October 2, 2014

Moonshine Bandits, 1980's Pop Favorites ABC at Cave

Big names—1980’s pop icons ABC and the Moonshine Bandits—highlight the October marquee at The Cave Big Bear.

Then the near-new facility, which opened its doors less than a year-and-a-half ago, closes its doors for 20 days or so to get its first major renovation. By the time country star Colt Ford takes the stage November 1, the state-of-the-art facility will offer three-tier seating instead of its current stadium design, another full bar and even more of a nightclub feel.

First up though are two great shows, starting with MOONSHINE BANDITS on Saturday, Oct. 4. The band’s music reflects its Central California hard-driving roots, ranging from country rap on songs like "For the Outlawz" to the hit song "Get Loose." It’s a unique sound to be sure, a blend of West Coast beat and country twang, West Coast hip/hop and rap.

The band’s live show features originals like "My Kind of Country," "Whiskey River" and "We All Country" plus unique versions of other songs. Like Garth Brooks’ "Friends in Low Places" backed by a hip-hop driven beat. "Calicountry," the debut disc for Moonshine Bandits on Average Joes Entertainment/Suburban Noize Records released earlier this year, features more of the band’s driving, good-time music sound, on songs like "California Country" and the party anthem "Throwdown."

"A lot of our music is hell-raising music," band member Tex said. "Our guitars are very loud and our bass is pretty heavy. It’s very much in-you-face kind of music that you can party down to."

It’s no coincidence that moonshine and whiskey are themes; Tex’s great-grandfather was a bootlegger in the Bay area who used his barbershop as a front. "My great-aunt was actually pedaling it in baby carriages to politicians during prohibition," Tex said. He is continuing the family tradition, albeit legally, by endorsing moonshine distilled in Modesto by Valley Spirits Distillery, 99 proof, un-aged whiskey available in original, apple pie and peach.

Yet Moonshine Bandits are all about the music and their live shows have created legions of loyal fans. The band has over 15 million YouTube views, with a fan favorite video on CMT.com that hit #1 and on CMT’s High Five countdown that reached #2.

The concert is a prelim to Moonshine Bandits’ "Rebels on the Run" 26-city tour visiting top western venues, kicking off in San Diego in December. Tickets are just $13 for the 7:30 p.m. show or $25 VIP.

1980s pop favorites at The Cave Big Bear October 10, 2014Friday, Oct. 10 sees pop favorites ABC take the Cave stage. Formed in 1980 the band is known for songs like Top 10 U.S. hit "Be Near Me," plus "Tears are Not Enough," "Poison Arrow," "Look of Love" and many more. Lead vocalist and original member Martin Fry helped ABC take new wave and new romantic music to a new level with moving lyrics.

"When Smokey Sings," a tribute to Smokey Robinson, was another huge hit for the band along with "How to Be a Millionaire." ABC is more than just an iconic pop band though; in 2009 ABC performed its 1982 debut album Lexicon of Love live at the Royal Albert Hall, accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra, to magnificent reviews. ABC traveled the country in 2008 and 2009 during Regeneration Tours joined by acts like Cutting Crew, A Flock of Seagulls and others to rave reviews and continues to perform around the world. ABC has five U.S. Top 40 hit singles, ten in the United Kingdom and Fry remains one of music’s premier showmen.. Tickets $30, VIP $50.

Mostly headliners are on the marquee once The Cave reopens, starting with Ford on Nov. 1. Six of Ford’s tunes have made the Hot Country Songs charts including "Back" from the Declaration of Independence album which broke into the Top 40. "Dirt Road Anthem" is another hit.

Marshall Tucker Band on Nov. 8, legendary performer Edgar Winter on Nov. 22 and surf guitar master Dick Dale on Nov 28 are other upcoming headliners at The Cave. Every seat is front and center at The Cave, which has the feel of an intimate nightclub with full cocktail service, including local wine from Stone Summit Winery and beers from Big Bear Lake Brewing Co., yet offers concert-quality state-of-the-art sound, lighting and special effects like laser lights and fog machines.

The Cave; 40789 Village Dr. (877) 825-4388 or www.thecavebigbear.com.

