Ferndale's Blues & Music Festival Heats Up Winter

By Shelby Clark

Feeling blue from the frigid cold? Ferndale's Blues & Music Festival helps heat up the city Jan. 25-Feb. 2.

The festival will take place in over 20 downtown Ferndale venues, including Como's, the Ferndale Library, Emory, One Eyed Betty's, Dino's, Valentine Distilling Co. and Imperial.

Averaging 60 different concerts in the span of over a week, the event is being primarily sponsored by Bud Light, with additional sponsorship from BTL, Dino's, Garden Fresh Gourmet, One Eyed Betty's and Soho.

Ferndale's "Metro Blues & Music Festival" launched back in January 2002 when a group of volunteers invited Ferndale bars and businesses to help host various live blues shows, all to raise money for charities. Restaurants and clubs all helped by donating cover charges and hosting raffles. Deemed a success, the event had evolved over the years into the nine-day-long Bud Light Ferndale Blues & Music Festival.

Over the last decade, tens of thousands of metro Detroiters have attended the diverse grouping of concerts and food-related events that have come to define the festival. The festival even became a sanctioned event as part of Super Bowl XL in 2006.

The event has now raised over $20,000 for charities.

This year, one of the main charities the festival is supporting is Michigan AIDS Coalition. Donations to Michigan AIDS Coalition can be made through a PayPal link on the festival's website (http://www.ferndalebluesfestival.org).

The festival is composed of different events including disco dance parties, karaoke and open mics. A special event to benefit Ferndale Youth Assistance and MAC will take place from 12 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 2 in the Ferndale Library parking lot, behind Dino's. A donation to partake in the event is $10.

The event, "Dino's BBQ Rib Burn Out," will feature over 1,000 pounds of BBQ ribs. Cooked by eight teams, and judged by both festival attendees and celebrity judges, the BBQ contest will also include side dishes and live music by The Sun Messengers. Beer and cocktails will be available for purchase. Those worried about the cold of an outdoor event in February need not worry; Dino's is providing a 4,000-square-foot heated tent.

Local and national talent will also be hitting the stage of Ferndale's many bars, eateries and clubs throughout the entire festival.

The festival starts at 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 25 with a Disco Dance Party at Boogie Fever Cafe, 22901 Woodward Ave.

Some other highlights of the festival include Jennifer Westwood & The Waycross Georgia Farmboys, who will play at 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 25 at One-Eyed Betty's, 175 W. Troy Ave.. Westwood originally got her start in the Detroit gospel scene and has become a master of vocal performance for jazz, blues, Americana and rock.

Delilah DeWylde & The Lost Boys will also play One-Eyed Betty's at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 2 as part of the festival. The rockabilly, "honky tonk" band hails from Western Michigan and has gained fame across the state for their unique, vintage country sound. Michigan microbrewery, Saugatuck Brewing Company, has even named a craft beer for the act.

Further standouts includes the All Star Blues Jam at 9 p.m. Jan. 30 at New Way Bar (23130 Woodward Ave.), as well as Detroit veteran Chris Brantley, who plays at 10 p.m. Jan. 31 at Local Kitchen (344 W. Nine Mile Road).

The festival will officially end with the Ferndale Middle School and Ferndale High School Jazz Bands performing at 6 p.m Feb. 6 at the Kulick Community Center, 1201 Livernois St.

For more information on attending or volunteering at the festival, visit http://www.ferndalebluesfestival.org or call co-chairs Monica Mills at 248-330-2328 and Craig Covey at 248-471-6434.

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