Smokin' hot time in Westport this weekend: Blues & BBQ fest
From the savory scents wafting up from the smokers and grills to the bluesy sounds coming from the Levitt Pavilion stage, organizers of the fifth annual Blues, Views and BBQ Festival in Westport are promising a multisensory experience.
The festival, which takes place on the grounds of the Levitt Pavilion and the Westport Public Library, Saturday to Sunday, Sept. 1 to 2, once again will feature a Kansas City BBQ Society sanctioned competition for amateur chefs, as well as a chance for the younger set to show off their culinary talents in the Kids Q competition.
LeRose expects about 20 teams to square off in the adult competition, although more may be added by the time the festival kicks off.
"They always surprise me," LeRose said of the backyard chefs' talents.
Beyond their expertise at such traditional fare as ribs and chicken, LeRose said the teams often shine in the more expansive chef's choice category, as well as with the desserts.
More InformationBLUES, VIEWS & BBQ Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts and Westport Library, Jesup Green, Westport. Saturday, Sept. 1, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 2, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Rain or shine. $20 single-day adult, $10 single-day student or senior; free, 5 and under. Discounts and two-day passes available. Info: www.bluesviewsBBQ.com
"It's amazing what they come up with," he said.
LeRose knows his barbecue. He opened Bobby Q's Barbecue and Grill in Westport in 2004 and more recently helped launch Bar Q in Stamford. He also knows his music, and there will be no lack of great acts making their way to the Levitt stage, he said.
"Once people see who we have assembled, they are going to be highly impressed," he said.
One such performer is master blues guitarist Popa Chubby (aka Ted Horowitz), who will be making a stop in Westport as part of a tour in support of his latest album, "Back to New York City."
"Festivals are always fun," he said during a recent phone interview.
From backstage camaraderie with fellow performers to the chance to meet with fans, Chubby said he's looking forward to the trip. He is expected to perform an hour set on Sunday, beginning at about 2:30 p.m.
Chubby's latest record returns him to his native roots, New York City, which is where his musical career began in the 1970s when he was only a teen. He quickly became an in-demand session player, and spent time on the road with American punk pioneer Richard Hell.
It wasn't until the early 1990s, however, when he honed his distinct blues-and-rock style and began performing with his own band.
Since then, he has released more than 20 albums, including 2001's "How'd a White Boy Get the Blues;" "The Good, the Bad & the Chubby (2002)," which included the 9/11 inspired single "Somebody Let the Devil Out;" and his debut, "It's Chubby Time."
His latest album is generating a lot of buzz and accolades, which has been keeping him on the road for most of the past year.
"Yeah, I'm busy," he said, laughing. "Every record you do, you look back and say, `I could have done better' ... and I think that is a good thing to always be striving toward something better. But I am really proud of this record."
He already made a sweep through Europe earlier this summer. He will be playing dates throughout the United States until September, and then he and his band are headed back to Europe.
"The band is slamming," Chubby said.
In addition to the music and barbecue, there will be cooking demonstrations, a Kids' Corral sponsored by the Westport-based toy company Melissa and Doug, a mechanical bull, and street performers. Food and drinks also will be available for purchase.
Proceeds from the festival will benefit the Westport Woman's Club Food Closet.
"This year, we are going high energy from start to finish, Saturday to Sunday," LeRose said.
BLUES, VIEWS & BBQ
Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts and Westport Library, Jesup Green, Westport. Saturday, Sept. 1, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 2, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Rain or shine. $20 single-day adult, $10 single-day student or senior; free, 5 and under. Discounts and two-day passes available.