guitar bar

The Doheny Diary 2003
by R.J. Bianchino

saturday sojourn I met Las Vegas Blues photographer/writers Don and Carol early a.m. Saturday at the House Of Blues after the Cracker concert. We took two cars and began our blues trek about 1:00 a.m. by driving non-stop to California. At 5:30 a.m. we arrived Doheny State Beach. It was so early that there wasn't a ranger at the gate to collect the usual $5 parking fee.

chairs n' coffee ...so early that we were the first in line for general admission. We set up our chairs by the gate to await a sheduled 11 a.m. opening. Some time later Laurel arrived from Barstow with coffee and Crispy Creme donuts. She was immediately crowned our sleepy-eyed savior. Laurel you're a doll!

Lefty Steve from San Diego first festival friend Wandering around the park, we met what looked to be a grisly-bearded beach bum or blues gnome. It turned out to be a harp player named Lefty Steve from Ocean Beach, San Diego. We ended up hanging together for both festival days.

weary wait Now that there were five of us it was easier to stay awake, but not necessarily alert. Their was always that underlining weariness from a long day and 4 1/2 drive. Carol was the only one able to nap in her chair. As the morning, but not the sun (that SoCal foggy ocean-mist never lifted all day), progressed more and more people were available to talk to - the march towards 11 a.m. seemingly picked up speed.

gathering at the gate At about 11:15 the general admission ticket holders are let in. Both the Gold and VIP lines were admitted earlier. It was now time for us to make a mad dash for the main stage and stake out our territory by throwing down blankets. Being the first in line insured us a pretty good placement to the right of the stage near the Tower Records tent. This was also the area where some artists would be signing autographs.

turf and territory While Carol, Laurel, Lefty and myself claimed the main turf, Don had stopped by the Renaissance Stage closer to the gate and laid down towels there. This second stage was a more intimate setting because one needn't have VIP tickets to get up close. Behind, and to the left of this stage was what is known as the Back Porch. This is by far the most intimate of all stages. More of the Back Porch later.

to be continued...