The Gumbo Cook-off, organized by Bill Sarkozy to benefit Ministry with Community, will be held from noon to 7 p.m. Sunday, March 2, at 139 S. Edwards St. in downtown Kalamazoo. Almost 30 chefs from around the area will compete for best gumbo.
There will also be live music, a raw bar, celebrity oyster shucking and lots of gumbo.
Admission for the Gumbo Cook-off is $20 in advance, or $25 at the door.
Here is the schedule of events:
Timeline of Events:
For more information, call 269-217-3455 or go to www.gotokra.com.
Blues And Brew-Ski Winter Fun!
Looking for a new way to have fun in the middle of this long, cold, very snowy winter? Come on out to Timber Ridge Ski Area on Friday, February 14 and Saturday, February 15 to enjoy some of the best that Michigan has to offer: craft beer and local blues. Three KVBA member bands, Gee-Daddy’s BIG Blues Review Featuring Martila Sanders, Big Trouble, and Crossroads the Resurrection, along with Bob the Band, will perform at the two-day event.
Michigan craft beers will be featured, with several breweries presenting their best brews for your tasting enjoyment. A new Bell’s Beer will be featured on Friday, Feb. 14–Happy Valentine’s Day!
The festivities run from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm Friday night, and begin at noon on Saturday. The performance schedule for the two days is:
Friday 2/14/14 6:00 pm: Gee-Daddy’s BIG Blues Review Featuring Martila Sanders
Saturday 2/15/14 Noon: Bob the Band
3:00: Big Trouble
6:00: Crossroads the Resurrection
Good music, great beer, and fun in the snow–it must be February in Michigan! See you there!
You know, these days everyone and his or her cousin has an opinion on the blues, and what it should or shouldn’t be. So here is a great opportunity to get your voice heard about the meaning and relevance of this historic music form in these digital and modern times.
A good friend is conducting this as work on their PhD thesis, might be a book…might be earth shattering. Might even be a keen insight into the minds of blues fans around the world.
So, if you are a fan of the blues, you can help us all find out more about what it is that makes the blues unique.
A good friend of mine is conducting research around the relevance of the blues in the 21st century. You can help by following the link below and taking the online survey.
Afterwards, please share with friends, who also might be blues fans. This survey will run through February so get on it and spread the word.
Thanks for your help,
Franke Center’s 4th Annual Winter Blues Festival
- Date: Saturday, February 8, 2014
- Time: 7:00 PM start time
- Location: 214 E Mansion St in Marshall
- Fee: $20 in advance; $22 at the door; students half price
- Website: http://frankecenterforthearts.org/events.taf?_function=detail&id=244
- Contact: Franke Center at 269 781-0001
Held each year, the popular Winter Blues Festival returns for its fourth year with another sizzling lineup featuring Larry McCray.
The McCray style of blues is broadly appealing as his bold, brawny, often dazzling guitar lines are matched with confident, soul-drenched vocals; it’s that appeal that has drawn attention worldwide. He is undoubtedly up there with the very best bluesmen alive today. McCray is one of a handful of talented young blues performers leading the genre across boundaries and into the new century. McCray’s savage blues-rock guitar and warm, soulful vocals have drawn attention worldwide. McCray’s hard work paid off when he became the first artist signed by Virgin Records’ blues division.
Ice, Wine & Blues! A Winter Festival
- Date: Fri & Sat, February 7-8, 2014
- Time: varied
- Location: Marshall Area
- Fee: $20 wristband for 10 tastings; $30 winetasting and goblet
- Contact: MAEDA/Marshall Main Street 269 781.5163 – Karen Hagerty
Marshall Main Street along with the Franke Center for the Arts are celebrating the season with the 3rd annual Winter Blues Festival – Ice, Wine & Blues!
The Marshall Winter Blues Fest – Ice, Wine & Blues will begin on Friday, February 7th with dozens of beautiful ice carvings created downtown by artist John Merucci of Icescapes. In addition, the stores will be welcoming shoppers throughout the day for some retail therapy.
From 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM there will be a wine tasting available at 15 downtown businesses.
