On June 3 at Dunlap’s Germania Park, the Cincy Blues Society once again hosted the daylong Cincy Blues Challenge, with dozens of regional Blues acts performing from noon-9-ish, all competing for a chance to represent the Queen City at the International Blues Challenge 2013 in Memphis. The day started out with contestants in the “Solo/Duo” category, followed by a steady stream of area groups competing for top “Band” honors.
The winners share a couple of connections. They both have ties to Dayton, Ohio. And they both competed in the 2012 International Blues Challenge … for Blues societies in other cities.
Winning the top band honors was young six-string wiz Noah Wotherspoon and his band, who will head to Memphis in early 2013 to compete for the ’Nati. Wotherspoon is a Dayton native, but currently lives in Cincy. Last year, he won a band challenge and represented Dayton at this year’s IBC.
Chris Yakopcic scored the solo/duo honors and will join Wotherspoon and Co. in Memphis. Yakopcic plays acoustic, solo Blues and is a native of Pittsburgh but now lives in Dayton. Yakopcic won the Western PA Blues Challenge in the same category last year and was in Memphis for the 2012 IBC festivities.
If you’re confused, as I often am, it seems that you don’t have to be precisely from the city whose Blues organization is hosting the event to compete. Local singer/guitarist and competitor at multiple International Blues Challenges, Sonny Moorman, for example, competed for the Columbus Blues Alliance in 2009 … and won his category.
Cincy Blues Challenge winners are usually given good slots at the Cincy Blues Fest and other contestants are also invited to the festival, which returns to Cincy’s riverfront Aug
Music Festival Season in Full Bloom
With summer just inches away (June 20 is the first official summer day), the flood of local festivals with a musical component is picking up considerably. We’ll keep track of all things festival this summer, but here’s what’s up this weekend.
• On Saturday, the Northside Tavern hosts the fourth annual Northside Music Festival (not to be confused with Brooklyn’s Northside Festival, which also kicks off this week). The free event begins at 7 p.m. and features several local acts, as well as North Carolina rockers The Old Ceremony (who recently joined the roster of esteemed label Yep Roc) and Louisville’s Joan Shelley and the June Brides. Local acts scheduled to appear: You, You’re Awesome, The Tongue and Lips, State Song, The Hiders, Fists of Love, Valley of the Sun, Nic Powers (The Sweep), DJ Bryan Dilsizian, Ohio Knife and Magnolia Mountain. The Northside Music Festival will also feature outdoor grilling and other food options, cool limited edition posters and door prizes throughout the night. Music on the patio will be open to all ages until 10 p.m.; the rest of the fest is 21-and-up only. (www.northside-tavern.com)
• Meanwhile, in the Columbia-Tusculum part of town, Stanley’s Pub is hosting the second annual Stanley’s Reggae Fest this Saturday. Music starts at 6 p.m. and the fest includes an indoor and outdoor stage, Jamaican food and Red Stripe beer specials. Performing this year are local groups The Cliftones, The Ohms, The Zionites and The Newport Secret Six, as well as Columbus crew the Andy Shaw Band. Tickets are $12 at the door.
• Saturday and Sunday sees the return of the Cincinnati Juneteenth Festival to Eden Park. Juneteenth commemorates the anniversary of the end of slavery — on June 19, 1865, slaves in Galveston, Tex., were finally told about the Emancipation Proclamation a year and a half after it was issued.
Cincinnati’s Juneteenth event celebrates its 25th anniversary with this year’s event, which includes a variety of activities, vendors and, of course, music and other artistic and cultural exhibitions. Saturday’s festivities run from noon-9 p.m., with music from Basic Truth, the Rollins Davis Band, Bi-Okoto, The Last Boppers, Mz. Jaz, Baoku and the Image AfroBeat Band and others. Headlining Saturday are the Philly Intruders Review and the Rick James Stone City Band. The Juneteenth fest continues Sunday, 2-6 p.m., with a special Father’s Day Concert filled with local Gospel talent. For full event information, visit juneteenthcincinnati.org.
• The free MidPoint Indie Summer concerts on Fountain Square are kind of mini-music festivals leading up to a much bigger festival (MidPoint 2012, coming this September). This Friday, the Indie Summer show kicks off at 7 p.m. with local Indie Pop group Belle Histoire, which is gearing up for the national release of its first LP, Dreamers, coming in mid-July. Local Indie Pop headliners The Seedy Seeds are fresh off a tour with The Winter Sounds, so they should be extra, super-tight. (Bay Area singer/songwriter Wymond Miles also performs.) Visit myfountainsquare.com for more info.
CONTACT MIKE BREEN: firstname.lastname@example.org or @CityBeatMusic on Twitter