Tie on a bib and dust off your dancing shoes for the 14th annual Louisville Blues-n-Barbecue Festival, Friday through Sunday, July 8-10. The largest blues festival in Louisville will combine the sounds of guitars and soulful singing with the delicious taste of Southern barbecue.
Since beginning in 1998, the festival has become a tradition, as music lovers gather around the Water Tower, 3005 River Road, to celebrate a fantastic showcase of food and music. This year, guests will enjoy New Orleans and Memphis blues while savoring delectable barbecue from F.A.B.D. Smokehouse and The Q.
“Our event has always been about music and food,” said Jennifer Washle, of Bisig Impact Group, the marketing firm behind the event. “What we’ve learned over the years is that you can have great music at these events, but you have to have great food along with it.”
Over the last 14 years, the event has evolved from a solely jazz festival to a solely blues festival.
“We started out with jazz, then went to jazz and blues, and decided to take the jazz element out in 2007 after we heard more people asking for blues music,” Washle said. “This event has grown so much. We added barbecue to our event as of four or five years ago, and we are very selective about who we bring in. We want to offer the best food to our guests.”
“We do other events but haven’t done this one before, so we don’t know what to expect,” said David Alvey, of F.A.B.D. Smokehouse. “We’re just going to go and serve people and hope people like it, but we’re fairly confident we will get good comments out there.”
Alvey should be confident; his barbecue was voted the best in Louisville by readers of Leo Weekly.
In addition to the flavorsome cuisine offered, the festival will serve its guests with top-talent blues artists from around the country. Hamilton Loomis, from Galveston, Texas, will headline on Saturday.
“I’ve done gigs in Louisville for many years, but never the Blues-n-Barbecue festival,” Loomis said. “My main goal is to make a connection with the audience. Music should be an interactive thing. It’s one thing to listen to music, but another thing to experience it.”
Another musician the audience can connect with is Greg Martin, of the Kentucky Headhunters. Martin was a former member of the Stray Cat Blues Band and reunited with the group three years ago. He, alongside Lamont Gillispie, will take the stage with the Stray Cat Blues Band on Sunday.
“Whenever the Stray Cat Blues Band plays, I’m there,” Martin said. “It’ll be my first time playing at the festival here, but we’ll be very loose. We’re not 18- or 19-year-olds trying to make it in the business. We just want to have fun.”
The festival will certainly be a fun time for everyone. With an estimated 15,000 in attendance, the event not only welcomes adults, but also children. There will be a children’s area around the Water Tower, where kids can have their face painted or jump inside an inflatable gym.
“We’ve tried to make the festival as affordable and as family-friendly as possible,” Washle said. “With the price of gas, a lot of people aren’t looking to travel this summer, but they’re looking for a more affordable trip somewhere close. We’re hoping people will come out and bring their whole family.”
Hours are 5 to 11:30 p.m. Friday, July 8; 4 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday, July 9; and 1 to 7 p.m. Sunday, July 10. Admission is $7 before 6 p.m., and $10 after 6 p.m. Children ages 10 and under are free. Parking is also be free.
For information, call 502.583.0333 or visit www.bisigimpactgroup.com/blues.
photos courtesy of Bisig Impact Group
Friday, July 8
5:30 p.m. The Jaywalkers
7:45 p.m. Nick Stump Blues All Stars
9:30 p.m. Tee Dee Young and The Scandalous Band
Saturday, July 9
4 p.m. Noah Wotherspoon Band
5:30 p.m. The Predators
7:45 p.m. Joe DeBow Band
9:30 p.m. Hamilton Loomis
Sunday, July 10
1 p.m. Johnny Roy & The Rubtones
3 p.m. The Straycat Blues Band featuring Greg Martin and Lamont Gillispie
5 p.m. Hellfish
Category: Cover Stories
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Ashley spends half her time writing stories at The Voice-Tribune office and half her time out on the town conducting interviews, while occasionally dressing in wild outfits to fully immerse herself in the experience (aka Princess Leia at Comic Con). Ashley is a huge UofL fan and loves the Yankees and the Boston Celtics (she is fully aware of the irony). She hopes to one day outshine Erin Andrews on ESPN and enjoys running, Bardstown Road/Fourth Street, Breaking Bad and reality TV (she’s not ashamed to admit that).