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The Flagstaff Blues and Brews Festival is back for its fifth year on June 10, 2017, at the Continental Country Club Driving Range in east Flagstaff.
Great local and regional beers start to flow from the taps at 11 a.m. and the music kicks off at 11:30 a.m., going throughout the day until 9 p.m. The festival features 10 acts, including three acoustic performances, and headliners North Mississippi Allstars taking the stage at 7:30 p.m.
Mom and daughter duo and Flagstaff natives, Debbi and Jennifer Grogan, have grown this festival in popularity, size and recognition in four short years. In 2016, the event made it on the list of the “Top 10 most beautiful Blues Festivals,” by American Blues Scene and became the largest blues festival in Arizona, tripling audience size from the first year. The Flagstaff Blues and Brews Festival promises to rival top blues festivals in the southwest region.
The 2017 headlining band, North Mississippi Allstars, have been playing music together for 20 years and have been nominated for six awards, including a 2013 Grammy for best folk album. Members of the Allstars have teamed up with Robert Randolph and John Medeski to form the Word, an instrumental/gospel blues jam band. Luther Dickinson, one of the founding members, also dedicates his time to playing with renowned band, the Black Crowes.
The 2017 festival lineup includes: 2016 Blues Music Award winner, Victor Wainwright and The Wild Roots as well as Chubby Carrier & Bayou Swamp Band, a 2011 Grammy Award Winner for Best Zydeco or Cajun Album. California-based Harlis Sweetwater, who had the crowds dancing and singing like crazy in 2015, will make a return appearance this year. Also, Sistahs Too from Phoenix and two local bands from Flagstaff, Mother Road Trio and Soul Summit, will be kicking things off.
After attending Telluride Blues and Brews for so many years, Debbi wondered why there wasn’t a festival like that in Flagstaff. With the Grand Canyon as our backyard, and being a popular summer travel destination for many Arizonans, Nevadans, and Californians, it just made sense. “I love the blues not only for the music, but also the history of this genre and the influence it has had on so many artists,” Debbi explained. This festival means so much to the Arizona music community and they plan to expand to two days eventually. The Flagstaff Blues and Brews Festival reaches beyond the experience of the music. Every year Debbi and Jennifer choose a non-profit to receive a portion of the festival’s proceeds. This year, the event will benefit Orchestra Northern Arizona, founded seven years ago by former London Symphony conductor David Cripps and his wife Melisa. They’ve grown the orchestra to 60+ musicians and play four free shows per season. Most recently, they’ve brought a youth orchestra to the community. With the festival’s help, they can put instruments into the hands of children who can’t otherwise afford them. When Melissa watches the kids perform she says, “It just gives me goosebumps. They’re so professional and dedicated to their music.”
The festival strives to bring an incredible experience to Flagstaff while supporting the youth in our community, growing their love of and skill in performing music. Visit www.flagstaffblues.com for more information and to purchase your tickets. Tickets are $35 for general admission and $85 for the VIP package.