Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Festival Season Is Just Around The Corner

Which means I’m on a diet. Summer clothes are simply too unforgiving of winter’s indulgences.

Here in Colorado, The Greeley Blues Jam (link here) kicks off the Blues Festival season on the second Saturday in June every year. I have a five-year calendar, and that Saturday is marked off each year. I know where I’ll be. For June 11, 2011, they have once again secured a stellar line up:
  • Robert Randolph & The Family 
  • Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers 
  • The Nighthawks 
  • Trampled Under Foot 
  • Coco Montoya 
  • The North Mississippi Allstars 
And that’s just main stage! Second stage always has great local and regional Blues acts as well, and adding the Blues 101 Youth Stage in the mix, well it’s a one-day festival that packs in two days of music. Very efficient. And not only that, but because there is an Event’s Center on the grounds, weather is not a factor. Last year was a deluge of rain, so the organizers got busy and moved everything over to the E.C., and we all enjoyed a great day of music and dry socks.

Before the big day, however, is the Big Night. Every year, on the second Friday night in June, Greeley is the place to be. No exception this year:

Greeley Blues Jam 2011 
Downtown Friday Events, June 11
9th St. Plaza & Surrounding Area

FREE music all day and night!

The Greeley Downtown Development Authority will present their Friday Fest on an outdoor stage on the 9th Street Plaza (between 8th & 9th Ave) from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. with a free concert experience suitable for the entire family. We close off the street for this and for all of the later stuff, so bring your dancin’ shoes and have a great time!

The Friday Fest will be followed with performances by many of the best blues bands Colorado has to offer, playing from 8 to 12 p.m. in at least 6 downtown restaurants and bars…and it’s all FREE! What better way to start the weekend and get ready for the main attraction at the Island Grove arena on Saturday.

The Friday performances are appropriate for the entire family until around 8pm. We recommend you get a sitter for your young ones if you wish to enjoy the later festivities. Saturday is very family friendly, 12 & under are free!

My good friends, Pam and Al Bricker, are the amazing team working tirelessly to make this a great event every year. I wrote to Pam this morning to inquire about the Second Stage line up, and here’s her response:

"Honey-- only the main stage line up is there now.

On the Back Porch Stage we have: Erica Brown Band, the Otone Brass Band, Big Jim Adam and John Stilwagen, and Another Kind of Magick. Erica Brown will also be organizing a jam as the last act on that stage.

Downtown- Erica Brown Band on the outdoor stage from 6:00 to 8:00; Youth showcase will be playing and possibly opening for Erica. I don't want to release the other bands until I have confirmation that all of the bars have negotiated and confirmed with them.

Blues 101- Young Austin is organizing the Youth Showcase and there will be others to announce for that stage too. Thanks Honey!"

The City of Greeley knows how to throw a party! This will be my fifth consecutive year attending this soiree, and each year it becomes more and more like a reunion. I encounter people I only see at Blues Festivals, as well as people I see weekly at the Boulder Outlook; I see musicians I’ve known for years but only run into occasionally; and I see a lot of friends. A lot of friends.

Blues Festivals are a breeding ground for friendships. A few years ago I took a young friend to the GBJ, and after a couple of hours, she turned and asked me, “Does everyone here know each other?” I said, “No, but there is still no such thing as a stranger at a Blues Festival.”

Because I do the promotion and booking at one of Colorado’s best live Blues venues (yeah, I’m bragging! So what?), I have somewhat of a name around here. I also have been writing a weekly Blues Letter (specific to the Outlook) for 3 1/2 years, and the subscribers keep growing in number. As such, a lot more people know who I am than I know who they are. At festivals, I end up spending significant time meeting and talking with people who read my Blues Letter, most of whom have never been to the Outlook, but subscribed after hearing about it from others. Word of mouth is a powerful force. The geographical variations from the people I meet can be astonishing (I once had a long chat with a couple from Tel Aviv who read my BL), but it’s the age variations that are really staggering. Apparently my writing appeals to all ages, with the youngest yet being an 11-year-old boy from Knoxville, TN.

We’re just a few weeks away from the big kick-off weekend, and I’m already excited about seeing so many friends in one place. The Greeley Blues Jam weekend not only kicks off the Colorado Blues season, it kicks off the Social Season for Blues lovers. Next time, we’re on to Winter Park’s annual festival, Blues From the Top, two weeks after the GBJ. But first, mark your calendars for June 10th and 11th. See you in Greeley. ~Honey Bee Sepeda~

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