Blues Fest set to kick off Friday

The 19th annual Marquette Area Blues Fest kicks off Friday evening at Marquette’s Ellwood A. Mattson Lower Harbor Park. (Courtesy image)

MARQUETTE — Labor Day weekend will have plenty to offer music enthusiasts in the Marquette area as the 19th annual Marquette Area Blues Fest kicks off Friday evening.

The festival begins Friday and continues through Sunday at Marquette’s Ellwood A. Mattson Lower Harbor Park. The annual blues extravaganza features regional and national artists, as well as a certified legend of the genre.

Beyond the music, this year’s festival will feature many other attractions, including a large variety of food vendors, a beer and wine tent, free workshops and plenty of arts and crafts booths.

The yearly favorite gets underway Friday with a free concert as a thanks for the community’s continued support of the festival. Gates open for the Friday performance at 5 p.m. and the concert itself will begin at 6 p.m. with Chicago-based new school blues artist Corey Dennison. Friday’s concert wraps up at 8 p.m. with the Steepwater Band, another Chicago blues group that has been together since the late 1980s.

Friday’s free show is sponsored by Higher Love Cannabis Co. and The Ore Dock Brewing Company.

Saturday continues with gates opening up at noon to ticket holders and music kicking off at 1 p.m., featuring five performances from a wide variety of artists.

Saturday evening’s headliner is Larry McCray, a highly respected and awarded blues guitarist in the tradition of B.B. King. McCray has been performing for more than 30 years and has played with many legends of the genre. Originally born in Arkansas, McCray moved to Michigan when he was 12, where he eventually worked at General Motors before pursuing a long career in music.

McCray’s set begins at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Sunday, the final day of the festival, also starts at 1 p.m. and sees the music continue until Sunday’s headliner, Curtis Salgado, starts at 8 p.m.

Salgado is an Oregon-based, award-winning singer and harmonica player and has played with the likes of Santana, Robert Cray and even performed with John Belushi and Dan Akroyd in their portrayal of the Blues Brothers.

The weekend wraps up with a post-festival party at Marquette’s Ore Dock Brewing Company and will feature a set from The Ivy Ford Band.

Advance tickets are available for $60 from the Northern Michigan University ticket website at nmu.universitytickets.com or by phone at 906-227-1032.

Weekend passes are $70 for adults, with adult day passes $40. Daily young adult passes for ages 15-23 are $10, and 14 and under get in free.

Tickets can be purchased from Marquette Wallpaper and Print, Yooptone Music or the NMU ticket office at the Forest Roberts Theatre on NMU’s campus.

More information about the festival and the Marquette Area Blues Society can be found online at www.marquetteareabluessociety.org.


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