Everything you need to know about the Flagstaff Blues and Brews Festival

Lifestyle | 30 May |

Flagstaff Blues and Brews returns to Continental Country Club Driving Range on the weekend of June 7, with headlining sets by Larkin Poe, Tab Benoit, Samantha Fish and The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band.

A portion of the proceeds will go to the Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy’s Music and Art Programs.

Friday lineup 

Tab Benoit: Tab Benoit is a Cajun man who’s definitely got the blues. Benoit landed a recording contract with the tiny, Texas-based Justice Records and released a series of well-received recordings, beginning in 1992 with Nice and Warm, an album that prompted comparisons to blues guitar heavyweights like Albert King, Albert Collins and even Jimi Hendrix. (7:05 pm)

Larkin Poe: Larkin Poe have found their voice. In a genre as storied as American roots and soul, the sister duo are poised to make a mark all their own with the release of their fourth album Venom & Faith, out November 9. Rather than concede to the history of the canon they hold dear or rest on their laurels, Larkin Poe persist and emerge rattling, stomping, and sliding into a modern-day depiction of what roots rock should sound like. Another chapter in an everlasting story. (5:25 pm)

Carvin Jones: Carvin Jones is an explosive blues front man who astounds crowds with his raw talent and charisma. Carvin  has played 36 countries on 3 continents and has been well received by critics and fans alike. Carvin and his band currently averages around 330 live performances a year. (4:05 pm) 

Innocent Joe and the Hostile Witnesses: Innocent Joe, (Joe Kopicki), is a Mesa Arizona Musician who is gaining traction in the Arizona blues music scene.  He recently finished 2nd in the Arizona Blues Showdown put on by the Phoenix Blues Society.  (3 pm)

Saturday lineup 

The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band: There are few artists whose names are synonymous with one instrument and how it’s played in service to an entire genre. 

Utter the phrase “young blues rock guitarist” within earshot of anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the modern musical vanguard and the first name they are most likely to respond with will be Kenny Wayne Shepherd. The Louisiana born axeman and songsmith has sold millions of albums while throwing singles into the Top 10, shining a light on the rich blues of the past and forging ahead with his own modern twist on a classic sound he has embodied since his teens. 

In a 20-year recording career that began when he was just 16, Shepherd has established himself as an immensely popular recording artist, a consistently in-demand live act and an influential force in a worldwide resurgence of interest in the blues.  (6:30pm)

Samantha Fish: “You should always get outside of the box,” Samantha Fish says while discussing her boundary-breaking new album Belle of the West. “Challenging yourself is how you grow.”

After launching her recording career in 2009, Samantha Fish quickly established herself as a rising star in the contemporary blues world.  Since then, the charismatic young singer-guitarist-songwriter has earned a reputation as a rising guitar hero and powerful live performer, while releasing a series of acclaimed albums that have shown her restless creative spirit consistently taking her in new and exciting musical directions.

The New York Times called Fish “an impressive blues guitarist who sings with sweet power” and “one of the genre’s most promising young talents.”  Her hometown paper The Kansas City Star noted, “Samantha Fish has kicked down the door of the patriarchal blues club” and observed that the young artist “displays more imagination and creativity than some blues veterans exhibit over the course of their careers.”(4:50 pm)

Jeremiah Johnson Band: Born and raised in St. Louis, Jeremiah Johnson is the voice of Mississippi River blues blending with the struggles of everyday life.  He began learning guitar at age 6, drawing inspiration from his rich St. Louis blues heritage and legendary guitarists, like Alvin Lee, Eric Clapton and Hank Williams Sr. and Jr.  With these influences, Johnson began building his musical foundation. 

In 2011, Johnson was the proud winner of the St. Louis Blues Society IBC Challenge and went on to the semifinals to represent St. Louis in Memphis, TN.  One year later, Sirius XM’s B.B. King’s Bluesville picked up the Jeremiah Johnson Band, where they can be heard nationwide, and they have been playing his music ever since.  (3:15 pm)

Curley Taylor and Zydeco Trouble: Louisiana native Curley Taylor has been around music all of his life.  Born into a musical family, drums were Curley’s first instrument.  Curley began his professional career at age 16 by playing drums in his father’s band, Jude Taylor and the Burning Flames, a band deep in Louisiana Blues, Soul and Zydeco. 

