The 25th anniversary Bowlful of Blues is returning to Ojai's famous Libbey Bowl on Saturday, September 22, with a star-studded lineup. Tickets are on sale now right here at the Buy Tickets page and in-person at ticket outlets listed on that page.

Our 2018 Performers

25th anniversary poster by John Parker


Heralded young blues star and Alligator Records artist Selwyn Birchwood will headline the 2018 Bowlful of Blues on his national tour.

July 28, 2018
For Release: Immediately

25th Anniversary Bowlful of Blues Returns to Ojai on Saturday, Sept. 22


The Bowlful of Blues’ 25th anniversary festival will take place in Ojai’s beautiful Libbey Bowl on Saturday, September 22, from 4:00-9:30 p.m. Headlining the gala affair of world-class blues is Alligator Records’ rising stars, the Selwyn Birchwood Band. Nationally known artists, Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps, will appear with their down-home blend of Texas blues and New Orleans R&B. James Harman, international touring performer known as the Harmonica King, will take the stage with special guest, boogie-woogie pianist Carl Sonny Leyland. Also appearing are the West Coast group Hot Roux with their infectious mix of Louisiana blues & swamp rock ’n’ roll, and the blazing guitar blues of the Kwan Telifaro Project. Multi-talented performer Gill Sotu will handle the MC duties.

Bowlful of Blues began in 1983 as a benefit concert for the Ojai Art Center. It was co-founded by the late Clarence “Cary” Sterling, musician and Art Center director, and fellow musician, Michael Kaufer, music branch chair on the Art Center board of directors at the time. After co-founder Sterling passed away in 2005, and in addition to other extenuating circumstances, the blues festival was not held for several years. In 2016, with the help of Michael’s brother, Lanny Kaufer, a jazz concert promoter in his own right, the 23rd Bowlful of Blues made a return to the newly refurbished Libbey Bowl and now, in 2018, will celebrate its historic 25th anniversary.

Great food and barbecue, beer and wine, arts, crafts and blues-themed booths will add to the celebration. Gates open at 3:00 p.m. and picnicking is welcome. Libbey Bowl is wheelchair accessible and handicapped parking and seating are available. Outside alcohol and pets (except documented service pets) are not allowed.

General admission (festival seating) is $40 in advance and $45 at the gate plus a required $3 bowl maintenance fee. A limited number of VIP tickets are available for $100 (fee included) and offer select front section seating, reserved parking, VIP lounge, premium beer and wine, complimentary snacks, and exclusive artist access

Tickets are available online at and at the following outlets: Cardinali Brothers Music, Studio Sauvageau, Attitude Adjustment Shop, Ojai Creates (Ojai); Iron & Resin, Coastal Postal and Video, Salzer’s Records (Ventura); Jensen Guitar & Music Co. (Santa Barbara); Island Outfitters (Carpinteria); Instrumental Music Co. (Thousand Oaks).

Volunteers are needed to staff the event in exchange for admission. Shifts run 2.5 to 3 hours. A volunteer meeting and party is scheduled for mid-August, exact date TBA. Non-food vendor spots are still open until August 22nd. Those interested in volunteering or vending can apply at or by phoning Michael at 805-836-4665.

Bowlful of Blues 2018 is presented by the Community Advocacy Coalition (CAC) of Ventura County, radio, and the Kaufer Bros, in association with HiHat Entertainment. Proceeds benefit music education projects and instrument donations for Ventura County youth. As a non-profit, locally produced benefit event, Bowlful of Blues counts on sponsors to underwrite costs and make these donations possible.

Sponsors already on board for the 25th anniversary show include KCSB FM 91.9, KCBX FM 90, Santa Barbara Blues Society, Ventura County Blues Society, DSR Audio, Old Creek Winery, Ojai Valley Brewery, Casa Ojai, Oakridge Inn, Papa Lennon’s Pizzeria, Nutmeg’s Ojai House, Westridge Market, RE/MAX Realtors Don & Cheree Edwards, Southland Blues E-Weekly, Pacific Western Bank, Ojai Advanced Dentistry, Rainforest Plant Company, and Cal-State Site Services.


