That most American of musical genres -- the blues -- will be the focus of the Blues, Views and BBQ festival coming to Westport this weekend. This is the sixth year for the festival, sponsored by the Westport Downtown Merchants Association, and its organizers promise "more bands, bigger names, extended hours, more food, activities and fun for everyone" this year.
Scheduled on Jesup Green and the grounds of the Westport Library, the festival's musical line up includes Royal Southern Brotherhood, Cactus, Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, Christine Ohlman, Debbie Davies and Crispin Cioe, Popa Chubby and more.
"I don't think we have ever assembled such an eclectic lineup," festival founder Bob Le Rose said in a news release. "The BBQ is a great party every year, but the combination of artists in the lineup this year is like none other. We have international performers and local favorites that will make this a memorable event for the Blues enthusiast, the rock aficionado, and the most casual music fan."
Mingling with the smokin' tunes will be actual smoke from some of the best amateur barbecue talents in the area competing in "Cookin' for a Cause" -- a Kansas City BBQ Society sanctioned competition. The amateur competition will be held on Sunday, Sept. 1, and is open to teams of two to four backyard chefs competing in four categories: Chicken, ribs, chef's choice and dessert. Budding chefs can also be a part of the food fun in the Kid's Q competition. Teams of 2 to 4 children with an adult supervisor can enter in three barbecue categories: Burger, hot dog, or chef's choice. Visit www.bluesviewsbbq.com for entry forms and details on the cooking competitions.
Other fun for area foodies at the festival includes cooking demos throughout the weekend by area chefs presented by the blog CTbites. Chefs from Barcelona, Nicholas Roberts, Tabouli Grill, Da Pietro's, Match/The Chelsea, Chocopologie, BONDA, the Spread, Bar Q, and Saugatuck Craft Butchery are planning to give cooking demonstrations -- and free samples. The two-day festival's food court also will offer a variety of food in addition to wood-fired barbecue, including grilled and roasted food, snacks, ice cream and pie. Hand-crafted beer, premium liquors, wine and other refreshments will also be available.
Children's activities at the festival in addition to the cooking competition will be held in the Kids' Corral. The Corral, open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. both days of the festival, will feature free inflatable, bouncy structures, street performers, tattoos, face painting, mechanical bull riding, karate demos, and performances by the School of Rock in Fairfield. A pie- and rib-eating contest for kids and adults will be held on Sunday, Sept. 1. The Kid's Corral is sponsored by the Yale New-Haven's Children's Hospital.
Festival hours are Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Single day tickets for adults are $25, and $15 for seniors and students 13 to 20. Children 12 and under are free. A two-day festival pass including festival entertainment and activities is $45 for adults and $25 for seniors and students, and must be paid in advance. Tickets and discounts are available online at www.bluesviewsBBQ.com.
The festival will go on rain or shine. Part of the festival proceeds will benefit the Westport Woman's Club Food Closet, which provides more than 500 bags of nonperishable food and more than $15,000 in grocery gift cards annually to local families in need.
For more information, visit www.bluesviewsbbq.com