By the age of 25, Curley had played drums with some of Louisiana’s musical legends, including:  CC Adcock, Steve Riley, John Hart, “L’il” Bob and the Lollipops, and his uncles, “L’il” Buck Senegal and Wayne “Blue” Burns.  He toured with CJ Chenier, son of the “King of Zydeco” Clifton Chenier, and a Zydeco legend in his own right.   

While traveling with CJ Chenier’s band, he became interested in playing the accordion and found he really enjoyed it.  Curley purchased his first accordion and, within six months, had learned to play.  He was told that he “played the accordion and the drums with great emotion and natural feeling.” Since his debut CD, Curley has released six more CDs of original music, making him one of the most prolific composers in Zydeco.  His latest project “Rise Up” was released in 2018. 

His bluesy, soulful vocals and the band’s hard driving Zydeco beat blend to create high-energy dance music for all audiences.  Curley’s music is true to its roots in Zydeco and Blues, but contemporary enough to appeal to a broad range of music lovers.(1:55 pm)

Beverly “Guitar” Watkins and the RD Olson Blues Band: For more than 60 years Beverly “Guitar” Watkins has been a phenomenon in the blues community. Backing her is the R.D. Olson Band.

The Music Maker Relief Foundation soon booked her on the all-star Women of the Blues “Hot Mamas” tour in 1998 and released her first CD “Back in Business,” which received a W.C. Handy Blues Award nomination in 2000. She has toured internationally, and her reputation as a live performer is unmatched. As she observes, “When I get on stage, it’s electrifying. I light up and get into the crowd. That’s what I call ministering to the public.”

Playing with Beverly is the R.D. Olson Band. This band plays blues with respect to the past and a good kick in the ass into the new millennium. You can’t help but feel a live performance resonate in your soul. Close your eyes and lt the music seep into your soul. (12:35 pm) 

Arizona Hired Guns: formed in Flagstaff, Arizona—is a five-piece outfit steeped in the rich harmonies and keen instrumentation of Southern rock ‘n’ roll, blues and soul. Sporting decades of experience each, the Hired Guns blaze forth with each member exchanging growling vocals while blending their respective sounds on guitar, bass, drums and keys. The group leans heavily into soulful guitar, often punched up with weeping slide that groans like the old ponderosa pines that envelop Flagstaff. With an ever-tuned ear toward the blues and constant energy that whips the crowd into a dancing fever spiced with Southern soul, the Hired Guns are set apart in skill and style. (11:30 am)

Other things to do at Flagstaff Blues and Brews

The Kids Zone: Children 12 and under get in free and can visit the Kid Zone for an experience made just for them, allowing parents to escape the crowds and take part in some family-friendly activities. Please note, though, that parental supervision is required at all times. 

Lawn Games: Join the fun while playing Connect 4, Bag Toss, Giant Jenga or Giant Twister!

Arts and Crafts Vendors: Shop amongst the many arts and crafts vendors who will be in attendance.

Food Vendors: Grab something yummy to eat from our wide variety of food vendors!

Event details

When do the gates open?

2:30 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. Saturday

Where do I enter?

The festival is located on at the Continental Country Club Driving Range, on the corner of Country Club and Old Walnut Canyon Road 

Re-entry

You may exit and re-enter with a wristband on. However, it is under the festival’s discretion to prohibit entry if wristbands have been tampered with.

Free admission for kids?

Yes. Children under 12 may enter the festival for free.

ADA accessibility

The park is ADA compliant.

Where do I park?

We have free on-site parking! But please feel free to carpool, or take the NAIPTA Bus line.  .

Transportation

The nearest bus stop is just north of the festival. Within walking distance.

Lyft, Uber and taxis are also available. 

Bikes will not be permitted on the grounds.

Food and water

There are water refill stations at the festival where you can fill your water bottles; you may also purchase bottled water at drink tents. There are food trucks that offer a wide array of choices, including vegetarian and gluten-free options. 

ATMs

Debit and credit are accepted on-site. So is cash. There will be ATMs as a few of the independent vendors are cash only.

Lost and found

Visit the information booth near the front entrance or email info@flagstaffblues.com. They will get back to you within 3-5 days after the last day of the Festival to let you know where you can pick up your missing items.

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