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Strawberry Festival entertainment lineup features wide mix
by Anne Kallas
March 30, 2011
Ventura County Star
Santa Barbara, California

Take a little big band sound, mix it with some classic pop, add a dash of Latin swing, top it with luscious strawberries and you have a recipe for a good time at the 28th annual California Strawberry Festival.

"We're going to spend the whole weekend in Oxnard. This is our first ... trip to the Strawberry Festival. It's going to be right up our alley. We're going to love playing there," said Bob Cowsill of the classic '60s group, The Cowsills, the family group that inspired TV's "Partridge Family."

The Cowsills are among several groups included in the recently announced entertainment lineup for the festival, May 21-22.

Cowsill said that while there are quite a few tribute bands that cover the works of specific artists, his group pays tribute to an era the 1960s.

"We're a tribute to the decade. We perform songs from the '60s Simon and Garfunkel, the Rolling Stones, the Hollies. Basically, we respect these songs," he said. "We perform the recording; we don't try to reinvent them."

In addition, the group will perform some of The Cowsills' classic hits.

Bringing in another classic musical sound will be the Swing Kings, who will perform the songs of Frank Sinatra and other '40s era bands, as well as Latin, rhythm and blues, disco, rock and funk.

"We're a Big Band, but we play with a lot of energy," said Ron Alan, band leader and vocalist. "We're not like the old-timey big band. We sha-tack it. We won't just be playing swing, we'll be playing a little blues, boogie woogie and a little bit of '50s rock mixed with Santana. We've been around for 15 years. There are a lot of people who haven't heard us before, but we bring a lot of energy. We want to get people up and dancing in front of the stage."

Joe Milligan, co-chairman of the Strawberry Festival entertainment committee, said he is excited about this year's lineup on the two stages.

"We feel it's an excellent lineup, a little bit of something for everyone every day," he said.

There will be a number of tribute bands, covering the music of Jimmy Buffett, Stevie Nicks, Michael Jackson and Neil Diamond.

In addition to the acts, the Oxnard High School marching band will greet festival-goers each morning at the gates. The festival also includes arts and crafts, rides, attractions, gooey contests, Strawberryland for Kids, Strawberry Promenade, Green Scene, and more.

Admission ranges from $5 to $12. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. each day. To purchase tickets online or for information about the festival, visit www.strawberry-fest.org or call 888-288-9242. A shuttle service from key locations will be offering free rides to and from the festival.




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