by Mike Breen
Popular Blues showcase returns to Sawyer Point for weekend of Blues you can use
By all accounts (from people who actually attended or performed), last month’s huge Bunbury Music Festival was one of the best-run fests of its kind this area has ever seen. Organizer Bill Donabedian no doubt scored some tips from the operators of the big annual Blues celebration, the volunteer-driven Cincy Blues Fest, which has been doing the “well-run music festival” thing at Sawyer Point Park along the riverfront for many years now. This weekend, the Cincy Blues Fest — one of the finest Blues events in the Midwest — returns to Sawyer Point to celebrate its 20th anniversary. That's a remarkable two decades of providing Greater Cincinnati live music lovers with some of the
finest Blues being made locally, regionally and nationally, a rare and impressive achievement for any music festival. This year’s main stage national headliners are especially strong — Webb Wilder on Friday and Duke Robillard on Saturday — but the Cincy Blues Fest always has a ton of interesting and engaging artists performing throughout the fest’s multiple stages.
Aside from the lineup featuring a few
higher quality headliners than the past couple of years (like Robillard, Wilder, Trampled Under Foot, Super Chikan, Sista Monica, etc.),
this year’s 20th anniversary celebration isn’t really being overblown,
likely because the Cincy Blues Society and the army of volunteers that
work the fest always do such an amazing job running the event; it’s
already quite special, no matter what birthday the fest is celebrating.
One of my favorite elements of the Blues
Fest is its undying support for our local players and singers. This
year, Cincy Blues Challenge winners Chris Yakopcic and the Noah
Wotherspoon Band have main-stage slots (they’ll also go to Memphis this
winter to compete for Cincinnati in the International Blues Challenge).
Yakopcic performs at 5:45 p.m. Friday, while Wotherspoon and Co. play at
the same time Saturday (following a band of students associated with
the Blues in the Schools program, for which the fest raises money).
The three side stages — always creatively
programmed — have a heavy local presence. Friday, visit the “Blues: The
Next Generation” stage for sets by younger area acts like the Wade
Baker Trio, Brian Keith Wallen Band, Scotty Bratcher and (again!) Noah
Wotherspoon and his band. The “Next Gen” stage starts at 5:15 p.m.
Saturday. Friday "The Next Generation of Blues" stage lineup5:15 p.m. Wade Baker Trio6:20 p.m. Jellico Motel7:05 p.m. Brian Keith Wallen Band8:10 p.m. Carson Diersing Band9:25 p.m. Scotty Bratcher10:40 p.m. Noah Wotherspoon Band
As the name suggests, the St. Vincent
DePaul Local Stage is chock full of local talent. Friday, the stage
features Bad Men on a Mission, Them Bones, the Doug Hart Band, Leroy
Ellington’s Blues Band and Blue Sacrifice.
Saturday, catch the Blue
Birds Big Band, the Gradual Taylor Band, the Leo Clarke Band, The Juice,
Chuck Brisbin & the Tuna Project and Balderdash. Friday St. Vincent De Paul Local Stage lineup5:45-6:45 p.m. Bad Men on a Mission7:00-8:00 p.m. Them Bones8:15-9:15 p.m. Doug Hart Band9:30-10:30 p.m. Leroy Ellington’s Blues Band10:45pm-12:00 a.m. Blue SacrificeSaturday St. Vincent De Paul Local Stage lineup 4:30-5:30 p.m. Blue Birds Big Band5:45-6:45 p.m. The Gradual Taylor Band7:00-8:00 p.m. The Leo Clarke Band8:15-9:15 p.m. The Juice9:30-10:30 p.m. Chuck Brisbin & the Tuna Project10:45-11:45 p.m. Balderdash
And perhaps the fest’s most notable and
renowned side stage, the unique Boogie Woogie Piano Hall of Fame Stage,
on Saturday will feature appearances by Jimmy Rogers, Todd Hepburn, Liz
Pennock & Dr. Blues and Ricky Nye, plus players from across the
planet. The Boogie Woogie stage closes out with a “grand finale jam”
just before midnight. Saturday Boogie Woogie Piano Hall of Fame Stage lineup4:30 p.m. Jimmy Rogers5:10 p.m. Todd Hepburn5:50 p.m. Liz Pennock & Dr. Blues6:50 p.m. Ricky Nye7:40 p.m. Mark Braun8:30 p.m. Rob Rio9:20 p.m. Cynthia Girtley10:10 p.m. Bob Seeley11:00 p.m. Fabrice Eulry11:50 p.m. Grand Finale JamHere are the lineups for the Budweiser Main Stage this weekend:Friday Budweiser Main Stage lineup 5:45-6:45 p.m. Chris Yakopcic7:00-8:15 p.m. Super Chikan8:30-10:00 p.m. Sista Monica10:15-11:45 p.m. Webb WilderSaturday Budweiser Main Stage lineup5:00-5:30 p.m. Blues in the School (BITS) Band5:45-6:45 p.m. Noah Wotherspoon Band7:00-8:15 p.m. Southern Hospitality8:30-10:00 p.m. Trampled Under Foot10:15-11:45 p.m. Duke RobillardTickets are $20 each day (two-day passes are
available Friday at the gates for $30), or grab yours early through
brownpapertickets.com for a $5 discount. Or you can join the Cincy Blues
Society (cincyblues.org), the creators and managers of Cincy Blues
Fest, to receive an even deeper discount.
