Bands rock Orange Blossom Festival attendees

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By Corinne Love

By Corinne Love

Local festivals are breeding grounds for hot weather, lots of people, outdoor shopping, children, amusement park rides and of course, live music. The recent Orange Blossom Festival this weekend was no different.

The scorching sun , hot weather and relentless traffic did not stop locals, tourists and visitors from all over from visiting downtown Riverside.

Aside from buying cotton candy, parasols and an assortment of food, participants in the festival were engrossed with live music, music of any kind.

Literally, music was coming from everywhere.

Poetic License started their set with covers of Sheryl Crow, The Pretenders and 3 Doors Down. The quartet played on Mission Inn & Market, with their live set attracting a comfortable audience who was pulled in by the band’s folk, blues and southern rock fusion.

Showcased on the X103.9 stage were Justin Black & the Lights. Surprisingly, this band used synthesizers, keyboards and wailing vocals to attract their audience, who also dropped by for the contest that the radio station was presenting.

In between changing band sets, X103.9 played listeners favorites from Death Cab for Cutie, Fall Out Boy and Nine Inch Nails. The booth also had contests for Ozzfest, with prizes like tickets and pizza.

On the same stage, five piece female fronted pop rock band Waiting For Wyatt drew a large audience due to their polished, easygoing music. One particular audience member displayed an enthusiastic appreciation for the band by constantly walking in front of the stage.

At the KFROG stage presented by Budweiser, local rock veterans Anderson Hall played an amazing live set for a welcoming crowd. Anderson Hall played the festival last year and also plays at the Borders here in Riverside. The majority of their set was original material that they have been playing for years. The band is expecting to release a full album independently this year.

In the spirit of outdoor festivals, blues band 3rd Degree showed a fun natured attitude towards their audience outside the Chinese Pavilion. The band draws influence from blues greats such as John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters and B.B. King. Joseph Chapman, brother of the band’s lead singer Aaron Chapman, summed it up perfectly when he said, “when they start to play they don’t want to stop.”

Not all the music played at the festival was blues or rock; their was gospel music, bagpipes courtesy of the UCR pipe band, smooth jazz being played on Orange Street and classical music played by the Riverside Concert Band directed by John Barsik.

Tropical music flowed from the Arts & Crafts corner. The sounds of spanish guitars and bongos could be distinctly heard from the musical instrumental clinic, which additionally offered guitar and drum lessons.

The lessons provided by the Southern California Music School are affordable, often free of charge.

Playing low-key in the Fiesta Grove, trio Guitano played rich and mellow spanish guitars, often playing Santana or original pieces. Guitano added a distinct feel from the festival’s southern rock and blues majority.

Many of the bands when speaking to their audiences used their chance to speak as a medium to promote themselves by way of MySpace pages or other Web sites.

Live stages were not the only areas where festival goers could experience music. Live dances were performed throughout featuring a local ballet folklorico group performing a mesmerizing dance ensemble in traditional attire of green, white and red.

Bryant Park Cheerleaders, a group of 10 to 15 year-olds danced for families and friends a routine that included Chris Brown, Ciara and Black Eyed Peas.

No matter where one went, there was music.

SCMS presented an open casting vocal competition that drew in a small but talented group of teenagers who wanted a shot at singing live. Contestant Matthew Moreno floored audiences with near perfect pitch on his rendition of “Wind Beneath My Wings.”

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