By JAMES COOK firstname.lastname@example.org
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — BUCKLEY — The Blues are back.
The second annual Traverse City Area Blues Festival kicks off July 12 and continues the following day at the Southside Festival Grounds in Buckley.
“We wanted to bring a blues festival back to northern Michigan,” said Joey Callahan, CEO of Traverse City-based blues festival presenter Zuni Worldwide Entertainment. “It’s been vacant mostly in northern Michigan for 12 years. So many things are based off the blues. It’s really important to me.”
The festival follows on the heels of this weekend’s professional rodeo — featuring 188 pro cowboys — at the Southside. Doors for the blues festival open at 1 p.m. each day, with music starting at 4 p.m. July 12 and 3 p.m. July 13.
“The way the second year is going, we decided to add full lineups both days, instead of having Friday as a prelude to Saturday,” Callahan said.
Friday’s headliner is Kenny Wayne Shepherd, best known for the crossover hit “Blue on Black,” which reached No. 1 on the 1998 mainstream rock charts. Saturday’s lead act is Trampled Under Foot, which features siblings Danielle (vocals/bass), Kris (drums) and Nick Schnebelen (lead guitar) and is scheduled to play blues festivals in Quebec and Ottawa the previous two days. They’re more than a dozen festival acts.
“We’re covering all the bases,” said Callahan, whose headliner last year was Johnny Winter. “With Larry McCray, you’ve got the epic guitarist. Thornetta Davis brings the strong female vocals. Then we have Big James & The Chicago Playboys with their horn section. Tweed Funk brings that funky kind of blues. Harper is Australian and has the didgeridoo.”
Other acts includes Brewz Brotherz — a tribute act based on the Blues Brothers — East Bay Blue, Hipps-N-Ricco and the Chicago Blues All Stars.
The event will also include southern barbeque and beer for purchase.
Friday’s schedule starts with Hipps-N-Ricco, then continues with East Bay Blue and Harper Brewz Brotherz before closing with Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Saturday begins with Tweed Funk, followed by Chicago Blues All Stars, Thornetta Davis, Big James & The Chicago Playboys and Larry McCray. Trampled Under Foot closes out the festival.
Tickets cost $35 in advance for general admission and $65 for VIP, and increase $5 at the gate. They’re available at startickets.com, by calling 800-585-3737, and at RPM Records at 3275 S. Airport Rd. in Traverse City.