This weekend will mark the 19th anniversary of Kalamazoo's Blues Festival, put on by Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association (KVBA). At 4:30pm on Thursday, July 12, the festival will open their gates at Kalamazoo's Arcadia Creek Festival site, with music starting at 5pm and continuing all night.
With this year's duo stages, there will be continuous live music from open to close on all three nights. Along with endless music, Blues Fest will also have food and drink vendors, music workshops, and merchandise tables set up so fans can meet their favorite blues artist and pick up a CD or some apparel.
Thursday's line-up will include Jim Klein band, Blues Time, Bosco Gee Blues Band, Crossroads the Resurrection, and regional headliner Stacy Mitchhart who will go at 9pm.
Blues Fest opens their gates on Friday at 430pm with music lasting well into the night. The line-up kicks off with Marble Garden at 5pm, followed by Marci Linn, Anthony Gomes, Shaun Murphy, Popa Chubby and ending with Kalamazoo's own, Seventh Son.
"Everyone who knows blues knows these guys [Seventh Son]," said Michael Gee of Bosco Gee Blues Band and board member of KVBA. "They are just an incredible band."
Saturday (11:30 am gates) is the final day of Blues Fest and is stacked with 12 hours of non-stop music. Marisa & The Madcats will start off the day followed by Duffield Caron Project, JR Clark, Frog & The Beeftones, Stan Budzynski, Steve Hilger Band, Hoopties with Twyla Bird Song, Jimmy Johnson, Kelley Hunt, Tommy Castro and closing down the festival is Bryan Michael Fischer (BMF) who will go on at 11:30pm.
"All of the bands we have this year play at a national act caliber. There's not a weak link in the schedule," said Gee.
Between blues shredder Popa Chubby, slide guitar master Stan Budzynski to the fun and rowdy horns of Seventh Son, Blues Fest is worth much more than the ticket price to get in. Thursday's admission is 5 dollars, Friday's is 10 dollars and Saturday is 12 dollars.
All profits made by Blues Fest will be given back to the Kalamazoo Valley Blues organization. KVBA is a non-profit charity and the Blues Fest is their major fundraiser. The proceeds are used as seed money for the next festival, pay their bills, fund their Blues in Schools programs, and hopefully will fund a scholarship that has been unfunded for the past several years.
Gee said that between the economy and all the changes within the KVBA, there was a chance that Blues Fest wasn't going to happen this year.
"Cooperation between the people who have been around for a while and the new members of KVBA, really made this all possible to happen," said Gee. "We're really excited to start planning for our 20th anniversary show next year."
Gee would like to thank all the sponsors who helped make this year's Blues Fest possible. Sponsors include: Firekeepers Casino, Imperial Beverages/Labatt, 411 Club, WIN 98.5, News Channel 3 CW7, ECCU, The Union, Kzoo Music Scene, Portage Printer, and Zeigler Honda of Kalamazoo.
So grab your dancing shoes and head over to the Arcadia Creek Festival Site this Thursday through Saturday to enjoy a weekend full of great blues bands, tons of delicious food and high energy fun that will last from when the gates open to long after the sun sets.
If anyone is interested in becoming a member of KVBA, you can join online at KVBA.org.
Thursday July 12, 2012
5:00-5:50 Jim Klein Band
6:05-6:55 Blues Time
7:10-8:00 Bosco Gee
9:20-10:45 Stacy Mitchhart
Friday July 13, 2012
5:00-5:50 Marble Garden
6:05-6:55 Marci Linn
7:10 – 8:25 Anthony Gomes
8:40 – 9:55 Shaun Murphy
10:10 – 11:30 Popa Chubby
11:45 – 12:40 7th Son
Saturday July 14, 2012
12:15 – 12:45 Marisa & The Madcats
1:00-1:50 Duffield Caron Project
2:05-2:55 JR Clark
3:10-4:00 Frog & The Beeftones
4:15-5:05 Stan Budzynski
5:20-6:10 Steve Hilger Band
7:30-8:40 Jimmy Johnson
8:55-10:15 Kelley Hunt
10:30-11:50 Tommy Castro
*Scheduled times are subject to change...