The Blues Angels Smiled in 2017

Thank you blues lovers of Ojai and beyond for helping make the 24th Bowlful of Blues a success. On behalf of our co-presenters, the Community Advocacy Coalition of Ventura County (CAC) and their affiliate internet/FM station, 99.1 Rhythm of the Coast, we appreciate all the support for this festival, from audience members to sponsors to volunteers to staffers to stellar performers to our A-1 stage and technical crew to ticket outlets and to the hosts of Libbey Bowl, the City of Ojai and their liaison Amber Young.

It was truly a joint effort that happened on a positive note, once again through the good graces of the community working together. We hope those who attended enjoyed the concert and Ojai’s version of celebrating this American musical tradition. Please watch for a forthcoming announcement about the distribution of the proceeds.

Local and area businesses who sponsored this year’s Bowlful of Blues, held on September 16, include, in alphabetical order: Attitude Adjustment Shoppe; California Solar Electric; Cal-State Site Services; Deer Lodge; DSR Audio; Don & Cheree Edwards, Realtors; JSL Technologies; La Barre Land and Development; Juan J. Lopez, D.D.S.; Nutmeg’s Ojai House; Oakridge Inn; Ojai Community Bank; Ojai Images, Ojai Lumber; Ojai Valley Imports; Pacific Western Bank; Papa Lennon’s Pizzeria; Parker Graphic Design; Donald Pavek; Rainforest Plant Co.; Santa Barbara Blues Society; Southland Blues E-Weekly; Topa Mountain Winery; Ventura County Blues Society; and Westridge Family Markets.

Thanks also to Julie Tumamait-Stenslie and the Tumamait Family, Joan Kemper, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Alumnae of Oxnard, Khaled and Waled Al-Awar of the Ojai Playhouse, the Ojai Valley News, Barbara Bowman, BD’s Earthtrine Farms at the Ojai Farmer’s Market, Villanova School, and Chisum Floors of Ojai.

How gratifying that so many local businesses, organizations and individuals contributed to making this annual event possible! In addition, further support came from the Bowlful family of ticket outlets: Cardinali Bros Music, Studio Sauvageau, Ojai Creates!, Attitude Adjustment Shoppe, Salzer’s Records, Coastal Postal on Seaward, Very Ventura Gift Shop & Gallery, Instrumental Music in Thousand Oaks, Island Outfitters in Carpinteria and Jensen’s Guitars and Music in Santa Barbara.

Since the Bowlful of Blues is truly a local, homegrown, “people’s festival,” we welcome input from all interested parties, either on these pages or to Michael or Lanny as we plan for our 25th anniversary on September 22, 2018.

Michael & Lanny Kaufer

2016: Fans Prompt Ojai Bowlful of Blues Return

Lanny and Michael Kaufer, Ojai’s real-life “blues brothers” at Libbey Bowl. Photo by Megan Lee (Dualistic Photography)

On Saturday, September 17, 2016, after an 11-year hiatus, Ojai’s Bowlful of Blues returned to Libbey Bowl, in Ojai’s Libbey Park.

“A big part of our reason for the return of the Bowlful of Blues after all these years is the fans,” said Michael Kaufer, Co-Founder/Producer of the festival in 1983, with the late Clarence Sterling. “Since the last concert in 2004 after Clarence’s death, people have continually stopped me on the streets asking for the concert’s return. Due to the event’s immense popularity, and the circumstances being right, the decision was made to reinstate the concert.  The 2016 event will mark Bowlful of Blues 23rd year.”

Those circumstances included the other half of the duo known as the “Ojai Blues Brothers,” concert promoter Lanny Kaufer, rejoining the team as Assistant Producer.

Selwyn Birchwood Band

Teresa James & the Rhythm Tramps

James Harman Band

Hot Roux

Kwan Telifaro Project