Is Vallejo Ready for an old-school funk festival? – Times Herald Online

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A weekend of smooth jazz and rock and roll with the Mare Island breeze and sunshine is perfect for September.

Jeff Trager, music promotor for over 50 years, and Kevin Frazier, General Manager of Vallejo’s Empress Theatre and a former musician himself, have combined their musical backgrounds to present Vallejo with a weekend of diverse melodies.

Mare Island Company and Frazier Trager’s third annual Dock of Bay Music Festival is back at Mare Island with rock, jazz, and soul bands – Morris Day and the Time, Con Funk Shun, Average White Band, Cold Blood with Lydia Pense, The California Honeydrops, Fantastic Negrito, Monophonics, The Altons, and more.

Larry 'Brother Love' Florman, right, sings with Alex Haddad and Them Vibes as they perform at the Mare Island Dock of Bay Music Festival on Saturday in Vallejo. (Chris Riley/Times-Herald)
Larry ‘Brother Love’ Florman, right, sings with Alex Haddad and Them Vibes as they perform at the 2022 Mare Island Dock of Bay Music Festival in Vallejo. (Chris Riley/Times-Herald file)

Frazier and Trager believe Mare Island is an exemplary venue for a music festival with the goal of over 300 concertgoers.

“Mare Island was a perfect spot for it because of the expanse of that promenade out there,” said Frazier. “It’s a gorgeous location that looks across at the Vallejo Marina. They’ve already gotten a lot of stuff going on the Vallejo Marina side – the Vallejo Waterfront Festival and the Pirate Festivals, but there really hasn’t been a whole lot going on in Mare Island.”

The festival will be the first time The Average White Band and Morris Day and the Time will perform in Vallejo. Trager is thrilled about the upcoming festival and bringing a variety of talents to acts to Vallejo.

Seen from a view on top of the Neverwas Haul, Dumpstaphunk performs during a past Mare Island Dock of Bay music festival on Saturday. (Chris Riley/Times-Herald)
Seen from a view on top of the Neverwas Haul, Dumpstaphunk performs during a past Mare Island Dock of Bay music festival. (Chris Riley/Times-Herald file)

“How great this is for the whole city of Vallejo and Mare Island,” said Trager. “This event is just what we need around here. It’s been a long time since Scott Foster was bringing in performers like James Brown, The Isley Brothers, Stevie Nicks, and The Spinners at the Fairgrounds.”

The duo takes pride in the quality of The Dock of Bay Festival.

“We put on a great production,” said Frazier. “That’s the one thing that everybody really has gotten to know in the last three years. We do it big. We’ve brought out a $20,000 stage that’s got a video wall. It’s all top-quality audio. And this year we’re bringing some of the best acts.”

Frazier and Trager share a deep affection for music and live performances.

“We started this festival due to our desire to bring more people together,” says Frazier. “Both of us love live music. We love it when we see an audience in a crowd. There’s nothing like that feeling. You can’t get that when you’re watching live streams on TV. You can’t get that same feeling when you’re listening to it on your phone or in your headphones. When you’re out there and the music is live and they’re on stage, you’re part of that crowd, and feel the crowd’s energy. Not only does the band play off of that energy, but the crowd feels that energy. That’s driven Jeff and me to be part of that and to try and make bigger and bigger experiences for people.”

The Dock of Bay Festival takes place on Sept. 9-10 at 850 Nimitz Avenue. For tickets and further information, visit dockofbayfest.com/.

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