Sunday
May 26, 2024

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About the Harp Fest


The Spring Harp Fest is back for 2024!



Our Mission Statement: Spring Harp Fest promotes understanding and appreciation of the harmonica and endeavors to pass love of the harmonica on to the next generation.



Founded in 1999 by Harmonica John Frazer, Chet Cannon and Budd Willis, the Spring Harp Fest was created to promote, this American artform, the blues harmonica. This event remains a first of it's kind for San Diego County where everyone involved; from webmaster, to set-up crew, from sound man, to musicians, MC to clean up crew, and all points in between; volunteers time, talent and expertise, working together to build a better future. Every year, we hold a festival during Easter weekend, and some of Southern California's finest harmonica players perform at our Spring Harp Fest.



The Spring Harp Fest is a family-friendly, outdoor event located at Harry Griffen Park in La Mesa, California. There will be a $20 suggested donation requested upon entering the festival. Everyone is invited to pack a frisbee or hula hoop for the kids, water, sunscreen, blanket or beach chair. Join us for another good old fashioned afternoon in the park. You can even bring your leashed dog and a cooler. And don't forget your smile. The address is 9550 Milden St. La Mesa, CA 91942. It is behind Grossmont High School. Again, suggested donation is just $20. Please donate what you can afford as every dollar helps.



This festival is 100% funded by contributions from the local community and other donations from people like you. All of the the people that bring this event to the La Mesa community are volunteers. No one is paid, yet we have a great many expenses and we need your help. We accept donations. If you would like to offer your support, please . We suggest a $20 donation at the event and you can also help by donating cash to our raffle which is held during the festival. All of our prizes are donations from our generous sponsors. Let them know you appreciate their support of the Spring Harp Fest.

Every year, we make a generous contribution from the proceeds of our festival to youth music programs, specifically ear-marked for harmonica inclusion. Supported by Blues Lovers of San Diego (BLUSD). While raising funds to provide scholarships for the Blues Summer Camp from our proceeds, we hope to also increase the visibility of the harmonica in general, as well as showcase some of the many talented local blues and roots musicians that are available in and around San Diego and Southern California. Please see our Sponsors page for live videos of youth participating in a Summer Blues Camp.

Please join us for this most enjoyable and important event in a fun family. You'll be glad you did!

2024 Line Up


Below is our line up for the 2024 Spring Harp Fest. Please note that all artists & times are subject to change.

Sunday, May 26, 2024
11:00am
INVITATIONAL
On Harmonica: Kris Wott, Marty Hales, Art Faxas, Bill Hoaglin Band.
Band: Karl Dring - Guitar, Jack Stephens - Guitar, Helane Fronek - Bass, John Rees - Drums-
1:00pm
3D Blues Band featuring Dave Churchville
Dave Churchville - Harmonica and Guitar, Bob Derman - Bass, Dave Weigel - Guitar
1:45pm
Harmonica John
John Frazer - Harmonica & Guitar, Erik Frank - Bass, Jeff Litzman - Drums  
I come from a very musical family. My mom and her sisters all sang, and mom wanted to play the drums, but it was considered unladylike, so she was happy to see that I liked to bang on things. My dad and his brothers all played instruments as well as his mom and dad. Grandma Frazer was quite skilled at playing the organ, and we would all gather in the living room. I remember hearing everyone playing Al Hirt's "Java"when it first came out.Grandpa Frazer played banjo and harmonica, mostly and I first played one of his harmonicas when I was quite young- however, being unskilled, I was told to take it outside away from the family jam session. It was many years before I took up harmonica again, but when I did, it was pretty natural for me.
2:30pm
Unknown Players Jam
$20 Donation to Participate Youth and Adult Winners are chosen by applause - please clap for favorite Band: Karl Dring - Guitar, Jack Stephens - Guitar, Jim Beck - Bass, Steve Douglas - Drums
Have you heard of our world-famous Unknown Player's Jam? To many of us, its the highlight of our Spring Harp Fest, especially when we've got the kids involved. And you know, the kids usually win if they can play. Must be that cute factor.

Anyone can participate, you don't have to be a resident of La Mesa, or San Diego, or even California. This fun competition is open to everyone and it is just $20 donation to participate. Best of all, the winner gets a trophy. So brush up on your best harmonica blues and come on out to the next Spring Harp Fest which is every year during Easter weekend in La Mesa, California at Harry Griffen Park. If you click on that link, you can read all about this beautiful park, but here's a pic of the ampitheatre where you'll find us. It's one of the finest parks in San Diego County.
3:00pm
Ass Pocket Whiskey Fellas
Philippe Freed - Harmonica, Steve Hoshko - Bass, Ric Lee - Drums, Ethan Van Thillo - Guitar, Jack Laux - Accordian, Larry Kosta - Banjo, Floyd Fronius - Fiddle, Ray Conseur - Drums 
Mix one part New Riders Of The Purple Sage, one-part Chieftains, three parts Dropkick Murphy’s, and a pinch of Mojo Nixon. Shake vigorously. Add a pitcher of the house Micro-brew, chased by a flask of Jameson Irish Whiskey, and stir. Voila! You have The Ass Pocket Whiskey Fellas!

If you throw in a tavern audience, the chemical reaction is magic. The APWF are a crowd-pleasing band, taking requests, as they banter with their fans.