Be sure to pick up a copy of this week's CityBeat, which includes a pull-out guide for the Cincy Blues Fest, with artist bios, schedules and more. For further ticket info, updates, details on the new Cincy Blues Fest mobile app and much more, visit cincybluesfest.org.
1 Comment · Wednesday, August 8, 2012
The Cincy Blues Fest, widely considered
one of the best of its kind in the region, celebrates a remarkable 20
years of providing Greater Cincinnati live music lovers with some of the
finest Blues being made locally, regionally and nationally. Plus, new releases due this week from The Blues Merchants,
Gorges, Damn It To
Hell, Kissing Daylight and Jody Stapleton and the Generals
by Mike Breen
Noah Wotherspoon Band to represent the Cincy Blues Society at international competition
This past Sunday 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. The winners share a couple of connections. They both are from Cincinnati but have ties to Dayton, Ohio. And they both competed in this year's 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 and solo Blues and is a native of PIttsburgh but apparently 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 seem 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.)If you haven't seen Wotherspoon and his band perform, tonight's your lucky night. The Noah Wotherspoon plays downtown at Arnold's at 9 p.m. And it's another FREE show. (If you want to pre-game, the Happy Hour Jazz Combo starts at 6 p.m. Pace yourself.)Cincy Blues Challenge winners are usually given good slots at the Cincy Blues Fest, which returns to Cincy's riverfront Aug. 10-11.
0 Comments · Tuesday, February 7, 2012
If a duo can qualify as a “supergroup,” then Freekbot is a legit local music supergroup. Freekbot features Freekbass (a.k.a.
bassist/singer Chris Sherman of Funk crew Freekbass) and Tobotius
(a.k.a. Tobe Donohue, producer and founder of world-renowned turntable
crew Animal Crackers) in an Electronic duo configuration.
by Mike Breen
Two-night festival moves from Northern Kentucky to Over-the-Rhine
In this week's CityBeat, I made an offhand comment about how it might not feel like winter, but the Cincy Blues Society's annual Winter Blues Fest is going down this weekend regardless of temperature. The gods must've heard me (or is a big Blues fan) because currently in Cincinnati, winter has finally decided to arrive. So the Winter Blues Fest will have an appropriate climate and setting.After several years in Northern Kentucky, the event is following the MidPoint Music Festival’s lead and hosting its 2012 event in Over-the-Rhine. More than 25 performers will entertain in four centrally located clubs — The Drinkery and venues in the former homes of Rhythm & Blues Café (dubbed "Japp's Annex" during the fest) and Harry’s Pizza (see below), as well as Below Zero Lounge. The three venues are within easy walking distance of each other — all but Below Zero are on Main Street (and Below Zero is just off of the drag). So bundle up, but don't let a few snowflakes become your excuse for not attending.
Nineteen reasons you should attend Cincy Blues Fest’s 19th annual event
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 3, 2011
2012’s Cincy Blues Fest is sure to have many unique features and surprises, but you could say that every year. But there are tons of reasons to attend the 2011 event Friday and Saturday at Sawyer Point. In honor of its 19th anniversary, we give you the Top 19 in easy-to-digest list form.
0 Comments · Tuesday, January 25, 2011
The Winter Blues Fest — created as a cold-weather sister event to the Cincy Blues Society’s massive summertime Cincy Blues Fest — returns to the Southgate House this Friday and Saturday. The event is the main fund-raiser for the Blues in the Schools program, which sends professional local Blues performers into area schools to educate students on the music’s rich history and encourage young musicians to play Blues. The Blues in the Schools Band, featuring some of those young musicians, will kick off both nights of the Winter Blues Fest at 6 p.m.
Jan. 29-30 • Southgate House
0 Comments · Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Cure for the winter blues? Winter Blues! The Cincy Blues Society's Winter Blues Fest is beginning to rival the organization's long-running, successful summer Blues Fest in terms of talent and lineup size. The fourth annual event takes place Friday and Saturday, and if you ever wanted to explore the Blues talent in Greater Cincinnati, you won't find a better event.
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 28, 2009
The Cincy Blues Society, renowned across the region for its annual summertime Cincy Blues Fest, is once again giving local Blues fans a hot taste of some of Cincy's best Blues acts this winter. The Winter Blues Fest used to feature acts scattered around various Northern Kentucky clubs, but this year it will have the music all under one roof (so you can leave your galoshes at home).