Bigger, Better Blues Fest Returns To Waterville On Saturday, July 31

The Blues, Brews and Brats festival is back – and bigger than ever.

After a COVID-19 break in 2020, the seventh annual benefit for the Waterville Rotary Club will return to downtown Waterville on Saturday, July 31. 

“This year’s lineup is the strongest we have ever had,” said organizer John Henry, of Third Street Cigar Records.

The lineup includes three performers.

Selwyn Birchwood is a blues guitarist, vocalist and songwriter based out of Florida who won the 2013 International Blues Challenge. He self-released two albums before signing with Alligator Records. His fifth album, Living in a Burning House, just came out this year. He’s known for his energy, soulful vocals and lap steel guitar.

Ronnie Baker Brooks has been named “blues royalty” for his Chicago blues sound. With his father, Lonnie, in the business, it was no surprise that Ronnie picked up a guitar at age 6. While Ronnie had played with his father and brother, Wayne, as the Brooks Family, he began pursuing a solo career in 1998 and has released three albums in addition to writing and touring with other blues musicians.

Johnny Rawls is familiar with Waterville, as his latest album, I’m Still Around, was released by Third Street Records and won the Soul Blues Album of the Year. The 69-year-old was influenced by the deep soul music of the 1960s and that comes through in the 15 albums released in his name.

This year, the festival has expanded to include both ends of Third Street. 

“This will allow for more people and better sound,” Henry said. “The sound people have enhanced and expanded their system, which will allow them to have better sound further down the street.”

On South Third Street, food trucks and restrooms will be set up, while the stage will remain on North Third Street, where it’s always been.

Expect to see additional food trucks, including Grumpy’s, Deet’s BBQ, Manny’s Munchies and 2,500 brats cooked by the Bowling Green Rotary Club. Cold beer will also be available at the event. Guests should bring chairs for seating.

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and tickets are $15.00.

Proceeds from the event will benefit Waterville Rotary Club causes, including the YMCA KidZone, downtown park improvements, scholarships, medical supplies for countries in need and international clean water projects.

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