Organizers have nicknamed it the “best little gospel blues festival west of Chicago.”
It’s time for the 8th annual Back to the Blues Festival all weekend at Threshermen’s Village next to Heritage Park.
“The festival is all about good music, family time and our charity projects, namely our overseas water-drilling projects,” says B2B organizer Kevin Pentland.
Kicking off the music on Friday night is First Born Live from Washington State, then local band Chopped Liver will warm up the crowds for up-and-comers New World Son.
One of the attractions at the event are the “good, old-fashioned” jam sessions on Friday and Saturday nights after the shows, says Pentland.
“The jam session are always a big hit with folks,” he says.
This year they’re also setting up a second stage, located to the right of the main stage at the gospel blues festival, which runs July 29-31.
“We tried this stage out last year and it got great reviews, so we’re bringing it back,” said Pentland.
The secondary stage will feature local talent from around the Fraser Valley and Washington State, he says.
Lots of performers are first-timers for the Chilliwack event, but many are returning because of the buzz being generated by all the great blues being performed in Chilliwack every summer.
One example is Juno-nominated Danny Brooks and the Rockin’ Revelators.
“Danny Brooks couldn’t make it last year due to heart surgery, so we’re thrilled he’s able to join us this time around.”
The closing night last year saw a moving tribute played by Lee Sanders in Brooks’ honour.
Also a last-minute addition for this year will be Thomas McClary, guitarist for Lionel Ritchie and the Commodores who will be on stage at B2B on Sunday at 5:30 p.m.
“We are excited about the line-up and are looking forward to another great weekend,” said Pentland.
Here are some the confirmed acts for B2B 2011: Danny Brooks and Rockin’ Revelators, Darrell Mansfield, The Sojourners, New World Son, John Lee Sanders, Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne, Ord-Strauss Blues Revue, Marv Gobel, First Born Live, Black Owl Blues Band, Four in the Fire.
“Plus we have several hot local bands that are sure to get people on their feet,” Pentland says.
They include Steve Delamar and band from Chilliwack, Aron Loewen and Vytal Sygns from Yarrow, Chopped Liver with Darrel Lahaye from Yarrow, and Four in the Fire with Rob Taylor from Langley.
Closing out the big blues weekend will be the “legendary” Darrell Mansfield backed up by Rob Taylor.
B2B blues festival 2011, July 29-31, Atchelitz Threshermen’s Heritage Village. Tickets at the gate (cash only) or at these Chilliwack locations: Verses Book Store or Long & McQuade on Luckakuck Way, or Valley Water on Railway. Find out more about early tickets and festival passes at: http://www.back2blues.com/index.htm