Thousands of visitors expected at Kalamazoo Blues Festival

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Photo of Popa Chubby.

Popa Chubby will perform at the Kalamazoo Blues Festival.

KALAMAZOO--The 19th annual Kalamazoo Blues Festival held Thursday through Saturday, July 12-14, will feature three days of music and many other workshops and family activities at Arcadia Creek Festival Place in downtown Kalamazoo.

Musical performances

Thursday, July 12

  • Gates open 4:30 p.m. 
Admission is $5
  • 5 to 5:50 p.m., Jim Klein Band
  • 6:05 to 6:55 p.m., Blues Time
  • 7:10 to 8 p.m., Bosco Gee
  • 8:15 to 9:05 p.m., Crossroads
  • 9:20 to 10:45 p.m., Stacy Mitchhart

Friday, July 13

  • Gates open 4:30 p.m. 
Admission is $10.
  • 5 to 5:50 p.m., Marble Garden
  • 6:05 to 6:55 p.m., Marci Linn
  • 7:10 to 8:25 p.m., Anthony Gomes
  • 8:40 to 9:55 p.m., Shaun Murphy
  • 10:10 to 11:30 p.m., Popa Chubby
  • 11:45 p.m. to 12:40 a.m., 7th Son

Saturday, July 14

  • Gates open at 11 a.m. Admission is $12.
  • 12:15 to 12:45 p.m., Marisa & The Madcats
  • 1 to 1:50 p.m., Duffield Caron Project
  • 2:05 to 2:55 p.m., JR Clark
  • 3:10 to 4 p.m., Frog & The Beeftones
  • 4:15 to 5:05 p.m., Stan Budzynski
  • 5:20 to 6:10 p.m., Steve Hilger Band
  • 6:25 to 7:15 p.m., Hoopties
  • 7:30 to 8:40 p.m., Jimmy Johnson
  • 8:55 to 10:15 p.m., Kelley Hunt
  • 10:30 to 11:50 p.m., Tommy Castro
  • Midnight to 12:50 a.m., BMF

Admission for concerts is $5 Thursday, $10 Friday and $12 Saturday. Children 12 and under are free as long as they are accompanied by an adult member of their household. A three-day festival pass for $15 also is available online from June 1 to July 9 on the festival's website, kvba.org, and at several area retailers listed on the website.

Blues workshops

Friday, July 13

  • 7 p.m., Blues Harmonica with Dave Hunt. Free harmonicas for all attendees. Topics include; chords, playing a single note, bending notes, scales, octaves, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd positions, and how to do that train thing. Also, examine Hunt's unique collection of unusual harmonicas. More experienced harmonica players are invited for further discussion and play at the conclusion of the seminar.

Saturday, July 14

  • 2 p.m., Build Your Own Cigar Box Guitar with Tim Brouhard and Alex Mays. Build a functioning, three string cigar box guitar. All materials, instruction and hands-on assistance is provided. Supplies are limited, and there may be a fee for participants.
  • 3:30 p.m., Blues Guitar with Dave Allemang. Participants bring their own guitars to play. Crossroads Resurrection guitarist Dave Allemang teaches blues fundamentals for beginning and intermediate level guitarists. Topics include 12 bar blues structure, alternate chordings and rhythmic groves.
  • 5 p.m., Bass and Drums with Bill Hughes and Steve Kovack. These Seventh Son members reveal how the rhythm section is the backbone of any blues, rock or jazz band. Topics include how to count time, shuffle beat, double shuffle beat, swing beat, rock beat, Latin beat, playing 'behind' or 'ahead' of the beat and more.
  • 6 p.m., Blues Song Structure with Dave Cleveland. The keyboardist from Seventh Son and guests demonstrate how common blues songs are structured. Topics include basic music theory, 12 bar blues, the 'quick 4', the 'turnaround', eight-bar blues, single chord songs, major versus minor and more.

Lessons are free and last between 45 minutes and an hour. Each seminar is a self-contained lesson, and it is not necessary to attend any additional lessons.

Children's activities also will run from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday at the festival site. T-shirts, jewelry, calendars, CDs, festival posters and more will be available to purchase throughout the three-day event.

The Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association and several local businesses sponsor the annual Kalamazoo Blues Festival. For more information or to volunteer, call (269) 381-6514 or visit kvba.org.