Jim Byrnes is one of the headliners at this year’s Summertime Blues Festival in Maffeo Sutton Park. The festival returns to downtown Nanaimo after a one-year break.

Jim Byrnes is one of the headliners at this year’s Summertime Blues Festival in Maffeo Sutton Park. The festival returns to downtown Nanaimo after a one-year break.

Back to the blues

Summer music festival returns after one-year break

Music fans are encouraged to bring their dancing shoes to an annual summer blues festival.

After a one-year hiatus, the Summertime Blues Festival returns to Nanaimo Aug. 26-28.

Blues legends such as Jim Byrnes, Downchild Blues Band and Doc Robillard, not to mention David Gogo, headline the three-day event at Maffeo Sutton Park.

“We’ve got such an exciting project, the enthusiasm rose 10-fold,” said Keith Davenport, president of the Nanaimo Blues Society, the organization hosting the event.

In addition to the headliners, the event also features local talent and festival favourites, such as Bill Johnson, Summer and the Sinners and the Renovation Blues Band.

The lineup was the result of a brainstorming session among the directors of the society.

“We tossed around a lot of different names,” Davenport said.

After drastic cuts to community gaming grants in 2009, the society decided to cancel the festival last year rather than risking debt or financial hardship. During that year, the society considered all options for funding and established new sources for this year’s event.

“We had to lie fallow for the year,” Davenport said. “It enabled us to truly look at all our options.”

One of the biggest changes is the venue, moving from Diana Krall Plaza to Maffeo Sutton Park. The other is that the festival is now a ticketed event.

Davenport said the society aimed to keep ticket prices low in comparison to other blues festivals in the province.

Until June 30, people can get a discount on three-day passes and skip the HST on single-day tickets. Early bird passes are $75 ($95 after July 1) and single tickets are $40 ($44.80 after July 1).

Food vendors will be on site and Davenport is inviting artists to contact the society to become part of the event.

“It will look much like a traditional festival,” he said.

The stage will be higher off the ground, maintaining sight lines around those who like to dance.

“Our dancing fans love this environment,” Davenport said.

For tickets, or for more information, please visit www.nanaimoblues.com.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com

 

SUMMERTIME BLUES FESTIVAL

Schedule of performers

 

FRIDAY

3-4 p.m. – Renovation Blues Band

4-5:30 p.m. – Summer and

the Sinners

5:30-7 p.m. – Bill Johnson

7-9 p.m. – David Gogo

9-11 p.m. – Downchild Blues Band

 

SATURDAY

Noon – Gates open

1:30 p.m. – Lazy Mike and

the Rockin’ Recliners

3 p.m. – Deb Rhymer Band

4:30-6 p.m. – Soupbone Blues

6-7:30 p.m. Steve Kozak

7:30-9 p.m. Fathead

9-11 p.m. Duke Robillard

 

SUNDAY

Noon – Gates open

1-2:30 p.m. – Sojourners

2:30-4 p.m. – Ansen Shomakhov

4-5:30 p.m. – Lester 2

5:30-7 p.m. – Cousin Harley

7-9 p.m. – Jim Byrnes