October 2, 2014

Big Bear Oktoberfest on `Express' Track till Oct. 25

The nationally-renowned Doo Wah Riders are playing a show and they’re not even on the main stage. There’s not one but two "Express" bands, an unplugged session and Halloween Spooktacular.

Express Band members on the dance floor at Big Bear Oktoberfest44th annual Big Bear Oktoberfest’s prime season is October and a full slate of activities comes with it. Oktoberfest queen competition heats up before building to a crescendo with the Oct. 11 finals, Cripple Creek Cloggers perform two weekends and there’s nonstop music and contests on stages inside and out. No wonder AOL, Ski Magazine, LowerFares.com and AskMen.com have all listed Big Bear Oktoberfest #1 in Southern California and in the Top 10 best festivals in the country. (Click Here to read the official souvenir magazine online)

Aalbachtal-Express, second of two direct-from-Germany bands, gets the month off to a roaring start for three shows Oct. 3-5. Beginning with the only Friday Local’s Night from 6 p.m.-midnight—though you don’t have to be a Big Bear resident to get in. Admission is $5 or $3 with two nonperishable food items and the popular Big Bear Polka Tots also perform.

From Southern Germany. the 11-member Aalbachtal-Express is the largest band to ever play at Big Bear Oktoberfest, producing every note live and is famous for authenticity and upbeat performances. For over 35 years Aalbachtal-Express has entertained audiences during hundreds of performances through Europe.

From brass band music to contemporary chart favorites, the band has played at festivals and Oktoberfests not just in Germany but throughout Europe, even for soldiers at NATO base in Naples. The band was a hit at Oktoberfest Brasov, largest such festival in Romania, and has also played in Poland and France.

The following weekend Oct. 11-12 the "other" Express Band takes the stage Saturdays and Sundays through the Oct. 25 closing finale. For some 25 now The Express has entertained listeners under the pine trees with polkas and waltzes, Top 40 tunes and country western, always reaching deep into its never-end song book to provide just the right music no matter what the audience’s mood is. During the afternoon the sound is polka, but by 7 p.m. it’s Top 40 and old-time rock and roll.

The Express livens things up even more when members take their wireless instruments out into the crowd. "I’ll go out with my horn or vocals for yodels to get the crowd going," says Juergen Schwarz of The Express. "People seem to eat up, like it’s bigger than life. It can cause problems though, because the further away from the stage I get there’s a millisecond time delay from when people hear the music."

The two signature songs are "Rookie Zookie" and naturally the Chicken Dance. The former is a band favorite and a Big Bear original, with a flair of the Hokey Pokey thrown in, and on a hopping Saturday night the crowd gets into it with nary an inch of space on the floor. There’s even a special version just for the ladies.

"The exciting thing about Oktoberfest in Big Bear is that instead of being just a dance band, we get to be more of a show band," Schwarz says. "It’s my favorite place to do a show, great fun to interact with the people and see them engaged." The Express also gets to play its fair share of Oktoberfest’s total of 456 chicken dances.

Big Bear Oktoberfest is on Saturdays from noon-midnight (admission $18, $12 seniors, $8 children). Sundays are family days from noon-5:30 p.m. with children 12 and under admitted for free and adults $9, $5 seniors. Clip the coupon for FREE Sunday adult admission on page 9. Purchase Saturday admission online and get Sunday admission for free! Prepurchase tickets include priority entry.

Prepurchase tickets online at www.bigbearevents.com or call the Convention Center at (909) 585-3000.

September 23, 2014

Sounds, Swag, Summer Snow at HD&HR

Sounds, swag and snow—tons and tons of it!—combine to create the industry’s largest winter kickoff party during the 11th annual Hot Dawgz and Hand Rails at Bear Mountain on Saturday, September 27.

Top pro riders on summer snow at Hot Dawgz and Hand RailsThe first big winter party comes during summer and is back bigger than ever to mark a decade of preseason fun. Watch 40 top professional snowboarders compete on an expanded event course that includes a sprawling urban-style layout that puts spectators in the middle of all the action. Judges include Bear Mountain team riders Joe Sexton, Chris Bradshaw, Scott Stevens and special guest judge Dave Downing.

