Blues, tattoos and rad moves. Oh my. Guests can expect this and much more at Izzy’s 24th Annual Tattoo and Blues Festival taking place Friday to March 1, at the Flamingo Conference Resort and Spa in Santa Rosa.
Throughout the Bay Area, there are plenty of conventions and conferences that showcase tattoos and music. However, this particular event is one of a kind, mostly because it’s one of the oldest ones to date.
“I’ve run this show for 11 years. This will be the 24th year that the show has been going on,” said event owner and promoter Izzy LaPlante. “It’s the second longest running tattoo convention in the country.”
With a track record like that, it’s no surprise people keep coming back every year.
Every year at the end of February, thousands of people gather for three days to share their love of tattoos and live music. Guests can enjoy the sounds of award-winning blues bands while they visit different tattoo booths and stands to admire their work.
Tattoo artists and companies from all around the Bay Area come to set up shop and display their work, as well as show off their skills and tattoo people at the festival. Tattoo enthusiasts also get the opportunity to see and speak with well-known tattoo artists.
In addition to music and tattoos, attendees can expect to see live acts, purchase goods from local vendors and enjoy delectable food. There are also raffles that are put on to raise money for the tattoo artists. In past years, the event has also done work with large organizations.
“I had a kid from the Make-A-Wish Foundation come in from Alaska and he got tattooed and won second place for best tattoo at the convention,” said LaPlante.
Another big highlight of the event is the famous Wildfire Dancers. Based out of Ukiah, they are a group that is skilled in simultaneously performing different styles of dance while juggling or twirling batons lit on fire. The Wildfire Dancers were recently seen on TLC’s “Four Weddings.”
Not only is this an event for those familiar and involved with the tattoo community, but those who are just getting exposed to the art of tattoos.
“I’ve always been so scared of tattoos and piercings. I think tattoos are beautiful, but I’ve always just been so hesitant to get one myself,” said senior Jessica Sanchez. “My coworker and I are going to attend the event this year, so maybe it will finally happen for me.”
Even those involved with the event are looking forward to see what this year has to offer.
“This is a first-time event for me. I’m just impressed to see that it’s been going on for 24 years now. The music line-up, fire dancers and overall spectacle is what excites me,” said Jasmine Rios, publicist for the Flamingo Resort. “Though I am currently one of those ‘blank skin types,’ this might be just the event where I get myself inked for the first time. What image would I choose? Snoopy maybe.”
Attendees are encouraged to map out their days according to events going on at different times so that they don’t miss out on anything they were looking forward to seeing.
Several different raffles will take place throughout the day, as well as different bands performing and the Wildfire dancers will take the stage several times.
Tickets are available to purchase as day passes for $25 or weekend passes for $35 online at santarosatattoosandblues.com/home.html.