music in the park san jose

Full slate of entertainment set Saturday and Sunday for
While there are no headliners, the musical lineup for this weekend’s Mushroom Mardi Gras still promises toe-tappin’ entertainment.

“The bands we do have are highly talented,” said Sunday Minnich, event director. “They are up and coming groups that open for big bands. We still have quality entertainment.”

Keeping with the New Orleans Mardi Gras theme, several of the bands will play southern styles of music including so called “swamp boogie.”

“Most of the bands lean more towards R&B,” Minnich said. “They also play country, swamp rock, and the top 40. There is some real variety in there as well.”

Because this year’s theme is really Mardi Gras – complete with beads, masks, costumed parades through downtown, the entertainment reflects a New Orleans Bourbon Street feel on the Mardi Gras Stage at West Third Street.

Bands will play on one stage located at Third Street in downtown Morgan Hill, the new location for this year’s Mardi Gras moved from Community Park. With the move, festival organizers had to drop the $10 admission charge, reducing funds available for musical entertainment.

A total of seven bands – four bands each day – will entertain the crowds every two hours starting at 11am both days.

The list includes on Saturday, the Bayou Boys (11am), Nichole Cheri (1pm) and Kelly Thibodeaux and the Etouffee Band (4:30pm). On Sunday The James Theroux Band opens at 11am, local Shane Dwight and his band follow at 1pm, then Henry Clements and the Gumbo Band takes the stage at 3pm. Big Fun with Ry Kihn, finishes the weekend at 4:30pm.

Like the event itself, all the musical entertainment will be free.

Included in the line up is Big Fun which includes guitarist Ry Kihn, son of the famed Greg Kihn, in the five member line up.

Big Fun plays a verity of popular hits from the 1980s, 1990s and today. They play songs from Aerosmith, No Doubt, Pink, Jimi Hendrix, Blink 182 and more. They even play a song from Kihn’s father.

Big Fun will be the last band to perform on Sunday, starting at 4:30pm.

Playing both days at 3pm is Henry Clements and the Gumbo Band, playing swamp boogie music during the stage show following the Mardi Gras parade. Clements, also known as Chief Takawaka, has performed over the years with such major artists as Amos Milburn, Fats Domino, Otis Redding, Charles Brown, The ChiLites, Ray Charles, James Brown, Jimmy Smith, B.B. King and others.

The James Theroux Band was originally formed in 1998 by Singer–Songwriter Darren Ellis, who plays guitar in the group. He was joined by California Slim, bass guitar, mandolin, vocals and songwriter, and they formed the band. The band also features Tom Vicson, Lead Guitar, Mike Stave, fiddle, Rick Kaven drums, and Jeremy Long keyboards.

The James Theroux Band drawn from varied influences as Woody Guthrie Jimmie Rodgers, Merle Haggard and Johnny. The band has opened for such greats as Wayne “the Train” Hancock, Junior Brown, Hank Williams III, Dave Alvin and The Guilty Men and The Radiators.

Kelly Thibodeaux and the Etouffee Band feature a combination of fiddle, rhythm and blues and southern rock which makes up the swamp rock sound. According to their web site their music “will roll you down Bourbon Street or lead you into the darkest swamps, music so eminently danceable almost no one – young or old – can resist.”

Nichole Cheri and the GroundBreakers consists of featured singer, four time California State Vocal Champion Cheri and four musicians who have worked from New York to California with such names as B.B. King, Tommy Castro, The Tramps, The Buckinghams and Billy Joel. Their music spans the decades starting in the 1940s through today, including several classic rock songs and original pieces.

The Bayou Boys blend Zydeco, New Orleans Rhythm and Blues, and Cajun into their performances. Lead singer Ron Bombardier sings in Cajun French, Creole French and English. Drummer Tony Dey played with Van Morrison and Linda Ronstadt, among others.

Blues artist Shane Dwight has played in blues festivals all over California, Nevada and Oregon.

Dwight, who has been in the spot light for the past two years, has also appeared in county fairs, Disneyland theme parks and opened for major country, blues and rock stars.

He has shared the bill with world class acts such as The Supremes, Jefferson Starship, Terrie Clark, The Greg Kihn Band, Dennis Quaid, Indigenous, Brad Gillis of Ozzy Osbourne, Night Ranger, Johnny Winter and John Lee Hooker Jr.

Fifteen scholarships were awarded this year, out of the 194 high school seniors who applied. Each student will receive $1,000 as they move on to college next year.

In addition, $1000 will be given to Central High School and the Community Adult School, in June. Family, relatives, friends and the general public will be able to meet these outstanding students at the main stage, located on West Third Street, on Saturday and Sunday at 12:30pm each day.

For details on the Mardi Gras events and links to the bands’ web sites, go to and click on entertainment under the Mardi Gras events tab.

The Mushroom Mardi Gras will be Saturday and Sunday from 10am-6pm in downtown Morgan Hill between Main and Dunne avenues along Monterey Road. Admission is free.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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