The Spring Harp Fest is back for 2023! We are still working through details with information to come December 2022.
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 donate here. 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
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!
The line-up for 2023 includes Billy Watson, Chris Fast, Harmonica John, Ass Pocket Whiskey Fellas, 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.
David was the 2019 winner of the Unknown Players jam and this guy can blow! This year he opens the Spring Harp Fest at 12:00pm. Don't miss him!
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'!
Throughout the years, James has developed his skills in such a way that his harmonica and vocals are passionate, soulful and always entertaining.
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.
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.
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 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 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 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.
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.
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.
The Blues is here to stay. David has been an avid student online with a variety of harmonica players like Jason Ricci and Adam Gassaw, not limiting himself to just the blues, but to other genre, including jazz. His influences include Paul Butterfield, Little Walter, and Sonny Boy Williamson. David continues to listen and learn all he can from the blues musicians around San Diego like Chet Cannon, Billy Watson, and the bass guitar player, Kevin Cooper. As Junior Wells says, “Somebody done unhoodoo the hoodoo men.”
After two decades as photographers and receiving many awards; published in Popular Photography & Petersen Photographic & various brochures; exhibits in AZ, NM, & CA, my wife, Mary, and I are reinventing and redefining ourselves within the music community.
Over this 10-year span, James Reed has shared the stage with such greats as Taj Mahl, Edgar Winters, Billy Branch, Jimmy Witherspoon, Johnny Nitro and Joan Baez. He also had the privilege to perform on stage at the White House, Washington, DC.
The Mojo Man did his stint as a resident in the South lands of America. His music was greatly influenced through living and working in places such as Florida, Alabama, and Louisiana. This is where the music matured and became what it is today.
This year Chet and the Committee will be backing our Unknown Players Jam, which gives unknown harp players a chance to strut their stuff.
Chet & the Committee frontman Chet Cannon is a self-described “terminal blues fan” who once attended 26 blues concerts in 29 days.
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.
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.
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.
I love to express emotions in my song that people listening can relate to.
Blues music was created by people looking for a way to forget their "blues" by telling their stories through song. Billy's show reminds modern audiences that blues music can be lowdown, but that in the end it's all about having some fun, dancing, and forgetting about your worries.
Billy's repertoire ranges from creepy grooves, grinding shuffles, to fast boogies and swings
New Jersey native, Phil Berkowitz, "has earned renown as one of the West Coast’s most distinctive harp players, as well as for his sharp, resonant tenor" (Living Blues/ 2018).
Phil is now half of San Francisco's finest male/female duet fronted band, The Lucky Losers.
His vocals are sincere and honest with laid back phrasing and an ernest approach. He is committed to his craft and honoring the greats, while still having his own sound, voice, and artistic vision.
As a Harmonica player and Singer he is a student of Tone, Timing, Phrasing, and Feel. He plays with passion and always puts in what the song needs.
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.
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.Donate Now
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 past year's Spring Harp Fest. If you or your business would like to donate to the 2023 Spring Harp Fest, please contact Harmonica John
In the event that you need to contact the director of Harp Festival, please call John Frazer at 619-709-2217.
Harry Griffen Park
9550 Milden St
La Mesa, CA 91942