WINE TASTING LOCATIONS
- Bogar Theater – 223 E Michigan Ave
- Marshall Broadway Grille – 107 W Michigan Ave
- East End Studio & Gallery – 143 W Michigan Ave
- Marshall Flower Haus/Warner Wines – 116 E Michigan Ave
- Handle & Hinge – 148 W Michigan Ave
- Hodges Jewelers – 117 W Michigan Ave
- The Mole Hole of Marshall – 150 W Michigan Ave
- Not Your Average Deals – 138 W Michigan Ave
- paper & i – 116 E Michigan Ave
- Pure Eden – 213 W. Michigan Ave
- Quality Engraving – 221 W Michigan Ave
- Quilts at the Marshall House – 100 Exchange St
- Schuler’s Restaurant & Pub – 115 S Eagle St
- Vint-Edge – 114 W Michigan Ave
- Zarzuela – 301 E Michigan Ave
As you select your favorite wines to taste, you will find live blues music throughout town as well as you shop. Blues artists will perform in venues in the downtown and the outdoor sound system will keep the Blues in the air.
- $20 per person for 10 tastings
- $30 per person for 10 tastings with a goblet crafted by local artists
Wristband tickets will be available at all wine tasting locations the night of the event with legal ID. They will be accepting cash or checks. Schuler’s Restaurant and the Marshall Visitor Center (323 W Michigan Ave) will take cash/check/charge. Pre-sales will be available starting Monday, February 3rd at the Visitor’s Center in City Hall (note – these are “will call” and the purchaser must pick up their ticket at the Visitor Center to show proper ID).
For the kids - will be treated downtown by one of our sponsors -Magic Clouds Balloon Corp. They’ve seen them in the Marshall Parade with their flames visible down the street. Look for the flames on Jefferson Street where they will be “candlesticking” to identify the location for the hot chocolate station!
The ice artists from Icescapes will be carving at their downtown stations Friday the 7th starting in the early afternoon into the evening. They will continue on Saturday the 8th starting at 10:00 AM right downtown. Also on Saturday, the Franke Center for the Arts celebrates the blues with their 4thWinter Blues Festival.
Don’t miss this cool chance to shake the Winter Blues in downtown Marshall!
When Seventh Son heads for Memphis, Tennessee next week, it takes its place as the KVBA’s 15th entrant in the International Blues Challenge (IBC), the world-reknowned contest for recognition as the best of the best in the blues world. Following a tradition that was begun in 2000 with first local competition winner Annette Taborn and Blues House, Seventh Son will represent the KVBA on the stages in Memphis, and a large contingent of KVBA members and other supporters will go with them.
Why make the 12-hour (in good weather, a rare commodity at this time of year) road trip in the dead of winter to attend the IBC? Well, to listen to Seventh Son take the town by storm, of course! In addition, however, KVBA board president Ralph Yingling offers the following incentives for him:
Blues in just about every club on Beale St!
Record label showcases
Spontaneous jam sessions
BBQ (yeah, again!)
The New Daisy and The Daisy
125 Bands – 80 solo/duo acts – 4 days – 24 venues
50 degrees–and sometimes more!
And, as Mike Irelan of Bluespower adds, the ducks at the Peabody!
None of this even takes into account the chance to visit a city known as one of the true birthplaces of the blues; hang out with a lot of like-minded friends; visit historical gems like the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Sun Studios, The Center for Southern Folklore, and even (if you must), Graceland; walk in the relatively mild temperatures along the venerable Beale Street and surrounding districts; admire the great Mississippi River; or even make the short drive to Clarksdale, Mississippi, the heart of blues country.
Beale Street isn’t very long, and as the IBC has grown in its 30 years and more and more performers and fans flood into the town each year, it gets crowded! The venues are packed, the joints are all jumping, and there’s pretty much nonstop fun to be had. Keep your eyes on the KVBA website and Facebook pages during the week of January 21-25 for updates and breaking news on the KVBA adventures at the IBC!
The closure of the Blackhawk Grill/Stagecoach Barn in Richland, and the unfortunate fire at the On Deck Sports Bar and Grill in Battle Creek (and subsequent condemnation of the building) serve as reminders to me that nothing lasts forever.