Bear Mountain’s jib factory has been hard at work all summer to create new park features for HD&HR that in turn the public gets to enjoy on the slopes in the Red Bull Plaza during winter. With sponsor booth city featuring dozens of brands, tons of swag from generous sponsors, season pass sale, DJs on The Deck, variety of games and Beach Bar in full operation, a nonstop party is on tap from morning till dusk with snowboard competition beginning at 2 p.m. Sponsors include Red Bull, GoPro, Electric, Neff, ThirtyTwo and many other snowboard brands.

Making it all possible is over 140 tons of summer snow made by Union Ice Co., which feeds 300 lb. blocks of ice into chipping machines that turn it into beautiful snow, with nothing added—100% the real deal. Usually the company makes snow for Hollywood film and commercial makers as special effects, but it has also provided white stuff for the X Games and the snow is competition-quality.

Enjoy the party on the famous 13,000 sq. ft. deck at Beach and Tiki Bars or Rail View BBQ and Aloha Chill and Grill, where there’s DJs including Power 106 Flava Unit DJ Slip Matt and DJ Matty-MO. Plus Snowboarder Magazine will do a live webcast.

As an added incentive for skiers and snowboarders to show up, Bear Mountain and Snow Summit resorts are rolling season pass prices back to early "Screamin’ Deal" levels. With discounts of a hundred dollars or more, pass prices are essentially what they were in the 1990’s, starting at just $189 and up. But you have to be there to get in on the deals so arrive early—pass sale is 9 a.m.-6 p.m.—hook up with a season pass, then enjoy.

New this year, purchase a season pass and automatically be entered to win some $5,000 in prizes like free lodging packages, resort gift cards and more. There’s also a big sale at Ice Box Sports Shop including up to 50% off selected outerwear from last season. Admission is free. (909) 866-5766 or www.bearmtn.com.

September 11, 2014

Save a buck at Oktoberfest opening weekend

Beat the October rush by visiting Big Bear Oktoberfest during September weekends for off-peak pricing and fewer crowds.

Not only is September admission cheaper, there’s two direct from Germany bands playing during the month. The famous Big Bear Polka Tots, who have charmed generations with their waltzes perform two weekends in September as well with Joyful Noise Cloggers dancing on Sept. 20-21 and D’Oberlander Dancers performing Sept. 27-28.

Opening weekend September 13-14 is again a tribute to America’s Heroes, with free admission for badge-carrying past and present military, law enforcement, and firefighters. Ceremonies at 4 p.m. pay special tribute to America’s troops. Bear Valley Marine Corp color guard presents the flag, the first keg is officially tapped, and the Big Bear Polka Tots and high school choir perform.

The Express Band opens Big Bear Oktoberfest, voted number one in California by AOL, playing Saturday from noon-midnight and Sunday from noon-5:30. Prepurchase tickets for opening weekend and save two bucks off September mission prices of $14, $10 senior, $8 children those Saturdays.

The best way to save a buck when you cluck is with the coupon for free Sunday adult admission in Big Bear Today Magazine, available free at fine locations in Big Bear—a savings of up to $9 for adults, $5 for seniors. Or download the coupon in PDF format and print right from your computer at ww.. bigbeartodaymag.com..

September 8, 2014

2 German Bands, Stages at 2014 Oktoberfest

October gets all the hype, but September is the best month to enjoy Big Bear Oktoberfest.

German bands and entertainment at 2014 Big Bear OktoberfestSeptember admission is cheaper, it’s when the German bands are here the most—and in 2014 there’s two!—and crowds are lighter. Yet so many people only think of Oktoberfest in October, they pack the Convention Center those weekends and forget that the event’s seven weekend run actually begins weeks earlier.

The 44th annual Big Bear Oktoberfest again kicks off with "American Heroes" weekend on September 13-14, featuring an All-American patriotic tribute to the troops on Saturday at 4 p.m. Past and present badge-carrying personnel including military, law enforcement and firefighters plus their immediate families receive free admission. All kinds of surprises are in store including Bear Valley Marine Corp color guard presenting the flag, Big Bear High School’s choir sings the national anthem, dancing by the Polka Tots and the official tapping of the first keg.

