There was a time when loading the entire family and a picnic basket into the car for a day at a carnival or other mini-vacation wasn?t so unusual. Be it a fair or just an afternoon by the lake, a day in the sun by a body of water, with vendors, music, excited crowds and no need for a babysitter ? what family could ask for more?
However, when those who hope to spend a day alone in a crowd as they get lost in the sounds of a live band end up being led to the same destination as the family searching for a getaway, event organizers know they have found the perfect combination.
Anyone looking for a day of immersion in the temperamental engagement that is Latin music will find more than just that on August 24th. That is when the 3rd Annual Latin Music Festival takes the rhythm experience away from the stuffy club interior and out onto the open-air grounds of Lake Casitas. The event will feature four established Latin bands and lots of additional entertainment, including crafts, food vendors, free boat rides, games, door prizes and, for the kids, a Slip ?n Slide.
The live performances will start at noon with the featured group Son Mayor (http://www.solosabor.com/SonMayor/index.html) described as a ?contemporary 12-piece salsa explosion appealing to all audiences ? dancers and seasoned music lovers alike.? Visitors of L.A.?s Conga Room will recognize this regular performer.
At 2 p.m., Louie Cruz Beltran (http://www.louiecruzbeltran.com) will deliver more than the Latin jazz, R&B and samba collection of rhythms that make up his debut album ?It?s My Time.? The rumbero, whose tours across four continents have exposed him to a world not only of various cultures but also a variety of musical influences, will undoubtedly show once again why he is a well-established artist on the West Coast.
"The beauty of Afro-Cuban music stole my heart," Beltran once said in an article for the Bakersfield Californian, but he seems to be perfectly capable of finding it whenever he needs to put it into one of his live shows. His performance at Los Angeles? ?Spazio? was highlighted in a recent L.A. Times articles and praised for the ease with which Beltran and his ensemble ?cruised ? through cha cha, salsa, funk and jazz.?
Next, Dimelo Recording Artists Orquesta Tabaco y Ron (http://www.dimelodance.com) will take the stage at 4 p.m.. The band has two CDs out with Dimelo, and as far away as Germany, reviews of the band?s albums ?Salsa de Verda!? and ?Que Se Sepa? emphasize that Tabaco y Ron can entice the salsa audience with their own compositions as much as with cover versions of artists like Cuco Valoy or Oscar D?Leon.
A high-energy ending will be delivered by Lula and Afro Brazil )http://www.artmedia.net/bcn/members/lula/band.htm), a Los Angeles-based music and dance group led by Brazilian percussionist/singer Lula Almeida. Bringing along three Sambistas, the band will keep the audience wanting more of their combination of various styles such as samba reggae, lambada and salsa.
Lula and Afro Brazil appeared in films such as ?Without You I?m Nothing? and ?Lambada ? the Movie? and released a CD titled ?Bahia Legend.?
The concert is expected to end at around 7 p.m.
Tickets for the Latin Music Festival, which is donating all proceeds to the East Ventura Rotary Club, are $12.00 purchased in advance and $15.00 at the event. Parking, at an additional charge, is available through the lake?s parking facilities. Visitors to the concert are free to bring their own picnic lunches.
To pre-order tickets or get additional information, call 1-888-491-7342.
Directions: From Los Angeles, take the Ventura Freeway north past Ventura to Route 33. Go north on 33 toward Ojai.
For more detailed travel instructions or additional information about the recreational area, visit http://www.casitaswater.org and go to the Lake Casitas Recreation link, or visit http://www.mapquest.com.