All-female blues fest set for next weekend


Old Town Temecula will ignite when a lineup of the hottest female blues artists from our region launches the inaugural SoCal Divas of Blues Festival.

Unique for its focus on Southern California-based women writing and performing blues music today, the festival debuts in Old Town Temecula, Saturday, Oct. 27. The outdoor festival spans from noon into the evening as eight of the region’s top female-led blues bands each perform one-hour sets.

Riverside-based Jade Bennett will kick-off the festival in a lineup that also includes Mercedes Moore, of San Diego; Give Me Back My Wig, also out of San Diego; SoCal native Brigitte Rios Purdy; Diana Rein, aka “the six string siren;” Shy But Flyy, based out of Long Beach; and Casey Hensley, from San Diego.

At 7 p.m., festival headliners the Shari Puorto Band, out of Los Angeles, takes to the stage with its high-energy performance and lead-singer Puorto’s powerful vocals, which have been compared to both Janis Joplin and Etta James.

The festival lineup was curated by Andrew Doty, owner of the Old Town Blues Club in Temecula. Doty also organized the inaugural Temecula Blues Festival, held earlier this year.

Doty cooked-up the idea of an all-female blues festival after discovering roughly 90 percent of Temecula Blues Festival tickets were purchased by women; that festival’s audience was largely women (about 65 percent); and the majority of the Old Town Blues Club’s Facebook followers are female (about 59 percent).

A portion of the proceeds from SoCal Divas of Blues ticket sales will be donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation and Michelle’s Place, a Temecula-based breast cancer resource center.

According to Michelle’s Place executive director Kim Gerrish, who has led the organization since 2004, festival goers can get information about free screenings and learn about resources and various support services. Information on breast health will be readily available for women and men.

You read that right: for women and men. According to Gerrish, two percent of breast cancers are in men. “It’s extremely dangerous because it’s fast-growing in men. If you’re a man, and you feel a lump, you should get it checked out immediately,” she said.

For Doty, combining a blues music festival and women’s health awareness was a no-brainer, saying, “It is very gratifying to be able to produce a great musical event that supports female blues artists and a mostly female health concern. It just made sense.”


What: SoCal Divas of Blues Festival

When: noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27; gates open 10 a.m.

Where: Civic Center Plaza, 41000 Main St., Temecula

Tickets: $43 general admission; $125 VIP


Note: A SoCal Divas of Blues after-party, at Old Town Blues Club (28636 Old Town Front St., Temecula), begins after the festival ends and continues until 1 a.m. Admission to the after-party is free for everyone.


Oct. 22, 11:30 a.m.: This story was updated to reflect the correct festival date, Saturday, Oct. 27.