Familiar Face at Johnny Otis Festival

Johnny Otis, the rhythm and blues singer famous for the hit single “Willie and the Hand Jive,” will, of course, be the featured performer today during the second annual Johnny Otis Red Beans and Rice Family Music Festival in San Dimas.

Otis, born in Vallejo in 1921, started singing boogie-woogie and barrelhouse blues as a teen-ager. He became a major artist in rhythm and blues and rock ‘n’ roll with a string of 1950s hits that also included “Double Crossin’ Blues,” Rockin’ Blues,” and “All Night Long.”

In the 1970s, Otis grew tired of the fast-paced life of a bandleader, drummer and songwriter and became a minister. He eventually came out of retirement with a new band and stage act.

Otis and other stars of the ‘50s and ‘60s will perform from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. at Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park, 120 Via Verde, next to Raging Waters. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the gate, with children under 10 admitted free. Proceeds will benefit Los Angeles County youth programs.


Performers will include Don & Dewey, Rosie and the Originals, Richard Berry, the Penguins, Coasters, Don Julian, Larks, Thee Midniters and WAR. Ernie Valens and the Valens Band will perform Richie Valens’ old songs. Ernie is the late singer’s first cousin.

A custom and classic car and truck show was held in conjunction with the event Saturday. Information (213) 268-9302.