Saturday, May 25, 2024


9th Annual Blues, BBQ Festival This Weekend

Grill masters, blues artists and jammers will be smoking, bringing sultry sounds, scents and flavors to Westport as the ninth annual Blues, Views and BBQ Festival fires up this Labor Day weekend at the Levitt Pavilion and in the Westport Library lot. Image
Ronnie Baker Brooks greeted fans in the crowd after his performance last year. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) J.C. Martin for

The Saturday and Sunday event is being sponsored by the Westport Downtown Merchants Association (DMA), which promises a “foot stomping, mouthwatering weekend on the beautiful banks of the Saugatuck River” and the Westport Library.

Saturday’s musical lineup on the Levitt stage from noon through 9:30 p.m. includes: Popa Chubby, Anders Osborne, Manny and the Mojomatics, Jay Stollman with Matt Schofield, Funky Meters and Mark Broussard.

But those won’t be the only smoky tunes filling the banks of the Saugatuck River on Saturday, event planners say.

A second stage is set for the library’s lot for what’s been dubbed the Jesup Jam. The performers from 11 a.m. through 7:45 p.m. include: Eggy, Jake Kulak, Deborah Anne Fisher, Dizzy Fish, Shaka and the Soulshakers, Dan Stevens, Nardy Boy and Alpaca Gnomes.

Similar times and venues are set for Sunday, with Levitt stage performances featuring the likes of groups from such as School of Rock at 11:30 a.m. and ending with the Revivalists last song at 8 p.m. Another Jesup Jam will also be in full swing.

In addition to smoky sounds, the air will be redolent with the scents of barbecue, as teams of teams of two to four backyard chefs compete in the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS)-sanctioned and judged “Cookin’ for a Cause BBQ Competition.”

Teams will square off for the best chicken, ribs, chef’s choice and dessert.

The teams, which will set up and undergo meat inspection beginning at 6 a.m, and KCBS judges are scheduled to announce the winners at 5 p.m.

Proceeds from the event go to the nonprofit WDMA, which donates a portion to local organizations such at the Westport Woman’s Club.

will be donated to the Westport Woman’s Club Food Closet, which distributes groceries to local needy families.

“We’re having a very strong pre-festival ticket sales than last year,” said Steve Desloge, WDMA treasurer. “They sold over 1,000 tickets thus far.”

Online advance tickets are available through Friday at 11:30 p.m. at The cost for the Levitt stage Saturday is $50, Sunday $40, and both days $80.

The gate price is Saturday $60, Sunday $50 and both days $95.

“If people just want to go to the Jesup Jam with a second music stage, games amusements and inflatable activities for children, the advance tickets Saturday are $10, children under 12 are free.”

At the gate, the Jesup Jam fee is $15 Saturday, $10 Sunday, “and children 12 and under free with a paid adult,” Desloge said.

—James Lomuscio

This story has been updated to clarify that children under 12 are free for the Jesup Jam and that proceeds go to the nonprofit WDMA, which donates a portion to local charities, including the Westport Woman’s Club.

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