Gator By The Bay Festival Returns To San Diego For Its 14th Year | Zydeco, Blues And Crawfish Festival Takes Place May 7-10

April 17, 2015

It’s Mardi Gras in May! Get that New Orleans culture without leaving San Diego at the 14th annual Gator By The Bay, taking place Thursday, May 7 through Sunday, May 10, at Spanish Landing Park across from the San Diego Airport. The largest, most authentic Louisiana-themed music and food festival this side of the bayou, Gator By The Bay is presented by San Diego’s Bon Temps Social Club and features four days of live music with over 85 musical acts on six stages, along with 10,000 pounds of crawfish trucked from Louisiana, non-stop dancing, shopping, playing and eating on the beautiful San Diego Bay. We are giving away two tickets to attend on Friday, May 8. Keep reading for all the details and be sure to enter.

Dance floors will be filled with thousands of pairs of feet, twirling to Cajun waltzes, two-stepping to a lively creole zydeco beat, swinging and jitterbugging to blues and boogie-woogie, or moving to spicy Latin sounds.

“This is a festival where there is something for everyone. I can guarantee that you will discover something that you haven’t seen, heard or tasted before,” said Peter Oliver, a Gator By The Bay producer.

Since its inception in 2001, Gator By The Bay has grown to showcase not only Grammy winning Cajun and zydeco artists directly from Louisiana, but also legendary Chicago and California blues artists, rockabilly and roots performers and award-winning salsa and Latin bands. This year, guests will enjoy an expanded schedule of 85 eclectic musical performances on six stages. With approximately 20,000 attendees, the festival is an annual must-do for enthusiasts of all ages who come from all over the world.

The festival will kick off with a concert headlined by BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet on Thursday, May 7 from 6-10pm. Since forming in 1975, Grammy winners BeauSoleil have claimed their undisputed role as the most esteemed Cajun group in music. BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet take the rich Cajun traditions of Louisiana and artfully blend elements of zydeco, New Orleans jazz, Tex-Mex, country, blues and more into a satisfying musical recipe.

Musical headliners this year include: Three time Grammy winners BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet, perhaps the best nationally known Cajun band in the country, having appeared on NPR’s Prairie Home Companion more times than any other musical guest; Multiple Grammy nominated Cajun band Pine Leaf Boys; Rising Louisiana zydeco artists Terry & the Zydeco Bad Boys; Super-hot Houston zydeco band Brian Jack & the Zydeco Gamblers; Wildly popular Bay Area blues/jazz/roots music artists California Honeydrops; Chicago Blues legends Corky Siegel, Sam Lay, Barry Goldberg, and Marcella Detroit; Fabulous Thunderbirds blues alumni Kid Ramos and Kim Wilson with Blues; Music Award winner Kid Andersen; New Orleans rockabilly stars Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue; Los Angeles based Argentinian salsa band, Los Pinguos; and a full roster of local favorites including Johnny Vernazza, Sue Palmer, Missy Andersen, Bayou Brothers, Euphoria Brass Band, Big John Anderson, Zydeco Mudbugs, Theo & the Zydeco Patrol, Billy Lee & the Swamp Critters, Manny Cepeda, Bill Magee and many, many more.

The festival boasts five wooden dance floors with 3,000 square foot dance floors at each of the two main stages. Dancing is strongly encouraged with free lessons throughout the day.

The French Quarter Food Court features the authentic tastes of Louisiana, with many vendors making the cross-country trip especially for the festival. Revelers will fill up on fresh Louisiana-raised crawfish, boudin sausage, catfish, alligator, barbecue and oysters. There will be mouth watering Louisiana favorites as gumbo, jambalaya, po’ boys and etouffe. For dessert there are beignets, sweet potato pie, homemade ice cream, pralines and bread pudding.

All areas of the festival are open to children to enjoy the music, color, spirit and activities of the festival. Special activities include participating in the costumed Mardi-Gras parades and making outrageous hats with the Rad Hatter.

Retail therapy is offered by carefully selected vendors in the market area, featuring art, hand-made jewelry, dancing shoes, clothing and accessories and Mardi Gras-inspired goods and clothing.

On the intimate Bayou Grove Stage, visiting musicians tell the stories about the heritage of their crafts. In the Food Pavilion, Louisiana and local chefs give cooking demos and tastings.

Thursday night concert tickets range in price from $25 to $95. Festival tickets range from $35 to $40, with discounts available for advance purchase and multiday passes. Children 17 and under are admitted free with a paid adult. Patron passes include access to the Patron Reception Area including a complimentary meal, personal meet and greet with festival headliners, complimentary craft beer from Redhook Brewery, select wines, soft drinks and water, private shaded seating and upgraded restrooms and additional reserved shaded seating near both main stages. This is available for $120 per day (Saturday or Sunday) or $200 for both days.

Financial support for Gator By The Bay is provided in part by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and the County of San Diego Community Enhancement program. Additional support is provided by the Port of San Diego, Redhook Brewing Company and The San Diego Reader. The festival is presented in part by the Louisiana Office of Tourism and their affiliate tourism bureaus. Find all festival, ticket, lodging, parking and free shuttle info at