When Ben Robinson was a little boy attending school in Temecula, he never imagined that he would grow up to become a famous blues’ guitarist it.
“I was 8 when my dad bought me my first guitar,” Robinson said. “I knew I wanted to be a guitar player because guitar players get all of the chicks.”
Fast forward just over two decades and now the Aguanga native will say he is blessed with his successes. Now living in North Carolina and performing as the lead guitarist for the band, Preacher Stone, Robinson is returning to Southern California to perform at the 19th annual Julian Blues Festival Saturday, June 17.
Hailed as one of “San Diego’s hidden concert gems, the one-day event, held at the 100-year-old Menghini Winery, showcases some of the best and upcoming blues artists from around the country and Southern California. Returning to the stage at the festival after a 10-year absence is Robinson, who blew guests away with his performance at the last time he performed there.
“This will be the third time I played it. The first time, I was 17,” Robinson said. “This will mark the 10-year anniversary of the return of the ‘hometown’ kid.”
Since then, Robinson hasn’t rested on his laurels, he has toured the world and performed in nearly every state in the union with Preacher Stone, all the while turning heads and making a name for himself.
“Since the last time I did the Julian Blues Bash, I’ve made or played on about six albums and did a world tour,” he said. “I have been to every state but Alaska and Montana.”
Robinson said that while it sounds a bit cliché, he has been “very blessed and very fortunate.
“There is not a day that goes by that I take any of it for granted,” he said. “It sure beats digging holes for a living.”
Robinson said he is looking forward to the festival but catching up with friends and family will be a big highlight of the trip for him.
“It’s gonna be cool to be back up on that stage again in front of some people that saw me 10 years ago, but personally for me the most exciting part about it is getting to catch up with friends and getting to see my Ma and hang out with my brothers and pal around with some of my old homies from the neighborhood,” he said. “Just to come back and visit and smack a big festival and party right in the middle of it and that makes for a pretty good weekend!”
Robinson, whose mother is Diane Sieker, a writer with Anza Valley Outlook, said concert goer’s can look forward to a rockin’ good time at the Julian Blues Festival.
“We’re going to kind of mix it up,” he said. “We are going to play some songs off my 2008 album “Best Served loud,’ some blues standards and if all goes well, we are going to have a good time all day.”
For Robinson, being a blues’ hotshot guitarist is not as much about fame and fortune as it is about making good music.
“I knew that I wanted to be a rock star, I never in my wildest dreams could have told you that I would sell sold-out shows in Germany and Sweden,” he said. “If your goal is to set out and become a rock star, you are never going to be a rock star. Your motivation is out of line. The older I get and the more mature I become as a musician, my goal is to write great songs, that is ultimately where it all starts.
Performing along with Robinson, will be Preacher Stone bandmembers Jim Bolt on bass and Josh Wyatt on drums.
Other featured artists at the Julian Blues Festival, sponsored by Robb Bower Presents, will include Philip Sayce from L.A. by way of Toronto. Sayce, according to a Julian Blues Festival press release is, “a very talented Blues guitarist that will leave your jaw hanging open in awe… one of the very best up and coming young Blues guitarists out there nationwide.”
Also performing is The Dennis Jones Band, returning to the stage after a few years of hitting the road, San Diego’s own Earl Thomas, who has been touring the U.S. and Europe, The McCoy Brothers Band, Benji and the Honeycats and The Chris Fast Band.
Gates will open at 10 a.m. with music kicking off five minutes later. The day, which includes wine tastings, affordable adult beverages, barbecue and other delicious food choices, along with craft vendors, will end with an Allstar Jam Session at 7 p.m.
Music fans are invited to bring lawn/beach chairs, a blanket, even an umbrella or a pop-up (those with shade units will be asked to be further back as not to block the sight-line to the stage). No outside food or drink is allowed and sorry no pets are allowed Parking is free and in and out privileges are available once a wristband has been purchased.
Tickets are $35 at the gate, Military w/ I.D and spouse will be $20 each, children 12 and under free and those ages 13 to 18 are only $5.
For more information on the Julian Blues Festival, visit www.robb-bowerpresents.com.
For more information on Ben Robinson, visit www.facebook.com/ben.robinson.
For more information on Preacher Stone, visit preacherstone.com.