Information: (310) 478-5061 or www.jazzandblues.org/long beachbluesfestival.

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