Cincinnati Blues Festival

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705 East Pete Rose Way (Sawyer Point Park), Cincinnati, OH, USA - (513) 739-2583

Cincinnati Blues Festival Reviews

vances vances
575 reviews
Tuned in Aug 12, 2017
Assembled by the Cincy Blues Society, this is the largest ‘all-volunteer’ music festival in the world - which refers to the folks who operate the event, not the performers. The line-up of music acts is quality - not 100% top shelf, but for the atmosphere and cost this is a terrific value. Held every summer since 1992 (typically early August or late July), there is a relatively light schedule: acts only perform Friday and Saturday evenings on three stages. Seating for this gala is held in Sawyer Point Park, a sprawling green space along the Ohio River.

There are three stages. The Main Stage, obviously the biggest and where headliners perform, is pretty much dead center in the park and basically a small shell fronted by an expansive lawn area. You are allowed to bring chairs in and many simply packed along blankets to spread out for reclining to the blues. We picked up a pair of the VIP passes, which were a good value: one of the benefits was a fenced off area immediately in front of the Main Stage where you were very up close and personal, and they even provided the chairs.

The VIP passes did not accord any privileged seating at the other stages, though both had seats set up and we always found ideal spots near the stage for everyone we wanted to see. The other big benefit of the VIP pass was admittance to a special tent which was well stocked with food and drink (including alcoholic) and you could eat, drink and be merry here to your heart’s content.

Despite a solid line-up at the Main Stage, we actually spent more time at the Arches Stage. Situated beneath one of the arches of the bridge spanning the Ohio River, this is formally the “Arches Boogie Piano Stage” and appropriately named to reflect the succession of boogie woogie piano players who tickle the ivories here. Saw some old favorites and was introduced to some stunning new talent, highlighted at the conclusion around 11PM Saturday night by a jam fest featuring everyone who had played that evening. It was a fun, fantastic closing jamboree!

A nice touch is the emphasis of local blues, and we also enjoyed a lot of youngsters who were earning their chops and clearly devotees of the art form. This is not one of those huge draws crammed to the rafters with humanity, so a very relaxed time and warmly recommended if you need a shot of da blues.
Main Stage at Cincy Blues Fest on …
Ruthie Foster on Main Stage at Cin…
Arches Stage, late night Saturday …
Ricky Nye tickling the ivories at …
4 / 4 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
joseph98 says:
Music Festivals are cool - never had a VIP experience st one before. Yours sounds like it was worthwhile!
Posted on: Oct 29, 2017
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