For a fourth year, the Lowertown Blues & Funk Festival returns to Mears Park. After last year’s successful incorporation of a Friday night of funk followed by a blues-filled Saturday, the festival will be following the same winning recipe this year on July 21 and 22 with two stages at Mears Park each day. “The response we received last year was overwhelmingly in favor of our having added the Friday night of funk, to go along with our powerful Saturday night blues lineup,” said event director Mike Rogers, “blues fans have voted with their feet, and they expect us to bring the funk.
The Friday funk night lineup includes performances by The Average White Band, Chase and Ovation, and Mick Sterling and the Stud Brothers. Saturday’s blues lineup includes blues and soul staples Tommy Castro and the Painkillers, Shannon Curfman, The Jimmys, Renee Austin, andColin Campbell and the Shakletons on the Main Stage. The second stage, the Juke Joint, will also feature the sounds of Brian Naughton on Friday and on Saturday, Crankshaft, Moses & Paul, Brother Jon, and Ken Valdez.
The Average White Band have been one of the most highly esteemed funk and soul bands in the world for over four decades, going back to their first massive hit, 1974’s “Pick up the Pieces.” After nearly twenty recordings and over a dozen charting hits, their distinctive blend of rhythm and blues, soul, disco and funk, have made them one of the most irresistible bands to get a body moving. Originally from Scotland, the group combines the strongest characteristics of Motown and Memphis, as well as Stax and Volt to create their own infectious groove-based hybrid. Their current six-piece line-up includes founding members Alan Gorrie and Onnie McIntyre, and should not be missed.
Four-time B. B. King Entertainer of the Year Award winner Tommy Castro has been unleashing his brand of high energy blues on audiences for over 25 years. In that span, the California born Castro has released almost 20 recordings, and toured non-stop and established himself as one of the most high energy live acts and preeminent artisans of the blues-rock genre. Castro will be joined by his band of the past five years, The Painkillers, a no-frills, no-nonsense, all-killer/no-filler quartet, stripping the blues down to its basics and building it back up again, one wailing lick and raucous chorus at a time.
Shannon Curfman has been a fixture of the Midwest Blues scene since coming to prominence as a teenage guitar hero in the late 90s. Since bursting on the scene, Curfman has put out a handful of critically acclaimed blues-rock recordings, in which her searing guitar work and tour-de-force voice was front and center. After extensive touring as a solo artist and opening for some of the most revered musicians in the world, The Fargo born, Minneapolis based singer and guitar slinger joined Kid Rock’s band the Twisted Brown Truckers in 2010.
The festival runs on Friday from 4:30 to 10:00 p.m. and on Saturday from noon to 10:00 p.m. Support for the 2017 Lowertown Blues & Funk Festival is provided by Famous Dave’s, Western Bank, Maker’s Mark, UR Urgency Room, Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment, Saint Paul STAR Program, Lowertown Future Fund, Lowertown Entertainment District, All Over Media, City Pages, Bluemondaymonthly.com, Minnesota Blues Society, Metro Transit, Metro Sound and Lighting, Pepsi, 30 Days Foundation, River Rose Fund, Wilebski’s Blues Salon, TR Entertainment & Productions, ABSEY Entertainment, Power Plumbing, UPTECH Partners, Guitar Center, Rico Entertainment, Maharaja’s, Wenger Entertainment, and Intercontinental Hotels and Resorts. Metro Transit will once again be offering free bus and light rail rides with passes available on online.
Back by popular demand will be “VIP Blues Pit Preferred Seating” in front of the stage. Members will gain access to reserved seating. Entry is limited to 100 people, maximum of 6 passes per customer, and can be purchased for $60 for a one-day pass or $100 for a two day pass HERE (online only).
The Lowertown Blues and Funk Festival runs from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 pm on Friday and noon to 10:00 p.m. on Saturday. All ages are welcome to this free festival.
Facebook page: facebook.com/LowertownBluesFestival