Byron Crossroads Blues Festival set for Aug. 28

From press release

BYRON, Ill.—The Inaugural Byron Crossroads Blues Festival is being held from noon to midnight, Saturday, Aug. 28.

Tickets for the fest are available in Byron at Byron Bank, Byron City Hall, Snyder’s Market, The Barber Shop, Leombruni’s Italian Village, Fifth Alarm, Tailgater’s Sports Bar and Grill, Spanky’s Byron Inn Tavern, the Cave Inn, Karla’s and Poor Pauly’s Pub and Sunrise II Restaurant.

Tickets are also available from all Crossroads Blues Society officers and board members, in Rockford at Guzzardo’s Music and Big Cities Lounge and online at: Ticket prices are $5 in advance and $10 at the gate.

The festival is run by the Crossroads Blues Society (CBS), a non-profit organization in the Rockford area that runs Blues In The Schools programs to educate area youth about the blues and roots of American music.

CBS has run 81 school programs that have reached out to more than 23,000 students since 2002. They are running this festival with the assistance of the Downtown Byron Bar and Restaurant Association.

Members of the association will provide all the food served at the festival, highlighting the great fare available at their Byron restaurants. The association is composed of The Cave Inn, The Fifth Alarm, Leombruni’s Italian Village, Karla’s and Poor Pauly’s Pub, Sunrise II Restaurant, Spanky’s Byon Inn Tavern and Tailgater’s Sports Bar and Grill. Food will be served outdoors in the festival area and in their establishments; they are all within the festival area, and access to their restaurants and bars is available to patrons.

Beer and other malt beverages will be available at three location in the festival area, centered at the crossroads of Second and Union streets in downtown Byron. The local bars will remain open late until 2 a.m., some with live music.

Opening the festival at noon will be the Barstool Bob Blues Band. Headed by Bob Levis, this band plays traditional Chicago blues. Levis toured the U.S. and the globe for many years with the legendary Otis Rush. He later toured as the rhythm guitar player with the great Lonnie Brooks. He was also in the house band for Kingston Mines for 18 years, one of the top blues clubs in Chicago. Levis now lives in Rockford, and produced his first solo CD recently.

The Resistors play their brand of rocking blues at 2 p.m. Another local band with pop and power, they will impress the listener with their gutsy authentic Chicago sound.

The music switches to acoustic blues at 4 p.m. with Filisko and Noden. Joe Filisko is a noted harmonica virtuoso who also custom builds harps (the blues term for harmonicas). Eric Noden is an accomplished acoustic guitar player, solo artist and blues music educator. He and Filisko often team up as a duo for performances around the country to great acclaim. Crossroads has used them many times for school and local performances.

The Cashbox Kings are at 6 p.m. These young guys play a straight-up and clean sounding old-style Chicago blues. Their recent CD, titled I 94, on Blue Bella Records, has received high marks from critics and a lot of airplay on radio stations nationwide. Guitar legend and Grammy winner Billy Flynn will be joining them as they perform for the festival.

Next up is the Westside Andy/Mel Ford Band from Madison, Wis., at 8 p.m. These guys perform a jumping and swinging sounding blues and have a huge following in the Midwest. Andy’s harp and Mel’s big guitar sound pack venues every time they perform, and an added treat will be Barrelhouse Chuck accompanying them on keyboards. Chuck learned to play piano at the feet of legends like Sunnyland Slim and Little Brother Montgomery; his barrelhouse piano and organ work is truly amazing.

Closing out the night will be Dave Weld and the Imperial Flames. Chicago and Rockford favorites, this band lacks national exposure because Dave has stayed in the area to attend to his mother who was ill. She unfortunately passed away recently, but now he has completed a new CD long in the making and is touring again. Burnin’ Love is his new release on Delmark Records, and it has run up the charts fast. Dave learned guitar from Chicago Westside Blues Hall of Fame legend J.B. Hutto and delivers a raucous and hot brand of blues. With Howlin’ Wolf’s sax man Abb Locke, the sweet-sounding Jeff Taylor on drums, Brother Dave K on bass and the ebullient and soulful Monica Myhre assisting on vocals, these guys and gal will please the festival crowd with their great sound.

A kids’-oriented music event will be held at about 2 p.m. in the festival. The first 50 kids 12 years old and younger who arrive at the Crossroads tent at 2 p.m. will receive a free harmonica and harmonica lesson from Joe Filisko!

The event will be held rain or shine; bring chairs, no coolers or outside food and beverages are allowed but plenty of food, soft drinks, and beer will be available. Beer and hard lemonade coolers are $3.50, soda pop and half-liter waters are $1 and an assortment of affordable food will be served.

Festival menu items include burgers, Philly cheesesteaks, Italian sausage, chicken wings, Chicago-style hot dogs, Polish sausage and kraut, pizza, brats, walking tacos, pork chop sandwiches, corn on the cob, Chicken George, barbecued ribs, beef brisket sandwiches and more, plus the restaurants in the festival area are serving much of their normal menu items indoors.

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From the Aug. 25-31, 2010 issue

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