BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — Grab your dancin’ shoes and prepare to groove to the blues.
The eighth annual Blues, Brews and Brats Festival is coming to downtown Waterville on Saturday, July 29 beginning at 5:30 p.m.
“This year, we’re doing more of a party-band, rev-it-up theme,” said John Henry, whose Third Street Cigar is co-hosting the show with Waterville Rotary Club. “The lineup is more youthful, and it will have a more energetic, youthful atmosphere.”
Headlining the show is the Altered Five Blues Band, a Milwaukee quintet whose sixth studio album, Holler If You Hear Me, debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard Blues Chart and received three Blues Music Award nominations, including Album of the Year and Song of the Year.
“The Altered Five Blues Band is a strong band with a great front man,” said Brett Bonner, editor of Living Blues Magazine, referring to Jeff Taylor. “They put on a really good show and present themselves as a unified band, not just a bunch of musicians backing a singer. They have been together for nearly 20 years.”
Returning this year is Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers, which amped up the BBB crowd in 2019.
“People around here don’t see zydeco guys. When you see it, it’s like ‘Holy cow! This is fun and exciting.’ It gets the crowd energized,” Henry said.
Dwayne Dopsie is the son of zydeco great Rockin’ Dopsie and grew up immersed in the zydeco scene, Bonner said.
“He is one of the highlights of the young generation of zydeco players today with one foot in the roots of the sound but always looking forward and doing his own thing. Nothing beats a zydeco band for feeling good and dancing,” Bonner added.
The Ghost Town Blues Band, whose album Shine was the No. 1 blues album on the Billboard album charts, is a Memphis blues and blues rock band that is making its debut at the BBB Festival this year.
Opening the evening is Detroit’s Chris Canas Band, whose new album Detroit was recorded on the Third Street Cigar Records label and has been critically acclaimed by Blue Blast Magazine. Canas has written and arranged over 150 original songs and reimagined oldies. With Derek Washington on bass and vocals and Marc Anthony Guillory on drums, the Chris Canas Band has won several awards and earned a finalist spot in the 2020 International Blues Challenge.
Tickets for the show are $20.00 and available the day of the show. Bring a lawn chair to set up on Third Street. Brats and other food, along with beverages, will be available for sale from food trucks.
Proceeds will benefit the Waterville Rotary, which supports area schools with scholarships and the Anthony Wayne Interact Club, as well as food banks, YMCA, Nature’s Nursery and other nonprofit organizations.