Let the Good Times Roll


The wingding began in 1947 as Circus Days, was later reborn as Stagecoach Days, and then became Pioneer Days. Those were the days!

Now the Thousand Oaks festival is called Conejo Valley Days, and it’s still a way to bring the community together for a short run of fun.

This year’s four-day musical program will feature country, blues, jazz and oldies, performed by a bunch of local bands at Conejo Creek Park.


One of the more familiar groups to Conejo Valley music fans is William James & the Slow Burn. Actually four guys from the Midwest who now live in Los Angeles, the band plays the area several times a month. Blues fans can have the novel experience of seeing the band outdoors at just about sundown during a 7:30 p.m. Friday gig.

Guitarist Rob Thornburn formed the group in 1991 after meeting the principals at a jam session in the Valley. Slow Burn includes the guy with top billing and the smooth voice, William James, a crooner who claims Sam Cooke, Otis Redding and Ray Charles as influences. Steve Andreoni plays bass and Michael Parker hits the drums. The players are full-time musicians involved in various projects, none of which includes 9-to-5 day jobs.

Usually, the Slow Burn can be found in the basement of the Hungry Hunter, a restaurant in Thousand Oaks with music, usually blues, in the lower bar.

“The Hungry Hunter is a small place and it’s not that hard to pack, plus the people who work there all like us. We just did Cisco’s for a month or so, but it was a different crowd, a younger crowd. I don’t think a lot of them had heard the blues before, but the ones who hung around were into it by the last set.”


Conejo Valley Days, Conejo Creek Park in Thousand Oaks, at Janss Road and the Moorpark Freeway. Tonight: Raymond Michael (6:30 p.m.) is an Elvis impersonator; Mitch Ryder & the Monte Carlos (8:30 p.m.) play oldies; Robert Van (7 p.m.), jazz; and Loose Gravel (8:30); original and classic rock. Friday: Mark Insley (7 p.m.) and Wild Heart (9 p.m.) play country; William James & the Slow Burn (7:30 p.m.); blues; and ZoeS Garden (9:30 p.m.), original rock. Saturday: Tin Drum (7 p.m.) plays World Beat; Ambrosia (8:30 p.m.) and Tropical Squeeze (7 p.m.), light rock. Sunday: Philip Norris (1:30 p.m.) plays country; Mighty Mo Rogers (3:30 p.m.); blues; Desert Rain (2 p.m.), classic rock; and Frank Morgan (4 p.m.), original rock. Cost: Adults $5, students and seniors $3, children (6-12) $2. (805) 499-7880.

Captain Morgan Taste of Ventura County: Since Captain Morgan is a brand of rum, perhaps this should be a Sip of Ventura County. Nonetheless, this festival, in its sixth year, will offer plenty to eat and drink and, for those able to fend off the irresistible urge for nappy time, plenty of music for dancing.

Captain Morgan Taste of Ventura County, Channel Islands Festival, 2950 S. Harbor Blvd., Oxnard. Friday: Crosscut (5 p.m.) plays classic rock; Blue Stew (7 p.m.), blues, Disco Knights (10 p.m.), disco. Saturday: Cynthia Manley (noon) plays classic rock; Acadiana (2 p.m.), Cajun, zydeco and country; the Buds (5 p.m.), blues; West Indies (7 p.m.), Caribbean; Papa-Nata (10 p.m.), dance music. Sunday: Estrada Brothers (11 a.m.) play salsa; Cecilia Noel & the Wild Clams (2 p.m.), salsa; Lil Elmo & the Cosmos (5 p.m.), classic rock. Cost: Adults $6, military and seniors $4, children under 12 free. (805) 985-4852.