SERIOUS QUESTION: If you were to stage a music festival, say, one that would run over three or four days, and you had your pick of cities across the state, is there anything that could dissuade you from choosing Eureka? It's a city that already embraces the arts in a daily and public way -- those famous and found-everywhere murals is one sign that this is so -- and its Humboldt base, it's water-close vibe, and its Carson-mansion-y old-time funkitude make for a setting where any tune-making artist might feel inspired. Or at least ready to perform a set or two. Call wonderful Eureka one of the many reasons that the Redwood Coast Jazz Festival will soon celebrate its quarter-century mark, and call everyone you know and cancel plans from March 27 through 30. That's when the festival'll flow at spots around town, including, you got it, the one of the world's most famous Victorian manses, the Carson.
ON THE BILL: Bob Draga & Friends, High Street Band, Gator Nation, Red Skunk Band, Stompy Jones, Sister Swing, and Mitch Woods and His Rocket Eighty-Eights are a few of the names on the lengthy roster. As some of the band handles might suggest, the Redwood Coast Jazz Festival isn't straight-up, straight-forward jazz, or at least not simply that style alone. Zydeco brings a piquant flavor to the proceedings, as does swing and Dixieland. Yep, you could be dancing in Eureka, which sounds so appealing that someone should name a movie that. (We'd see "Dancing in Eureka" on opening weekend on the title alone.)
TICKETS? You can buy 'em a la carte, but an all-event, all pass is $85. That's for three days -- March 28 through 30 -- but if you can get up by the 27th, you can attend the opening night dance. See? The dance vibe is strong with Humboldt. Which reminds us to ask you another serious question: Have you ever visited nearby Arcata and not seen impromptu dancing, like, in the park or on the street? We vouch that we have not. It is a lively tribute to a region that greets its arts scene with joy, spirited feelings, and a whole lot of booty shaking.