The Express Band is the logical choice to get the seven-week celebration of the seasons kicked off. Southern California’s premiere German festival band, The Express has entertained listeners for nearly 25 years. Armed with polkas and waltzes, Top 40 tunes and country western, The Express always reaches deep into its never-ending song book to provide just the right music, no matter what the audience’s mood is. During the afternoon the sound is more polka, after dark more Top 40, country and rock and roll. The Express returns for the final three weekends Oct. 11-12, 18-19 and closing night’s Halloween "Spooktacular" on Oct. 25.

The first of not one but two direct-from-Germany bands takes the stage for Oktoberfest’s second weekend, Sept. 20-21. Goldeizen Band features four brothers who play German rock with a folk music touch. The band is wildly popular at Oktoberfests as well as apres ski in Bavarian lodges. Goldeizen drew international acclaim in 2012 with hits hit song "Pepperoni" which will be on the Big Bear playlist and in 2013 had two songs nominated for the Best Oktoberfest Hits CD produced annually by Munich Oktoberfest. On vocals and accordion is Hartl Goldeizen, joined by brothers Sepp on guitar, Jackl on bass and Alois on percussion.

On the third weekend you can see a different German band each day! First time in Big Bear Oktoberfest’s 44 years that’s happened. Goldeizen plays Saturday, Sept. 27 before Aalbachtal-Express Band from Southern Germany takes over Sunday, Sept. 28. The 11-member band is the largest to ever play at Big Bear Oktoberfest, producing every note live and is famous for authenticity and upbeat performances.

For over 35 years Aalbachtal-Express has entertained audiences during hundreds of performances through Europe. From brass band music to contemporary chart favorites the band has played throughout festivals and Oktoberfests in not just Germany but throughout Europe, even for soldiers at NATO base in Naples. The band was a hit at Oktoberfest Brasov, largest such festival in Romania, and has also played in Poland and France.

The Spaten Rocktoberfest Stage was such a hit last year outside under the pines, with live bands every Saturday, that it has been expanded for 2014. Some Saturdays feature two band doubleheaders with some top bands, the biggest being nationally renowned Doo Wah Riders on Oct. 11. This month’s lineup includes local favorites Skeleton Key on Sept. 13, plus Jimmy Reid Project and the Blue Henrys on Sept. 27.

In the Bier Garten there’s contests like shoot `n yodel and beer pong. Catch Oktoberfest’s Sports Bar under the pines, where there’s all the big game action on big screen TVs, or soak up suds and grilled bratwursts on the outdoor patio. Also outdoors is the Warsteiner Garten plus Budenstrasse (Avenue of the Booths) with carnival games, unique shopping and food.

Once the funs starts at Oktoberfest it never ends, each Saturday (noon-midnight) and Sunday (noon-5:30 p.m.) plus one Local’s Night on Friday, Oct. 3 when admission is just $5 or $3 with two nonperishable food items. Big Bear Oktoberfest continues to draw accolades as one of the top events of its kind in the country. AOL, Ski Net, Low Fares.com, Ask Men.com and many others have ranked Big Bear’s fall celebration right there with famous Oktoberfests in Boston, Milwaukee and Colorado.

September admission is $14 on Saturdays, $10 seniors and $6 children, $7, $5 and free on Sundays. Clip the coupon for FREE Sunday adult admission on page 11. Call Convention Center at (909) 585-3000 or www.BigBearEvents.com..

September 4, 2014

Mrs. Robinson, U2 Tribute at The Cave

After a "Summer of Stars" featuring headliners like Jefferson Starship and Bill Medley, there’s some awesome tributes to U2, Jim Morrison and The Eagles at The Cave Big Bear in September...and more big names are on the way.

Like 1980’s pop band ABC, known for hits like "Be Near Me," "When Smokey Sings" and "Poison Arrow," on October 10. Country star Colt Ford on November 1. Marshall Tucker Band on Nov. 8. Surf guitar legend Dick Dale Nov 28.

Dance to ultimate cover band Mrs. Robinson at The Cave Big BearMeanwhile this month’s schedule features some great acts starting with ultimate cover party band Mrs. Robinson on Saturday, Sept. 6. Composed of heavy-hitting musicians who put on an incredible show, Mrs. Robinson plays basically everything, from rock and roll and pop to disco and today’s hits, Led Zeppelin to Amy Winehouse, guaranteeing the dance floor gets plenty of action.

