Baja Bop, a Rockabilly Weekender Cruise, to Set Sail From the Port of Long Beach

Rockabilly fans of the world….do you hear that sound? It’s tequila calling from the Blue Iguana Tequila Bar aboard the Baja Bop musical cruise sailing southbound for Ensenada this October. Titans from the retro roots music genre are going south of the border, down Mexico way, and they’ll be serenading fans aboard the high seas the whole way there.

Billed as a “red hot rockin’ cruise to Mexico,” setting sail out of the Port of Long Beach October 18-21, Baja Bop boasts opportunities for once in a lifetime experiences you ain’t gonna find at any land-locked rockabilly weekender. Take tequila shots with Anaheim’s own Big Sandy at Hussong’s Cantina–the oldest watering hole in Baja, open since 1892! Do karaoke on board with Kid Ramos! Grab a slice at the 24 hour pizza joint and wonder how the boys of Los Straightjackets eat with those luchador masks on!

“I built a lineup that I thought would really give something for everybody,” explains Matthew Laumer, Riverside Rockabilly promotor and the captain at the helm of this unique festival.  “A taste of rockabilly, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, and then the Spanish rock DJs to give something for everybody.” 

And by everybody, Laumer means everybody into roots and Americana music of all flavors. Laumer’s had the idea for a specialty cruise like the Baja Bop for several years. A music lover, Laumer says he was inspired by the fact that he’s always wanted to go on a cruise but was concerned he was going to be bored when it came to on-board entertainment. 

“If you go to a bar at night and you’re stuck there for a few hours listening to music [that you’re not into], you don’t mind. That’s one thing,” expalins Laumer. “But to be on a cruise for three nights with a scene that you’re not that huge of a fan of I think would be kind of boring to me. So that’s what led me to this.”

Laumer created Baja Bop “for people who aren’t into whatever the normal is for most people who cruise. Now here’s an experience to go be part of a cruise for the music you’re gonna enjoy. You get the music you love plus the cruise, so you can do both now.”

Big Sandy (Photo by Taylor Hamby)

The three day take over of a Carnival cruise ship will feature over a dozen performers: masked twang masters Los Straightjackets will be strumming sweet surf guitar licks as the perfect for the rolling seas in a solo set as well as in another exclusive set collaborating with Big Sandy, who will be singing oldies classics in Spanish. 

Big Sandy and his Fly-Rite Boys will also be performing. Though he was born and raised in Southern California, is trip to Ensenada is still somewhat of a homecoming show to the Anaheim resident–he was conceived in Ensenada! Wonder how many future rockabilly legends will be conceived on this trip to Ensenada? 

And holding it all together will be your host and MC for the weekend; the beautiful and boisterous Doris Mayday, pinup extraordinaire and creative director for Pinup Girl Clothing. 

“I think I got the best venue on the ship,” explains Laumer of the crimson dancehall straight out of a Sinatra song, with vintage vinyl tuck and roll booths, chandeliers and a large dance floor in front, prime for swinging and stomping until the sun come comes up. “It’s kind of like an old Vegas showroom,” he says. 

It’s sure to be the most raucous rompin’ stompin’ swinging sailing to hit the Port of Long Beach since 1967 when the Queen Mary made her final entrance to the bay (just about anything that wasn’t bolted down to the decks was tossed overboard in the Pacific Ocean in celebration of it’s arrival). While we’re not advocating throwing shit overboard, Laumer says the you don’t have to pull a Johnny Cash and spend “Sunday Morning Coming Down”. Instead, you can let the good times roll next door on an authentic vintage cruise ship next door. “Everybody can go meet up for brunch if they want on the Queen Mary on Sunday and take full advantage of that.”

“They have the [Art Deco] lounge there for the brunch, so you have a band, a quartet, playing there for brunch there,” he says. “It’s the perfect place to go afterwards. Or if anyone wants to go to downtown Long Beach, there’s a lot of places to meet up and do things.”

After party at Alex’s, folks! Party on at the Pike! The shores of Long Beach on Sunday can serve as the Side B to what’s sure to be a swingin’ good time weekend of rockabilly, roots and rock and roll.  

The Baja Bop sets sail out of the Port of Long Beach on the Carnival Cruise Line from October 18-21. Featuring Los Straightjackets & Big Sandy, Si Cranstoun, Bailey Dee, Kim Lenz and more. Book your room at www.bajabop.com before Aug. 19 to take advantage of the Baja Bop special sale pricing of $599 per person for double occupancy or $897 for double occupancy rooms. Prices increase on Aug. 20. 

When not running the OCWeekly.com and OC Weekly’s social media sites, Taylor “Hellcat” Hamby can be found partying like it’s 1899.

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