ARCADIA — The first annual Southern California MADCatfish Blues Festival will be held Labor Day weekend, this Saturday and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Santa Anita Park.

Versatile guitarist Yu Ooka will take the stage Saturday at 11 a.m., along with a band that includes keyboardist Kimo Cornwell, Rob McDonald on bass and vocals, drummer Kenny Elliott, and special guests singer Brenda Lee Eager and keyboard innovator Billy Mitchell.

Yu Ooka (Photo by Albert Lien)
Yu Ooka (Photo by Albert Lien)

A native of Osaka, Ooka is a founder of the contemporary Japanese folk music group Minyo Station. He joined Mitchell’s jazz fusion ensemble and honed his craft performing with one of the legends of the genre.

Also accomplished on the shamisen, Ooka has toured in Japan and the U.S., and has performed with such artists as Barbara Morrison, Patrice Rushen, A Taste of Honey, Freda Payne, Michael Paulo, Eric Marienthal, Garret Morris, Dr. Bobby Rodriguez and Boy Katindi.

On Saturday evening from 7 to 10 p.m., Juke Joint, An Evening of Comedy & Blues, will be held in the Santa Anita Park Concourse Room. Santa Anita Park concessions will be offering food and beverages,along with a full bar and thematic drinks for purchase throughout the day, including: MADCatfish Mimosas, Margaritas, Bloody Marys and Metropolitans.

Tickets for one-day admission to the Southern California MADCatfish Blues Festival are $40 each for general admission, $65 each for a premium ticket, which includes preferred parking, and $150 each for a VIP Private Terrace ticket, which includes VIP seating, valet parking, a gourmet lunch and non-alcoholic beverage, and admission to the Juke Joint event. Two-day passes are $75, $115 and $250, respectively. Tickets for groups of eight or more are also available at a 20 percent discount per ticket.

Visit for more information.

Santa Anita Park is located along the historic Route 66, adjacent to the 210 Foothill Freeway and Westfield Santa Anita Shopping Mall. Use the Gate 5 entrance for easy access to the Clubhouse entrance.

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