Field of Blues Festival set for June 28 at Aviators Stadium

Staff Report

The Second Annual Field of Blues Festival is stepping up to the plate June 28 at Rockford Aviators Stadium. Featuring 2014 Blues Music Award-winning John Nemeth and four other great national and regional blues acts, $10 advanced tickets are still available.

Sponsored by Crossroads Blues Society, a local nonprofit agency that raises funds for their Blues in the Schools music programs, the festival will be an exciting day of music and fun. Bring a chair and sit on the field or pick out a seat in the stands and have a great time listening to the blues from noon until 9:30 p.m.

Crossroads has already run 129 programs for 40,000 area students, and all proceeds from the festival help them expand their programming. A variety of food and beverages will be available for purchase (no coolers in the ballpark).

The lineup features some great acts for 2014. Things begin at noon, so the doors will open at 11 a.m. Crossroads Blues Challenge winner The Alex Wilson Band open the day. Alex was a semi-finalist and finalist in the International Blues Challenge and has performed in Memphis three times at the International Blues Challenge.

Next up is the ever-popular Liz Mandeville and her band. They perform at 2 p.m. Liz brings her high-energy act from Chicago. It has been far too long since this red-headed blues diva has graced a stage in the Rockford area, and Crossroads is proud to finally bring her back.

The Jimmys will bring their swinging blues and other styles of music to the Rockford Aviators Stadium at 4 p.m. Jimmy Voegeli on keys, Perry Weber on guitar, the Young Horns, Mauro Magellan from the Georgia Satellites on drums, and if that is not enough, Bun E. Carlos will also sit in on drums.

At 6 p.m., the ever-cool Doug Deming and Dennis Gruenling will take the stage with the Jewel Tones. These guys both put out fantastic CDs that have gotten much radio airplay, and when they were featured in last year’s Byron Blues Fest, they were fan favorites. This will be a great set of rocking and swinging music.

At 8 p.m., the headliner will be John Németh. Since bursting onto the scene in 2007 with his dazzling national debut album, John Németh has wowed critics and audiences alike with his riveting vocals and harmonica prowess. The Philadelphia Inquirer testified to his standing in the current music scene with the comment: “Classic soul and R&B styles have been revitalized by artists such as James Hunter, Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed, and Sharon Jones. You can include John Németh on any list of the best of them.” Németh has a brand-new CD that has topped the charts, and he received the 2014 Blues Music Award for top soul blues artist of the year.

Between acts, the festival will feature local acoustic blues man Dan Phelps in the covered pavilion on the third base side of the stadium. Almost 10 hours of music starts at noon, with gates closing at 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Sales online are at, or tickets may be purchased at the following locations:

Loves Park — Aviators Stadium, The Hope and Anchor English Pub and Woodman’s;

Rockford — Guzzardo’s Performance Music, Alpine Bank (Alpine, Spring Creek, East State and CherryVale), Culture Shock, Toad Hall, CD Source, Rockford Area Arts Council, JustGoods Store and Lyran Society Club; and

Beloit, Wis. — Gary’s Guitars.

Crossroads Blues Society is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Call (779) 537-4006 for more details.

From the June 25-July 1, 2014, issue

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