A fragile economy, patrons with other priorities, and sometimes inadequate or misdirected marketing are not conducive to a thriving blues scene. We say it all the time: “get out and support live music” ; but, truthfully, that frequently seems to fall on non-responsive ears.
I’ve been to a ton of blues shows at the State Theatre over the last three years. Aside from mostly full houses at the yearly shows by local favorites Tab Benoit and Tommy Castro (and the jam-packed Jonny Lang show), attendance has been much lower in these recent years. Attendance numbers are often the final arbiter when the people with the financial responsibilities help management determine what kind of shows to put in a venue like the State Theatre. Things have been tight enough at the State that there was a question of whether the blues series was going to be further reduced, or even continued at all.
Likewise, I’ve been to a ton of blues shows in venues like The 411 Club, The Old Dog, Bennucci’s, Bell’s, and several other locations in Kalamazoo. Sadly, on too many of these opportunities, attendance has been lacking. Over the five year life-span of The 411 Club, I can count several great shows by national artists that had a very poor draw. It was really enough to make this grown man cry.
Local bands are struggling to find audiences too. I’m not entirely sure of the reasons–perhaps some of it comes down to the band doing the work it needs to do to publicize its shows. There’s a great reliance these days on social media like Facebook, but not everybody lives on Facebook. Bands looking to increase their audiences may be able to find more effective ways to reach more and new listeners.
Truthfully I hear all sorts of different reasons for staying home from potential patrons of live blues shows: “never heard of them,” “can’t afford it,” “don’t like the sound system,” “don’t have time,” and “I’ll catch the next show.” (I also remember the very frequent “it is too smoky in there” – can’t use that excuse anymore! Although this is now replaced with “I can smoke at home.”)
May I offer some suggestions, as someone who feels passionate about the blues and about live music? If you have never heard of a band, think of it as an opportunity to expand your horizons; if you cannot afford it, then go to one of the very many free jam sessions; if the sound is too loud invest in some good ear-plugs. Take the time to check the websites of local music venues to learn about their upcoming musical offerings. Talk to friends who go to shows. If you don’t make the time and the effort, these jewels of entertainment are going to vanish, and when these venues vanish there will be no next show to catch.
Do you profess to love the blues? Have you been to a show lately? What are the reasons that are keeping you away? Do the shows start too late? Do shows start too early? Is the venue too loud? Hate crowds? Please, let the KVBA know. We really would like to know so we can plan accordingly and advise our venue owners and bands…before they disappear.
Blackhawk Bar & Grill, Stagecoach Barn In Richland Stops Operations; On Deck Sports Bar and Grill In Battle Creek Destroyed In Fire
Southwest Michigan has recently lost a pair of popular music venues, known for featuring blues performers along with a wide variety of music and entertainment.
A fire early Monday, December 30, destroyed the On Deck Sports Bar and Grill at 225 W. Michigan Ave. in Battle Creek. The 100-plus year old four-story brick building, which once was the Sports Page, was a total loss. Firefighters were called at 4:21 a.m. and the first crews to arrive found heavy smoke pouring from the top of the building, said Battalion Chief Howard Holt. Flames soon climbed into the 18 degree night sky and were seen for blocks. Firefighters had to struggle with winter conditions in combatting the fire, and Michigan Avenue and neighboring businesses were closed for a time after the fire. The cause of the fire was still being determined.
The Blackhawk Bar & Grill and The Stagecoach Barn in Richland closed its doors on Sunday, January 5, after a final performance by DROP 35 the previous night.
In making the announcement to the public, the Stagecoach Barn wrote: ”This was a difficult decision because we love this old place. Nevertheless, the time has come when we needed to either close our doors or make significant new investments in the facility. As much as we would like for the story to be different, we simply cannot justify these expenditures.
We want to thank each of our customers for their support during the past 10 years. We will always carry fond memories of good fellowship in the bar and restaurant, listening to great bands in the Stagecoach Barn and celebrating freedom on Thursday nights in the company of, without question, the best group of bikers in Michigan.
