VOODOO LOUNGE; BROOKINGS, OR Karaoke in the Northcoast woods
By Kurt “Swingcat” Johnson
In the extreme southwest corner of Oregon, just five miles from the California border is Oregon’s southernmost town of Brookings.
Brookings, Oregon is a small, seaport town with a beautiful, sheltered harbor and amazing scenic beaches one mile away. The Chetco River flows directly through town and offers incredible salmon and steelhead fishing in season.
Eight miles upriver from town is the nation’s northernmost grove of giant Pacific Redwood trees. Only twenty-five miles across the California border is the famous Redwoods National Park with numerous groves of big trees, Jedidiah Smith State Park and the famous Smith River. Crescent City, California is just downriver and only 25 miles from Brookings. It’s also not unusual to come across a free-roaming herd of wild elk.
Karaoke is alive and well, and flourishing in Brookings. In such small towns, you’d think there was a minimum of karaoke venues. But, not so! In Brookings (Pop. 6,000) alone, there are no less than five venues offering karaoke on various nights of the week. There’s even one KJ who hosts a local cable-access television show devoted specifically to karaoke in Brookings, which you can view as a live broadcast via internet Webcast.
On this visit, my wife and I were camping and vacationing at the amazing Harris Beach State Park, one mile north of Brookings and came across the Voodoo Lounge located in the harbor basin of Brookings.
The Voodoo Lounge is one of the main karaoke venues in Brookings. It’s been a fixture on the Brookings scene for a number of years. Host of karaoke at The Voodoo Lounge is KJ Rick Wafler. He also hosts a couple of nights each week across the border in Crescent City and commutes to the Voodoo Lounge.
KJ Rick had this to say about the differences in the two areas, “For thirty years I’ve been living in Crescent City and driving to Brookings. Karaoke in Crescent City is very exciting. It’s a very broad mix of singers and fun-lovers. It’s long been established as a place to go for nightlife and karaoke. Crescent City is in the upper corner of California, where the
Redwoods are real. Karaoke is a wonderful experience and people must stop!”
Rick also hosts the TV show “LOOK WHO CAN SING” on Brookings KBSC TV Channel 49. You can catch KJ Rick’s video broadcast at Channel 49 KBSC Brookings Web site: www.kbsctv.com.
At the Voodoo Lounge, Wafler runs Behringer mixing equipment, Peavey mains and offers over 10,000 song titles with few duplicates on a laptop control system. He’s been hosting karaoke for about a year at the Voodoo Lounge. He also has a gig in Crescent City and Thursday nights at the Hideaway across the road from the Voodoo Lounge. So there would appear to be plenty of KJ work around Brookings.
He adds this about Brookings singers, “There’s a really good core of singers in this karaoke market. In the last sixteen weeks, I’ve put over 50 local people on the TV show, singing live for up to four minutes. None of them had to do a retake!”
“We get a lot of tourist traffic that are surprised by the karaoke quality and the great time they have. I’d like to invite everyone to come to Brookings’ lower harbor and join us at the Voodoo Lounge!”
One of the Voodoo Lounge’s regulars is Carolyne Cross, she had this to say, “Since I started coming to the Voodoo Lounge, I just love it! They call me the Karaoke Junkie. I tend to get irritated if they don’t have it! This is my favorite place. It has a real family atmosphere. I love the DJ, he’s one of my best friends. Everything’s great!”
Brookings is an amazing southern Oregon coast vacation destination. With Redwoods National Park nearby, amazing salmon and stealhead fishing in the rivers with deep sea and bottom fishing charter boats in the harbor – not to mention the famous wild, and beautifully rugged, coast of beaches and the phenomenal Harris Beach State Park just a mile away, Brookings has it all. Plus an outstanding karaoke environment to boot.