San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Music Beat

After three-year hiatus, Blues Festival plays in Guanacaste

Prepare yourself for some foot-tapping, head-bobbing, hand-clapping good times: After a three-year hiatus, the Costa Rica Blues Festival will play for one full day in Guanacaste.

Gestated across the United States, blues music has gained exponential popularity in Costa Rica over the past decade, thanks to a trickle of expat musicians and a growing enthusiasm for its countrified, bass-heavy ballads. The concert will showcase such acclaimed Costa Rica-based bands as The Blues Devils, The Leatherbacks, Sugarland Brass Company, Three for Blues Band, and MG and the Blues Burners.

The festival also draws international talent, including guitarist Little Ray Ybarra from the United States and Donnie Walsh from Canada. (Walsh is usually credited as the “Father of Canadian Blues.”)

A similar blues festival took place at El Sótano in San José last August, where a familial group of musicians came together to entertain a nearly sold-out crowd. The unique pleasure of the 5th Annual Blues Festival in Guanacaste is its location – Buena Vista Beach Restaurant, located on the sandy shores of Playa Potrero. You can expect your gritty chords and improvised solos to be accompanied by a spectacular Pacific sunset.

While down-home music is the main event, the Blues Festival is also a fundraiser for two community organizations, Casa Brasilito and Abriendo Mentes, which offer young students instruction in literacy, technology, music and visual arts.

Blues Festival takes place Feb. 28 at Buena Vista Beach Restaurant, Playa Portrero, Guanacaste. 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. 10,000 presale, $25 at the door, children under 12 free. Info: Event Facebook page.

Contact Robert Isenberg at

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