Phil Lewis, a consultant for the Santa Cruz’s American Music Festival, remembers last years Sunday show on May 27 as probably the best run show he and his team ever did. Thats going back 25 years, to when Lewis helped create the original Santa Cruz Blues Festival, an annual Memorial Day event at Aptos Village Park that preceded its American Music Festival cousin. That days lineup last year contained the Brothers Comatose, Wood Brothers and Mavis Stapleseach act bring More energy to the point than the last, before the day culminated with Santa Cruz favorites Devil Makes Three, that completed the mid-day with a bang.
Looking back, it was a fitting finale to a two day festival which Lewis says might never happen again. Not at that park. Artists are asking because of more money these days are staging companies, unions, county regulators, trash Collectors, security teams, chair rental companies, fencing companies, bus companies, and even Cabrillo College, where the festival could host the majority of its parking for concert goers. Everything, he says. All of us want more money.
At some point, you are like, where does it stop? Lewis says, leaning back in his chair, shaking his head as he crosses his arms. It doesnt. Lewis remembers one of his favored acts through the years as B.B. King, back in the Santa Cruz Blues Festival days. You could feel his energy all the way back to where the food was. From him to that last person. He’d that charisma, more than any person Ive ever met. He’d melt people with his eyes. Amazing, Lewis says. But Lewis favored memories of the two day festival are of the fans.