Blues fest picks up again today

Blues fest picks up again today

The seventh annual Blues, Brews and BBQ Festival started Friday night in downtown Champaign but never fear: It picks up again at noon today and will last through midnight, with after-fest music by the James Jones Trio at Memphis on Main, a downtown bar. The Blues Fest, held behind The News-Gazette building in the heart of downtown, features three stages for musical performances by national and regional acts, a motorcycle show, food and beverages, arts and crafts vendors and activities for families and children. "If the weather holds, we're going to have a great weekend," said festival director Mike Galloway of Fluid Events. Here's the lowdown, courtesy staff writer Melissa Merli:

1. This is a brews and barbecue festival so food first. The event features 23 food venders, among them Smoky's House BBQ, Hickory River Smokehouse, Lord & Lacy BBQ, Holy Smoke, Bud's BBQ, Chester's BBQ, Po' Boys Barbecue and Pizza and King Biscuit Barbecue. If barbecue's not your thing, check out other vendors such as Rajun Cajun, Noodles & Company, Ice Cream & More, the Lemonade Factory, Wayne's Kettle Korn, Lord & Lacy and Piato Catering. And for people who enjoy hot sauces: Puckerbutt Pepper Co., Majave Hot Sauce, Bigfat's Hot Sauce and Volcanic Peppers will be selling their sauces and other wares.

2. There also will be 50-plus arts and crafts and other vendors, among them Fragmented Time, steampunk inspired jewelry; the Paparazzi Jewelry & Accessories $5 Boutique; accessories by Melix; Jamberry Nails, offering more than 300 finger-nail designs advertised as non-toxic, gluten-free, latex-free, formaldehyde-free and vegan; Bob's Wood Shop, which offers items crafted from wood as well as custom woodworking; and LizzySam Bows, which sells hair bows and other items for girls.

3. The music: At the main stage: noon-1, 105.9 Country Showdown; 2-3, Eddie Shaw & the Wolf Gang; 6-7:30, Rick Estrin & The Nightcats; 8:30-10, Curtis Salgado; 10:30-midnight, Buckwheat Zydeco. At another stage: 1-2, Surreal Deal; 3:30-5, Maurice John Vaughn; 5:30-6, Motorcycle Show Awards; 7:30-9, Albert Cummings; 10-10:30, Speed Painting by Karl Jendry. At a third stage: noon-12:45, Garden Hills Strummers; 1-1:45, Althea Grace; 2-3, Kenna Mae Reiss; 3:30-4:30, Zero 1 Pro Wrestling; 5-6, We're Not Driving band; 6:30-7:30, Kee's Trucking Co., a Chicago blues trio; 8-9:30, Mike Lynch Band from Carbondale.

4. The Kids and Family Area, near the Orpheum Children's Science Museum, will feature Louie's Playground, with Louie the Alligator mascot. In the playground, there will be free inflatable rides, carnival games, face-painting by Wild Style Design Company, the Scovill Zoo petting zoo from 4:30 to 6:30, blues music by acts that have at least two members who are 21 years old or younger, and frequent visits from the mascot Louie. Best part about the Fluid Events festival: Admission is free but a $5 donation per head is suggested to keep it going.