One final thought, please join us in supporting our remaining local establishments like The Dock at Bayview, The Richland Pub, Misson Pointe, and Tujax Tavern. Thank you for all the great memories and God Bless.”
The KVBA would like to echo the Stagecoach’s words of encouragement for supporting local establishments that provide venues for live music. The opportunity to get out and hear the many talented performers, acts local, regional, and national, who appear on area stages throughout the year is a precious one, and one that could fade and vanish without the audiences who fill the clubs. While it may be tempting on a cold winter evening to settle into a recliner in front of the TV or computer screen, you’re missing the opportunity to hear real music played by real people, in real time, not to mention meeting or making friends and enjoying the hospitality and refreshments provided by places like the 411 Club, the State Theater, the Old Dog Tavern, Shakespeare’s Pub, the Warehouse, and so many more. So get out of those fuzzy slippers, fire up the old chariot, and get out there and help keep the blues alive!
The Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association, those wonderful folks who bring you the Kalamazoo Blues Festival, along with a whole lot of other blues-related activities, has at its heart a board of directors. As with all other aspects of the KVBA, everyone involved volunteers his or her time to help make the Festival, and everything else, happen. The KVBA board is structured to include 9 voting members and 3 alternates, who serve for terms of varying lengths. Each board member has his or her area of special skills and interests, and each serves on one or more committees that address specific issues involved with the running of the KVBA. Elections are held each autumn to determine the make-up of the next year’s board, but sometimes, as it happens, the board finds itself in need of filling a slot in between its regular elections. This is where we are now–seeking a person with the interest, energy, and skills to join the KVBA board and assume the position of Membership Committee Chair.
MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE CHAIR:
We are looking for someone who has the organizational skills, technical skills, and people skills to take the lead in membership recruiting and renewal efforts. Maintaining and growing the membership of the organization is a vital aspect of the life of the KVBA, and the person who steps up to take on this responsibility will become a central part of the life of one of Kalamazoo’s most long-lasting arts organizations.
Why would you want to do this? Well, being involved with the KVBA is fun, for a start. But in addition, becoming involved in the membership process will provide the KVBA’s newest board member with the satisfaction of using his or her knowledge and experience to help move the organization to a new level, while keeping the KVBA alive and growing in its mission to bring the blues to southwest Michigan and beyond.
These areas of responsibility will include (and not be limited to):
- working with the technology committee on migration to on-line membership tracking software
- working with existing technologies used to send membership cards, and renewal reminders
- coordinating list updates with newsletter, public relations, and news-blast committees
- coordinating member benefit lists and encouraging new providers
- taking charge of periodic blues community meetings
- coordinating membership events
The person taking this position will be filling an alternate board member spot on KVBA Board of Directors. As a new addition to the board, the membership committee chair will receive input and support from other knowledgeable board members on all facets of these responsibilities.
Questions? Want to learn more? Please send any inquiries to Ralph Yingling
|The BluesTime Band’s Farewell Performance Held Sunday, January 12th, at the Warehouse Concert Venue and Tap Room in Battle Creek.|
|The Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association is sad to announce the disbanding of a longtime staple of the local blues scene, and one of the first bands to become a member of the KVBA, BluesTime.
Says band leader Jack Beertema: ”The four-piece band I originally formed in 1999 with Gary Babic, Bob Hough & Bob Scooneas has come far, and quite a few changes have taken place along the way. An accident in 2005 sidelined our drummer Bob, and the BluesTime Band was put in limbo for a time. In 2006, after meeting and jamming with Dave Sabin several times, Blues Time Band along with drummer Bob and harp player Bob Scooneas was resurrected. By the summer of 2007 the band had evolved into the most recent line-up, Dave on lead/rhythm guitar and vocals, Tim Williams on drums and me, Jack Beertema, on bass & vocals. Dave & Tim are now off on a different venture and I wish them the best of luck.Will there be another evolution of the Blues Time Band? Sure thing, if it’s in the cards but for now I’ll be concentrating on the classic country music I’ve been playing with The Old Outlaws and attending some blues jams to get my blues fix in.”
The KVBA wishes Jack and the members of BluesTime all the best in their upcoming adventures, and we hope to see them again on local stages soon!