BayFest boasts a number of stages featuring a large variety of musical entertainment. However, one stage is definitely a stand-out, even though it is one of the smallest stages on the festival grounds. For years, the Café Stage has been a platform for local musicians to perform and collaborate with each other, and the venue tends to keep a crowd throughout the festival.
The Café Stage’s lineup for BayFest’s 25th anniversary Oct. 3-5 includes Dat B, The Lizards, Gritz N Pieces, Harvest, String Slingers and many more.
Steve “Duck” Varnes (The Lizards/Deluxe Trio) has been a regular on the Café Stage for many years. According to Varnes, the Café Stage is a good way to get a taste of local talent.
“These are the artists that are out there in the area clubs busting it out every weekend,” Varnes said.
According to Varnes, the artists on the Café Stage receive no compensation. The music featured on the Café Stage is a considered a gift from local musicians. Varnes revealed that his favorite aspect of the Café Stage is “the spirit and the vibe,” which is felt not only on stage but backstage as well.
“Backstage is like a flashback to the 60s,” Varnes explained. There are covered dishes, everyone catching up with friends and players actually picking together under the tent. This vibe translates to the stage where anything can and does go.”
As far as the future of this stage, Varnes believes that moving the Café Stage to a larger stage would ruin the ideologies that attract local talent. However, he will be the first to admit that he hopes to see the Café Stage become more “proper” with better sound and lighting. Weekend passes are $60 and on sale now through the BayFest website and at area Circle K locations.