Mrs. Robinson is comprised of Los Angeles-based professionals who have recorded and toured with Guns and Roses, Aerosmith, Christina Aguilera, Alice Cooper, Cher, Edgar Winter, Carole King, Billy Bob Thornton, Quiet Riot and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. The band is fronted by two red-hot twin redheads, Paula and Pamela Mattioli. Each has hit the airwaves with songs from their own bands, Gypsy Queen and Cellmates, and most recently they fronted rock and soul band Jack Mack and the Heart Attack.

The girls have worked with some of the biggest producers in the business, from Sir George Martin of Beatles fame to David Foster, Keith Olson and Jack Douglas. Watching them interact with each other is worth the admission—tickets are just $20, VIP $30—in itself. And even if you’ve never seen Mrs. Robinson, you’ve probably heard Paula sing; she performed the famous "Smelly Cat" song on "Friends."

Wild Child’s Tribute a week later is a celebration of Jim Morrison and few are as good at presenting it. Wild Child lead singer Dave Brock fronted the touring act "Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger of The Doors," for three years from 2010-13, the ultimate compliment indeed coming from two Rock `N Roll Hall of Fame musicians. Obviously this is no ordinary tribute band; Wild Child shows are the closest thing to a real 1960’s Doors concert out there featuring top musicians and performers. Tickets are $20, VIP $35.

A true American original is at The Cave Friday, October 19. Country singer and guitarist JUNIOR BROWN has recorded nine studio albums, twice reaching Billboard country charts. Songs like "My Wife Thinks You’re Dead" and "Highway Patrol" have propelled his career, as has his prowess for playing his "guit-steel" double neck guitar.

Brown’s music has been showcased on TV shows and movie soundtracks, ranging from the 2005 Dukes of Hazard film (he was also the narrator) to "Me, Myself and Irene" and "SpongeBob SquarePants." Tickets are $20.

One night later on Sept. 20 is an awesome tribute to legendary band U2. Hollywood U2 was seen on AXS.tv’s "The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands" and was nominated as Best Tribute Artist 2014 by Los Angeles Music Awards. The band has performed U2’s many hits in front of audiences of 10,000 or more around the world, from the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Panama to Mexico, Honduras and Singapore. Tickets are just ten bucks or VIP are $30.

Desperado presents the many hits of one of the country’s greatest bands on Sept. 26. The premier Eagles tribute band has played in Las Vegas including Fremont Street Experience and the Peppermill Casino in Reno and presents the supergroup’s many hits plus lesser-known songs.

Every seat is front and center at The Cave, which has the feel of an intimate nightclub with full cocktail service, including local wine from Stone Summit Winery and beers from Big Bear Lake Brewing Co., yet offers concert-quality state-of-the-art sound, lighting and special effects like laser lights and fog machines.

The Cave; Big Bear 40789 Village Dr. (877) 825-4388 or www.thecavebigbear.com.

August 29, 2014

Craft Show, Safari Mark Labor Day 2014

Summer’s last major holiday features an array of activities around Big Bear besides the 26th annual Mountain Treasures Quilt Show.

Crafters and artists from the western United States will be selling wares and demonstrating crafts during Fall Fest at the Convention Center two days only August 30-31. From handmade jewelry to homemade jams, vintage clothing to unique soaps and lotions, there’s something for every taste and budget.

There’s fun for the entire family with children’s activities like carnival games, face painting and bounce house. Don’t miss live entertainment each day from noon-4 p.m. featuring local favorites Skeleton Key.

Hang out on Southern California’s highest elevation beer garden patio, the perfect spot under the pine trees. Wyatt’s Cafe & Saloon is open with a full menu of its famous ranch style food. A wide selection of beers on tap are available including German offerings in anticipation of the 44th annual Big Bear Oktoberfest from September 13-October 25.

Fall Fest is 10 a.m.-5 p.m. each day and admission is free. The Convention Center is on the boulevard at Division; call (909) 585-3000.

Step back in time a couple hundred years to the days of trappers and fur traders when Big Horn Mountain Men hold their 31st annual Living History Encampment at Holcomb Valley Scout Ranch. Teepees and old accoutrements help create a pre-1840 North American fur trade camp open to visitors Aug. 29-Sept. 1 and 5-6. There’s lots of cool activities including muzzleloader shooting demonstrations—shoot one yourself! In addition see skillful displays with tomahawks, knives, and primitive archery plus trader’s row with fun items, all in historic Holcomb Valley.

