Blues in Bloom
For those of you who have weathered through a drought of winter blues, the spring and summer season is ready to bloom. The KBS Blues Cruise will embark again on Saturday, May 18 at 5:30 p.. from the Baxter Avenue side of Mid City Mall. Stevie Ray's will be the first destination for some barbeque in the Voodoo Gardens. The Kings Bees will start the music at 7:30 p.m. The busses will heard west to Goodloes at 22nd and Market St. to hear the 10th Street Blues Band.
There will be an early and late bus returning to the Mid City Mall at midnight and who knows? Since most clubs book music for late hours, we were limited for venues this year. There will be just two stops to stretch out and enjoy the music, beer and ambience.
The 19th Chicago Blues Festival is scheduled earlier this year, beginning on May 30 and running through June 2. The Festival will honor Muddy Waters with a gathering of some of the alumni of his bands, including Pinetop Perkins, Carey Bell, Luther Johnson, John Primer, Willie Smith, Calvin Jones plus special guest James Cotton on Friday night. Later that night, Bo Diddley will be reunited with Billy Boy Arnold, Jody Williams and his drummer Clifton James, who accompanied Diddley on some of his early Checker (Chess) Records. Other headliners include the Jelly Roll Kings, with Jack Johnson, Shemekia Copeland, Louisiana Red, John Mooney and Jimmy Dawkins, as well as some old-timers like John Brim, Homesick James and Honeyboy Edwards.
The W. C. Handy Festival will be two weeks later in Henderson, KY. Robbie Bartlett & Company will be featured on Wednesday, June 12 in Audubon Mill Park. The festival goes to southern Louisiana on Thursday, with the Zydeco music of Rosie Ledet and Sean Ardoin. Curtis Salgado and Eddy Clearwater will be part of the Riverbank Blues Blast on Friday. Finally, Saturday will close out the festival with Smokin' Joe Kubek with B'Noise King, Larry Garner, Bobby Rush and Room Full of Blues for the best lineup Henderson has ever had.
Back in Louisville, the KBS will hold its Unsigned Blues Competition on August 18 at Stevie Ray's. Entries are due by July 8. This was the same weekend that Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom previously had scheduled their festival but it has been cancelled. The Strassenfest is making a comeback this summer on August 30 through September 1 at Slugger Field. Stevie Ray's will sponsor a blues tent featuring Louisville bands. There have been some preliminary discussions about starting up the Garvin Gate Blues Festival again at its original location during the second weekend in October, but there is nothing definite until sponsors are set and money raised. Because blues events come and go, we need to support the ones we have.