Tunes & Tailpipes: The Backyard Social Club’s Mystic Music Motorcycle Fest

“The Neptunes, a local instrumental surf band, create an amazing atmosphere for the Mystic Music Motorcycle Fest at The Backyard Social Club on Clovis Avenue.” (Photo by Steven Sandage, Clovis Roundup)

June 3, 2024 – The soft, haunting notes of “Sleep Walk” by Santo and Johnny drifted through the air, mingling with the murmur of excited conversation. It was Sunday, June 2, and The Backyard Social Club was alive with the rumbling of engines and gregarious chatter, hosting the Mystic Music Motorcycle Fest. Situated on Clovis Avenue near the Shaw Avenue intersection, this quirky southwestern-themed venue had transformed into a haven for bikers and music lovers alike.

The event, masterfully presented by Tom Walzem of Mystic Music and The Neptunes and his wife, Lisa Walzem, along with John Clifton, was a testament to their dedication to the local music and biking community. Their hard work and passion were evident in every detail of the fest, from the lineup of impressive motorcycles to the thoughtfully curated music performances. The Walzems and Clifton ensured that the fest was not only a visual and auditory delight but also a warm, welcoming gathering.

The barstools in the backyard bar area, inscribed with “O’Brien,” reflected the personal touch and dedication of co-owner Andrew O’Brien, adding to the sense of home and community that defines The Backyard Social Club. The venue itself was a perfect choice, its unique character enhancing the festive atmosphere.

As the afternoon unfolded, the crowd was treated to live performances by local favorites The Neptunes and John Clifton. The Neptunes, an instrumental surf band with a flair for spooky tunes reminiscent of a Quentin Tarantino soundtrack, set the tone with their electric renditions. Their music, combined with the lively atmosphere, created an unforgettable experience.

John Clifton, also known on YouTube as the Blues Harp Biker, encouraged attendees to follow his channel—a treasure trove of over 200 bike videos covering events and the biking lifestyle. His engaging presence and passion for the biking community added a special touch to the event. When Mr. Clifton announced the winner, the crowd erupted in cheers. The first-place trophy went to Fresno resident Marc Bomarito for his 2023 Harley-Davidson Breakout, with the majority of the work meticulously crafted by Mikey Frutos of Fresno Two Wheels Garage. The appreciation was unmistakable, a blend of admiration for the bikes and solidarity among the riders.

Bartenders skillfully recommended the perfect summer brews from the club’s 30 rotating taps, featuring local California beers. Each pour was a hit, complementing the delicious bites available from the kitchen. Patrons enjoyed the bar’s signature pizzas and sandwiches, creating the perfect fuel for an afternoon of festivities. More than a few people could be heard raving about the margherita pizza.

Adding to the charm of the event was Turkey, a friendly cat who roamed the venue, soaking up pets and affection from the many animal lovers in attendance. The presence of such a laid-back mascot only enhanced the relaxed, family-like atmosphere that The Backyard Social Club aims to cultivate.

The event was more than just a motorcycle gathering; it was a celebration of neighborly support and shared passions. Attendees not only admired the stunning bikes but also forged connections over a shared love for riding and music. The combination of the club’s unique setting, great company, and excellent live performances made for an unforgettable day.

Located just a stone’s throw from Yosemite, The Backyard Social Club offers an ideal spot for weekend getaways. The venue’s outdoor oasis, complete with seating, fire pits, a pond, cornhole, darts, arcade games, and an additional bar, invites visitors to linger and enjoy the laid-back vibes.

For O’Brien and co-owner Michelle Guevara, the Mystic Music Motorcycle Fest was another successful chapter in the story of The Backyard Social Club. Their vision of creating a space where people can unwind, enjoy quality music, and connect over good food and drinks has clearly struck a chord with the residents of Clovis.

As the event came to a close, the motorcycles roared to life once more, and the crowd dispersed with smiles and stories to share. The Backyard Social Club had once again proven to be the ultimate backdrop for a perfect blend of relaxation and revelry, thanks in large part to the passionate efforts of its presenters.