By Chris Day
STILLWATER, Okla. —
The blues are back in town.
Some of the top blues performers in the nation will be in Stillwater for the Bikes ’N Blues Festival from 6-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Payne County Expo Center. Admission is free.
Friday’s lineup features the Black Kat Benders, James Groves Blues Machine and The Salty Dogs.
Saturday’s performers include Dirty Red and The Soul Shakers, David Berstein Duo, The Steepwater Band and Popa Chubby.
The Stillwater Blues Festival was billed as the largest free blues concert in Oklahoma for more than a decade. The recession forced the city of Stillwater to reduce the parks and recreation department’s budget. The festival was canceled after the 2009 event.
The Stillwater Community Center Foundation decided the time was right to bring the blues back to Stillwater, foundation board member Vera Long said.
The foundation also found five corporate sponsors for this year’s festival.
The foundation’s board felt it was important for Stillwater to return to its blues roots, Long said.
The James Groves Blues Machine won the 10th Annual Blues Challenge at Cain’s Ballroom in August. The band will represent Tulsa at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in January.
The Stepwater Band formed in Chicago in 1998. They have toured with Gov’t Mule, Buddy Guy, Wilco, Z.Z. Top, T-Model Ford, Cheap Trick, Bad Company and Heart.
Popa Chubby’s career dates back to 1990s. His latest album, Universal Breakdown Blues, was released in May. He has released more than 20 albums.
It’s an all-stages show and two-stages will be used to keep the blues flowing both nights. Vendors will be selling food and low-point beer.