The Northern Arizona Blues Alliance is holding an inaugural blues festival at Watson Lake this weekend following the Prescott Frontier Days parade.
Affiliated with the International Blues Foundation in Memphis, the Northern Arizona Blues Alliance works to preserve blues heritage, celebrate it through recorded music and live performances and expand awareness to ensure its future as an art form, according to Vice President Scott O’Neal.
Originally, the idea was to have the festival over Father’s Day Weekend, but with it being on the same day as the parade, the Alliance is using that to its advantage, O’Neal said.
“We’re putting a float in the parade on Saturday and then … we’re doing the festival at Watson Lake,” he said.
Held from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 30, the festival features the Well-Dressed Wolves, Harry ‘O’ Claus & Affect, Electric Swamp Poets, the Scott O’Neal Band, Frank, France Cardinale & Friends, All Star Blues Jam, and more. Admission is free and parking is $3.
An all-ages show, there will be food, beer and other beverages, O’Neal said. It’ll be a good time for those who don’t want to stay downtown after the parade or don’t want to go to the rodeo Saturday, he said.
“If you want to go and hear some good music and hang out by the lake, it’s going to be a great day,” O’Neal said. “There’s a lot of people that like blues, there’s a whole lot of people in this town that like our other events and they’re well-attended.”
The goal is to make the festival an annual thing, O’Neal said. The estimate is that there will be between 200 and 300 people, but the hope is to have a lot more than that especially with people coming up from the Valley or down from Flagstaff for weekend events.
The Northern Arizona Blues Alliance also has other things in the works, such as bringing bigger and better shows to the area, O’Neal said. In fact, they’ve already booked a national act known as Guitar Shorty for a Flagstaff show in September.
“He’s one of the old-guard blues guys that are still around,” O’Neal said. “He’s 82-years-old and he’s still out there kicking it.”
For more information about the Northern Arizona Blues Alliance, visit www.nazba.com or www.facebook.com/northernarizonabluesalliance.