They blend Irish Folk with Country-Rock to foot stomping perfection. Their blend of Guitars, Mandolin, Banjo, Tin Whistle, Fiddle, Accordion, Upright Bass, and Harmonica, supported by thumping percussion that keeps any place energized.
4:00pm
Billy Watson
Billy Watson - Harmonica, Adrian Deman - Guitar, Marty Dodson - Drums, Burtt Newman - Bass 
Billy is an entertainer extraordinaire, capable of throwing down a blues show that can be infectiously hilarious and convincingly nasty. His energy as a frontman is relentless, his vocals inspiring, and his harp work musically outstanding. Billy's repertoire ranges from creepy grooves, grinding shuffles, to fast boogies and swings.
5:00pm
Gabriel Nathanael Band
Gabriel Nathanael - Harmonica, Gregg Carpenter - Bass, Martin Salinas - Guitar, Tom Steward - Drums
 
6:00pm
Zavala Sol featuring Karl Dring
Karl Dring - Harmonica & Guitar, Carrie Zavala - Vocals, John Price - Drums, Mike Van Duyn - Guitar, Bill Salisbury - Bass  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Present & Past Artists


The line-up for 2024 includes Billy Watson, Chris Fast, Harmonica John, Zavala Sol with Karl Dring,3D Blues Band with Dave Churchville and more. Previous year's line-ups have featured some of the most talented harmonica players in the San Diego area and below. Learn more about past years artists below.

  • Ass Pocket Whiskey Fellas

    Ass Pocket Whiskey Fellas

    San Diego’s Ass Pocket Whiskey Fellas have developed a reputation among local craft breweries, Irish Pubs and at numerous outdoor events for its rousing, crowd-pleasing, eclectic performances.

    Harmonica John

    Harmonica John

    I love playing live music for happy people- or they can be sad, I don't mind. Whether I am on Harmonica, drums, guitar, or singing, I am most happy performing, and am willing and able to tour the world

    ZAVALA SOL

    Zavala Sol

    San Diego’s 2023 International Blues Challenge Winner and current nominee for Best Blues Artist in the San Diego Music Awards, Zavala Sol headlines the 2024 Spring Harp Fest.

  • headshot of Kyle Rowland playing harmonica into a microphone

    Kyle Rowland

    “Blues harmonica player of the year” and “Blues New Artist of The Year” in 2009 from the West Coast Blues Hall of Fame, Kyle Rowland, has been dominating the stage since the tender age of 10 years old.

    David Lewis

    David Lewis

    Local harmonica blues man David Lewis will be performing with his band, Fred Heath and the Slidewinders. This is guaranteed to be a high-energy set that will get your feet movin'!

    Portfolio Item

    James "Loose" Reed Mojo

    Throughout the years, James has developed his skills in such a way that his harmonica and vocals are passionate, soulful and always entertaining.

  • Chet and the Committee

    Chet and the Committee

    San Diego's favorite Swingin' Good Time Blues an Rockin' Boogie Band. Chet & the Committee frontman Chet Cannon is a self-described “terminal blues fan” who once attended 26 blues concerts in 29 days.

    Silver Kings

    Silver Kings with Mark Bukich

     

    Harmonica John

    Harmonica John

    I love playing live music for happy people- or they can be sad, I don't mind. Whether I am on Harmonica, drums, guitar, or singing, I am most happy performing, and am willing and able to tour the world

  • Billy Watson

    Billy Watson

    Billy is an entertainer extraordinaire, capable of throwing down a blues show that can be infectiously hilarious. His energy as a frontman is relentless, his vocals inspiring, and his harp work musically outstanding.

    Phil Berkowitz

    Phil Berkowitz

    Phil Berkowitz is a master of the blues harmonica and an accomplished vocalist who has been energizing the San Francisco Bay Area blues scene for more than a decade.

    Troy Sandow

    Troy Sandow

    Troy Sandow has honed his skills by listening and learning first hand from the masters. As a Bass player he has backed some of the best blues musicians and singers in the world.

Unknown Players Jam


Have you heard of our world-famous Unknown Harmonica Player's Jam? To many of us, it's the highlight of our Spring Harp Fest, especially when we've got the kids involved. And you know, the kids usually win if they can play. Must be that cute factor.



Any harmonica player participate, you don't have to be a resident of La Mesa, San Diego, or even California! This fun competition is open to everyone and it is just $20 donation to participate but please note that space is limited. Best of all, the winner gets a trophy and may qualify to participate in our All Star Jam. So brush up on your best harmonica blues and come on out to the next Spring Harp Fest, which is every year during Easter weekend in La Mesa, California at Harry Griffen Park. If you click on that link, you can read all about this beautiful park, but here's a pic of the ampitheatre where you'll find us. It's one of the finest parks in San Diego County.



Donate to Spring Harp Fest


Your donations help Spring Harp Fest to continue our support of the youth music programs in the San Diego, California area. Over the years we have donated thousands of harmonicas as well as monetary support for these programs. The money Spring Harp Fest takes in is earmarked to providing harmonica instruction to kids. The organizers of Spring Harp Fest receive no salary. Our reward is watching kids experience the joy of harmonica music. Please give generously so that we can reach the maximum number of potential harmonica stars.

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Our Sponsors


The Spring Harp Fest relies entirely on volunteers and support from our generous local businesses. We'd like to thank our sponsors who donated generously to this year's Spring Harp Fest. If you or your business would like to donate to Spring Harp Fest, please contact Harmonica John Frazer

Our Sponsor -  Bill Howe Plumbing
Our Sponsor - Gator by the Bay
Our Sponsor - Hodads
Our Sponsor - Lee Oskar Harmonica
Our Sponsor - Moze Guitars
Our Sponsor - Johnny Bs
Our Sponsor - Pykles Remodeling & Plumbing




Contact


In the event that you need to contact the director of Harp Festival, please call John Frazer at 619-709-2217.

Festival Location

Harry Griffen Park
9550 Milden St
La Mesa, CA 91942

Phone

Festival Director
John Frazer
Tel. 619-709-2217

Email

Festival Director
John Frazer
harmonicajohns@cox.net

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