South Shore’s Memorial Weekend Big Blue Music & Brews Festival has more than 40 bands

Sharkskin suit, pompadour, king of cool: Rick Estrin is all that. Rick Estrin & The Nightcats close out the May 27-29 Big Blue Music & Blues Festival at the Heavenly Gondola.
Photo by Rachel Kumar

Inflation, wildfires, pandemic. What on earth could be next for Lake Tahoe, a tsunami? Well, yes, South Shore will be inundated with music on Memorial Day weekend with more than 40 bands and artists at 14 venues. And there will be beer everywhere, too.

Starting to feel better?

The Big Blue Music & Brews Festival May 27-29 will be held at Lakeview Commons, Heavenly Village at each of its breweries, The Beacon and TIKI Bar at Tahoe Beach Resort. All of the music is free.

Headliners who will perform underneath the Heavenly Gondola below the majestic mountainside are classic rockers Pablo Cruise on Saturday, May 28 and jump blues band Rick Estrin & The Nightcats on Sunday, May 29.

Tahoe Onstage
Lakeview Commons is just west of Stateline. Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

At Lakeview Commons, the Bruce Lee of Rock ‘n’ Roll Scott Pemberton O Theory headlines Saturday, with L.A. rock and roots band Kareeta opening at noon, and Sunday high-energy blues Laurie Morvan Band headlines at 3 p.m. with slide guitar virtuoso Dennis Johnson & The Revelators opening at noon.

Recently formed Kareeta has made a big splash in Northern California sharing the stage with The Mother Hips.

“We’re very excited to be playing the festival,” Kareeta guitarist Jon Siembieda told Tahoe Onstage. “Tahoe is always a blast, and performing lakeside only seems like it will add to the vibe. We’ll have some tricks up our sleeve for the occasion, plus a large dose of songs from our debut album and forthcoming LP we just recorded.”

Pablo Cruise, which included founding members David Jenkins and Cory Lerios, has found its place in the sun at Tahoe for decades with a huge fan base at both ends of the lake.

Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage
Seeing is believing: D’Mar flies over audiences.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Harmonica virtuoso with a flair for humor, Rick Estrin has received the Blues Music Award’s greatest honor, B.B. King Entertainer of the Year. High flying drummer D’Mar might smack his head on the Gondola if he’s not careful. And guitarist Kid Andersen is producer of the acclaimed Greaseland Studios in San Jose.

Some local bands will be featured as well, including the Wesley Orsolic Band, Local Anthology, Ted Kennedy and the Residents and Americana singer-songwriter Darren Senn.

Darren Senn is a big picture guy.

“I am thrilled and honored to participate in the Big Blue Music and Brews Festival, which celebrates the astounding beauty and groovy vibe of the Jewel of the Sierra, The Lake of the Sky, my beloved place of residence,” Senn told Tahoe Onstage. “The lineup is loaded with talent, both local and touring artists. I might even have to learn a couple fancy new chords for this epic event.”

Laurie Morvan

Morvan has never performed with her full band at Tahoe before but she a penchant for building an instant fan base.

“People get hooked in,” she said. “Music is a powerful connection force and it’s exciting when people connect to my music and they come back. I am a mountain girl and I will be in Nirvana when I get there.”

There will be a free bike valet at Lakeview Commons. And alternative transportation into the Casino Corridor is always a good option.

-Tim Parsons

Big Blue Music & Brews Festival

The Shops at the Heavenly Village:

  • Ted Kennedy + The Residents, Friday, 1-5 p.m.
  • Wesley Orsolic Band, Saturday, 1-6 p.m.
  • DJ Osirus, Saturday and Sunday, 6-7 p.m.
  • Pablo Cruise, Saturday, 7-9 p.m.
  • Pamela Parker Fantastic Machine, Sunday, 1-5 p.m.
  • Rick Estrin & The Nightcats, Sunday, 7-9 p.m. 

LAKEFRONT VENUES:

Lakeview Commons

  • Kareeta, Saturday, 12-2:30 p.m.
  • Scott Pemberton O Theory, Saturday, 3-6 p.m. 
  • Dennis Johnson + The Revelators, Sunday, 12-2:30 p.m. 
  • Laurie Morvan Band, Sunday, 3-6 p.m.


TIKI Bar at Tahoe Beach Retreat

  • Local Anthology, Saturday, 2-6 p.m.
  • Taking Root, Sunday,2-6 p.m.


The Beacon Bar & Grill at Camp Richardson Resort

  • Bread and Butter, Saturday, 1-5 p.m.
  • In Kahoots, Sunday, 1-5 p.m.

BREWERIES/TAPHOUSES:

Aleworx at the “Y”

  • Green Buddha Band, Friday, 5-9 p.m.
  • Audiobox, Saturday, 5-9 p.m.
  • Arizona Jones, Sunday, 5-9 p.m.

South Lake Brewing Company (SLBC)

  • Darren Senn, Friday, 5-8 p.m.
  • Bison Bluegrass Band, Saturday, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. to celebrate SLBC’s 5th year anniversary

South of North Brewing

  • Thomas Brandolin, Saturday, 12-4:30 p.m.
  • Sean Hodge, Saturday, 5-10 p.m.
  • Randall Ide, Sunday, 12-4:30 p.m.
  • Mark Sheets, Sunday, 5-10 p.m.

The Hangar

  • Josbeatz, Friday, 5-8 p.m.
  • The Gold Souls, Saturday, 3-6 p.m.
  • Pat Hull, Sunday, 3-6 p.m.

RESTAURANTS:

Azul

  • Ditchweed Harvest, Saturday, 12-3:30 p.m.
  • Ash Relics, Saturday, 4-8 p.m.
  • Fred Archer Wilson, Sunday, 12-3:30 p.m.
  • Dan Zook & Jon Sils, Sunday, 4-8 p.m.

Basecamp Pizza

  • Jordan Michael Bagheri + Kristen Lynn Stephens, Saturday, 12-4 p.m.
  • Luis Rubio, Saturday, 4:30-9 p.m.
  • Kris Munn, Sunday, 12-4 p.m.

California Burger

  • Kaizaac “Kai” Porter Late Night Show indoors, Saturday, 9:30 p.m. – 12 a.m.
  • Rox Christensen Late Night Show indoors, Sunday, 9-11:30 p.m.
     

McP’s Taphouse

  • Bread and Butter, Friday, 7:30-10:30 p.m.
  • In Kahootz, Saturday, 7:30-10:30 p.m.
  • TBD, Sunday, 7:30-10:30 p.m.

Poke’ Rok

  • Luis Rubio, Saturday, 12-4:30 p.m.

Ten Crows BBQ

  • Off Piste, Saturday, 5-10 p.m.
  • Ash Relics, Sunday, 5-9 p.m.

    

ABOUT Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons
Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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