Rendezvous is from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. at Holcomb Valley Boy Scout Camp; from Discovery Center head west to Polique Canyon 2N09 and follow signs to the camp, where there’s free parking and no Adventure Pass required. Admission is $5, 11 and under free. Call (951) 780-9331 or Discovery Center (866-3437).

Ice Cream Safari is at Big Bear Alpine Zoo is on Saturday, Aug. 30 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. or until all the treats are gone. Regular zoo admission of $12, $6 senior/child, under three free gets guests in and $5 buys five scoops of ice cream. Call (909) 878-4200.

August 12, 2014

Jests, Jousts During 3 Ren Faire Weekends

See days of old and knights so bold during the 13th annual Big Bear Renaissance Faire, held three weekends on August 2-3, 9-10 and 16-17.

Live contact action jousting at Big Bear Renaissance FaireThe Faire is under the pines at historic Pedersen Sawmill site on the north shore in Fawnskin. Watch knights engage in live contact jousting on horseback, plus there’s nonstop medieval entertainment, royal court and fabulous food at the enchanted shire from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Strolling entertainers and jugglers, midsummer fairy forest children’s area, new pirate fortress and living history encampments and demonstrations bring William Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth I to life. Queen Elizabeth should be on hand with her royal court The Guild of Saint Olaf; Her Majesty has beefed up security with the French battle guild so beware...

Over 20 entertainment groups performing on six stages means there’s never a dull moment at Renaissance Faire. One of the most popular attractions is the full contact live jousting provided by the world champion Knights of Mayhem, who have performed at Renaissance and Scottish Faires throughout the Southland. The Knights were featured on the television reality series of the same name, including world champion Charlie Andrews.

This ain’t no dinner show; the action is real with real competitors wearing 130 pounds of steel armor, charging on 2,000 lb. horses at each other bearing solid hemlock lances...all while peering through quarter-inch eye slots in their helmets!

Knights promote honor and chivalry with feats of riding, jousting and swordplay, fun entertainment for all ages. It’s bone-crunching, no-holds-barred competition that is 100% real, not pre-scripted with a predetermined winner. Shows feature vivid color, falls, fights, galloping horses and spectacular stunts.

Then there’s Ciran the gypsy magician, fun for all ages, while the Belles of Bedlam make merry in a show that’s a romp through the daily lives of sister who own an inn. Musicians and magicians, singers, jugglers, belly dancers...they’re all here, eight new groups for 2014..

The Universe According to Galileo is always a fun time with the master. Of course there’s plenty of good grub and grog...but beware of ripples in time. The Queen’s Tea and Warriors Table sold out last year so get tickets through Eventbrite now. And look for Suspended Reality in the fairy garden, flying the trees above.

Learn the history of ship repair and other historical tidbits from Argus Armstrong, and for the kids Captain Jack’s Pirate Stories entertain with tall tales of masts and the high seas plus there’s El Moro the pirate magician. Storytelling with Victoria Goring is a highlight as are upclose wildlife presentations by Moonridge Animal Park. Amy Farrell is full of facts and figures and Gallows Humor offers macabre funnies. There’s also "Shakespeare Unplugged" by Passado Action Theatre, accurate if somewhat irreverent presentations of classics like Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and others. The vignettes are filled with bawdy humor, physical comedy and outrageous swordplay...but some serious moments too.

The marketplace is packed with vendors, where wares can be purchased, from pewter steins to potions, mystical healers, and brews by Dragonmarsh. There’s Renaissance clothing, jester costumes, braided belts and pouches, even battle-ready, tournament-quality swords and armor, masks, metals, and mystics.

When hunger strikes there’s food and drink a’ plenty, like chicken, roast beef or pulled pork barbecue sandwiches. Smoked turkey legs are faire favorites and there’s bacon wrapped pork chops on a stick. Plus funnel cake, caramel apple wedges, kettle korn and more.

Admission is $15 for adults, $26 buys a weekend pass and season passes are $73 (senior/student/military $12, $20 and $55 respectively), five and under free.

For tickets call the Visitors Bureau at (800) 424-4232 or www.bbvrsinc.org.