You might need your umbrella, but don't let the possibility of rain keep you from checking out tonight's start of the 11th Annual Marquette Area Blues Fest at Elwood Mattson Lower Harbor Park.
The event is one of Marquette's main entertainment attractions, and for good reason: It brings in top-notch performers, giving the local public a chance to hear great blues music they don't always get to experience in person.
Tonight offers everyone a taste of this year's festival, with two bonuses. First, it's a free show. Second, it starts off at 6 p.m. with Jeff Daniels and The Ben Daniels Band. And yes, it's that Jeff Daniels, the actor from "Terms of Endearment" and "The Purple Rose of Cairo." Following that performance at 8 p.m. are the Jimmys.
Although the next two nights require tickets, it's worth it. The Fireside Blues Band kicks off Saturday with a 1 p.m. performance. Filling out the day and evening are Uncle Pete's All-Star BBQ Blues Band, Jim Suhler and Monkey Beat, Johnny Rawls and Rick Estrin and the Nightcats.
Kraig Kenning starts off the entertainment at 1 p.m. Sunday, followed by Cannonball Drag, Ray Fuller and the Bluesrockers, Lurrie Bell and Nikki Hill.
The fun doesn't stop after the last note is played on stage. The Festival After Party and Blues Jam, featuring Fuller and guests, will be at the nearby Elks Lodge along Front Street after the last act Sunday. Tickets for that event, which are $5 each, are available at the festival.
Although it might be too late for some folks to get their $45 weekend passes through Northern Michigan University's EZ tickets, $50 weekend tickets and $30 daily tickets are available at the gate.
There also are $10 daily "young adult" tickets for anyone age 15 to 23 with valid identification, also available at the gate. Children 14 and under are admitted free if accompanied by a paid adult.
How many people can listen to great blues music right alongside Lake Superior? Consider yourself lucky - and don't miss that experience.