The blues will return to Arlington as the 21st annual Columbia Pike Blues Festival will be held on Saturday from 1-8:30 p.m.
The festival will feature a mix of local and nationally recognized blues talent throughout the day. Admission is free.
Here is the list of acts scheduled to perform:
- Little Bit A Blues @ 1:00 p.m.
- Bobby Thompson Project ft. Ron Holloway @ 2:00 p.m.
- Bosley @ 3:30 p.m
- Davina and the Vagabonds @ 5:00 p.m.
- Jesse Dee @ 6:30 p.m.
Along with the music, the festival will also have have local food vendors. Some of the cuisines on offer include Moroccan, Nigerian, Mexican, Caribbean.
Here is a list of vendors:
- Mazagan Restaurant — Modern Moroccan cuisine
- Cantina Mexicana — Mexican and Tex-Mex
- Suya To Go — Nigerian
- BubbleTeaLicious — Bubble teas, shave ice, ice cream
- Mac’s Donuts — Fresh-made donuts and lemonade
- Carol’s Concessions — Caribbean and American festival fare
- Sloppy Mama’s BBQ — Barbecue and all the sides
Arts and crafts vendors and other local businesses will also represented.
The festival will take place at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Walter Reed Drive. There will also be street closures for the event.
Here is a the list of street closures according to Arlington County:
- Walter Reed Drive will be closed from Columbia Pike to 9th Street S. Vehicles can use 7th Street to Highland Street as a detour.
- 9th Road will be closed from S. Garfield Street to Walter Reed Drive.
- 9th Street will be closed from S. Highland Street to Walter Reed Drive.
Attendees are encouraged to take public transportation with many ART and Metrobus lines serving the area. The weather forecast for the festival is sunny with a high of 82 degrees.
The 19th annual Columbia Pike Blues Festival was held Saturday afternoon.
The festival benefited from warm and sunny weather that seemed mild compared to the sweltering heat of past years.
On one end of the closed-off portion of Walter Reed Drive, community organizations, local restaurants and a variety of vendors were set up in booths, offering attendees meals, beers and various wares. On the other end, the festival stage hosted blues acts like Duffy Kane, Memphis Gold and the headliner, Ana Popovic.
Aside from the music, there was another type of public performance at the festival: live art creation on canvases that were then auctioned off.
The Blues Festival runs from 1:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the intersection of the Pike and S. Walter Reed Drive by the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse. There will be plenty of food and beer, but as Takis Karantonis, the executive director of the event organizer, the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, says, the food and drink are secondary to the music.
“We think the blues is the Pike’s music,” Karantonis told ARLnow.com yesterday. “It corresponds to the personality and flavor of the Pike. Our artists on Saturday, they’re such different personalities and they all converge on the platform of the blues.”
The headliner this year is Ana Popovic, who Karantonis describes as “more heavy-duty, modern blues” than previous artists at the Blues Festival, but one who comes with a national following, a point of emphasis in putting together the event.
Opening for Popovic will be Steve McWilliams and The Spectacles, Duffy Kane, Memphis Gold and Billy Thomson. Next to the stage will be the return of Art in Action, in which visitors can watch artists paint canvases that will be auctioned off during the festival.
Selling food at the festival will be Pike restaurants Mazagan, Cantina Mexicana, Rincome, the Salsa Room and Big Daddy’s Texas-style BBQ. Beer will be provided by Yuengling.
For the first time this year, there’s a second day to the festival, an event called “Little Bit A Blues” at the courtyard in front of Penrose Square (2503 Columbia Pike), on Friday starting at 6:00 p.m. While it’s a mini-event this year, Karantonis plans to expand the festival into a full two-day event for next year.
Last year, Karantonis estimates that the festival drew between 7,000 and 8,000 people last year. Although he said “we don’t talk about the weather” in CPRO’s office, the forecast calls for sunny skies and low-80s temperatures.
Arlington County produced a video with tips on how to get to the Blues Festival via transit.
Disclosure: CPRO is an ARLnow.com advertiser. File photo.