Get your gator on

Posted: January 6th, 2017 | Arts & Entertainment, Featured, Features | No Comments

Early bird tickets on sale for annual festival

By Wendy Lemlin

The second weekend in May might seem like a long time away, but planning for the 16th annual Gator by the Bay festival has been going on now for months, and headliners have recently been announced.

The good news is, discounted advance tickets are on sale now, with the deepest discounts available until Jan. 15. For this limited time, tickets for this weekend filled with Cajun music, food and dance are the most affordable they will ever be.

Gator by the Bay will take place May 11-14 at Spanish Landing Park, and it is San Diego’s largest music and good times festival. With approximately 100 musical performances over four days happening on seven stages, what makes Gator By the Bay unique is its focus on the music and culture of Louisiana.

Revelers decked out in Mardi Gras colors and beads enjoy Gator by the Bay. (Courtesy Gator by the Bay)

Why Louisiana in San Diego?

If you’ve ever heard the rollicking Cajun and zydeco music from the southwestern part of that state, and seen — or been one of — the couples dancing with joy to the lively tunes, you don’t have to ask.

If you’ve ever caught the Mardi Gras spirit of New Orleans, with beads, boas and brass bands, you don’t have to ask.

If you’ve tantalized your taste buds with Cajun and Creole cuisine — think 10,000 pounds of boiled crawfish, spicy shrimp étouffée, a steaming bowl of gumbo, red beans and rice — you don’t have to ask. Louisiana music and culture lets the good times roll and that is the spirit infused into Gator By the Bay.

People travel all over the country to dance to the Zydeco and Cajun music. (Courtesy Gator by the Bay)

This year, the inimitable, multi-Grammy-Award nominee Marcia Ball will headline the festival kick-off concert on the evening of May 11. Internationally loved for her roadhouse boogie-woogie style, the high-energy singer, pianist, and musical storyteller brings the party wherever she goes. Cajun and zydeco headliners straight from Louisiana include Grammy-winning Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band, and Grammy nominees Geno Delafose and French Rockin’ Boogie, and Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys.

In recent years, the festival has grown to also showcase legendary Chicago and California blues artists, rockabilly and roots, and salsa and Latin music. Igor Prado Band, from Sao Paulo, Brazil, and the Dennis Jones Band have also been announced as blues headliners.

The festival experience includes large wooden dance floors, free dance lessons, cooking demos, Mardi Gras parades, kids’ activities, music and culture workshops, and loads of fun.

Early bird prices range from $100-$130 for three or four day passes and $28- $75 for advance single day tickets. Children 17 and under are free with a paid adult ticket. Ticket prices will go up Jan. 16.

For more info, visit

Plan ahead to get your Gator on!

—Wendy Lemlin is a San Diego-based freelance writer. She can be reached at

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