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Published September 24th, 2014
Destination Downtown for Rockin' Good Time
Fans cheer as Beatles tribute band The Sun Kings close out the 19th annual Lafayette Art & Wine Festival on Sunday afternoon. Photo Gint Federas

Maybe it should be called the Art & Wine and food and music festival? Yes, the event featured lots of art and crafty items, and who doesn't enjoy a glass of wine or pint of beer with pals on a late-summer afternoon? During the two-day extravaganza 450 bottles and 150 kegs were enjoyed, but organizers also did a fantastic job of putting together a crowd-pleasing music lineup that was the star of the weekend.
It's the delightful smell of grilled food that hits you first as you close in on the Art & Wine Festival from BART or a distant parking spot. Food trucks galore contributed to a heady summer mix with everything from pulled pork tacos to lobster roll sliders and Korean barbecue, and restaurants along the boulevard filled with customers spilling out onto the sidewalks.
Continuous music played, spread out over four stages. At the Bank of the West stage on Saturday afternoon the Bay Bridge Beat, featuring a fantastic horn section and some very creative arrangements of popular tunes, provided a much needed respite to festival goers. Note: comfortable shoes were a must. With a near perfect layout - shade, plus a Sierra Nevada beer tent, grilled sausage tent, porta potties not far away, chairs and room for an asphalt dance floor, who wouldn't want to set a spell and listen to "Sledgehammer," "Kiss," and "In a Cold Sweat?"
Later in the afternoon cover bands Stealin' Chicago and Night Moves had amazing energy and played many crowd favorites.
Talented Santana tribute band Zebop enchanted the crowd at the large Fiesta stage, near The Cooperage, with Latin classics. Lead guitarist Antonio Marquez, possibly separated at birth from Carlos Santana judging by his soulful delivery on lead guitar, was accompanied by a rocking percussion section complete with timbales, congas and talented singer Alfredo Lazo on lead vocals. Following Zebop on stage was cleverly named nine-piece band East Bay Mudd, who really got the crowd moving with their danceable, upbeat rhythm and blues songs, and yet another fantastic horn section. Wrapping up the day was Foreverland - a 14-piece tribute band to Michael Jackson - on the Fiesta stage, which featured a slamming horn section and four vocalists who covered MJ complete with funky dance moves.
It takes a village to put on an event this big; members of the Chamber of Commerce and a bevy of volunteers from a variety of groups including the Acalanes cheerleading squad, who were at the Kids Zone, and lots of student volunteers kept the event rolling along - even tending the doggie cooling stations. Some very professional kids from Stanley Middle School's Opportunity Knocks program were minding the bike valet parking area - probably the best way, along with BART or walking, to get to the event.
Presented by the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, the festival is a fundraiser that supports the chamber's many programs, Lafayette Partners in Education and other local nonprofit entities.

Photo Gint Federas

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