Helping Children With the Blues

And have fun while you’re at it

The 6th Annual Baja Blues Fest returns to the Rosarito Beach Hotel this August 18, 19 and 20. This end-of-summer musical event is one of the most popular events in Baja, and it’s all for a great cause… to help local children beat “the blues.”

The Baja Blues Fest conception was brought about by travels to the San Felipe Blues Fest. Co-President Marty Alameda believed that Rosarito was the perfect location to host this venue due to the large local population and the proximity to the US border. After several years with the Baja Image Committee, Marty thought this would be a perfect way to bring the people of north Rosarito and south Rosarito together, even though a survey taken in 2015 indicated that 82% of the attendees were from the United States.

The Baja Blues Fest has grown from 1800 spectators the first year to 4000 attendees in 2016. 5000 music lovers are expected this year. For those of you not in the know, Friday evening is a not-to-be-missed meet-and-greet event with members of all of the invited groups jamming and generally having a great time together. Dancing is encouraged, but there is a limit of 650 allowed in the Rosarito Beach Hotel indoor venue, so don’t miss out. Order your tickets early. In fact, the only way to secure admittance to this premier function is to purchase your three-day pass early.  Technically the evening shuts down about 11 pm, but anyone who knows musicians knows that the music ceases when the musician falls into a dead sleep, so little mini jams may be found just about anywhere.

Musicians scheduled for this year’s event are the Grammy award-winning Kenny Neal Family Band, Nick Schnebelen, Hola Soy Lola, Baja Blues Fest favorite Backwater Blues Band with special guest Mighty Mike Schermer, Blue Largo with special guest Taryn Donath, Leilani & the Lost Ones, and special guest guitarist Anthony Cullins. But stay tuned to the Gringo Gazette and social media in case there are changes in the lineup.

Saturday is THE day with gates opening at 10:15 and music 12:00 – 8:30 pm. Bands play at intervals throughout the day and into the evening. Raffles will be conducted throughout the concert program, including a special raffle this year (again) for a Strung Junk guitar fashioned by Steve Kinney.

Sunday, 1:00 – 4:00 pm band members meet on the Hotel lawn to jam with one another. The public is invited to bring their musical instruments and jam with the performers, or merely sit and listen.

Last year the Baja Blues Fest donated $16,000 to five local charitable groups, plus the Flying Samaritans, Cruz Roja Rosarito, and Cruz Roja Primo Tapia. This year, the charities, chosen by their emphasis on education are The Los Angelitos Orphanage, providing education and a home for 30 girls aged 1-21 deemed DIF Wards of the Court in the TJ/Rosarito area; La Mison Children’s Fund, providing life’s basic needs and education to Baja youth, and use of a professional kitchen to help students prepare for training in culinary institutes; BECA (Benefitting Education & Community Advancement),  providing care and education and scholarships to children in the La Mision community, including a specialty in Tourism Technology and culinary arts; and Friends of the Library, supporting the five Rosarito libraries with reading programs, educational and artistic outlets.

Tickets are available online and at Baja’s Click-On.Com at Puerto Nuevo (km 44). Advance tickets for the complete three-day event are $45; Friday night is $20 at the door, space permitting; Saturday is $25 in advance, $30 at the gate; and Sunday’s jam is $10 at the gate. The BFF organization is a qualified US 501(c)(3), meaning that any donations made are US tax deductible.

Vendor booths for Saturday only are still available for $70, which includes a canopy, table, two chairs, and electricity. Interested in becoming a sponsor for the event? Information is available online for sponsorships ranging from $250 to $7500.

The seven members of the Board of Directors start planning in November for the following music fest, and they need many volunteers, not only to work the three-day fest, but to work throughout the year, a few hours a month, on planning the next festival. Applications are now being accepted for volunteers wishing to help out for a few hours during the three-day event. Applications are available online at in the “Join Us” section. For information on the charities being supported this year:;;;

For more information, to volunteer or to order tickets, please go to; Email:; US: 1-800-530-5471; MX: 661-614-0513.

Ren Drake

Author: Ren Drake

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