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Blues in the park a big hit

September 2, 2012
JACKIE STARK - Journal Staff Writer , The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - The blues are raging once again at the Mattson Lower Harbor Park this weekend, as the 9th Annual Marquette Area Blues Fest kicked off with a full line-up of musicians Saturday.

And according to one of the event's organizers, they'll keep singing the blues in downtown Marquette for as long as they can this weekend.

"We've had to have Marquette's finest shut us down on one occasion because, well, once a musician starts playing, sometimes they like to keep going," said Mark Stonerock, president of the Marquette Area Blues Society.

Article Photos

Andrew “Jr. Boy” Jones, left, a musician from Texas, plays a little blues with some help from his bandmates Saturday afternoon at the ninth annual Marquette Area Blues Fest in Mattson Lower Harbor Park. (Journal photo by Jackie Stark)

The festival began with the band Mid-Nite Storm warming up the crowd. Headlining on Saturday were Grammy nominated blues musician John Primer and 2008 International Blues Challenge winners Trampled Under Foot, a band comprised of three siblings.

"Trampled Under Foot is a family group that's really been tearing 'em up," Stonerock said. "They've been really popular all over the world."

Headlining today's festivities will be Levee Town, a foursome based out of Kansas City, and Carolyn Wonderland, an award-winning musician from Texas.

"She's a fantastic vocalist, guitar player and trumpet player," Stonerock said.

Plenty of people were already filling the park's open field Saturday afternoon, bringing lawn chairs and settling in for an evening filled with the blues.

Two Gwinn residents, Nick Mills and Logan Fish, decided to show up in style Saturday, decked out in the famous combination of black suits, shades and hats sported by John Belushi and Dan Akroyd in their 1980 hit "The Blues Brothers."

Mills, dressed as "Jake," and Fish, dressed as "Elwood," said they had already purchased the suits as a Halloween costume for last year, and decided they'd be perfect for an afternoon filled with live blues music.

"Lots of people have been stopping by for pictures," said Mills, who was making his second trip to the Marquette Area Blues Fest, having gone once before in 2010.

Even with the weather reaching up into the mid-70s Saturday, both men said the suits weren't too uncomfortable, so long as they stayed in the shade.

"It's been a lot of fun," Fish said.

Blues Fest goers today can expect another round of sunny weather, with highs expected to reach the upper 70s, according to the National Weather Service.

The festival also offers plenty of food from local and non-local vendors alike, as well as several booths set up selling Blues Fest merchandise and other, music-related items.

"This is the last great weekend of the summer," Stonerock said. "People who haven't heard this kind of music are going to be really pleasantly surprised...

"It's just a great place to come and hang out in the beautiful weather in a really beautiful city."

Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is



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