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The show goes on

Old Town Blues Festival going strong for 25 years

Junkyard Jane will be performing Saturday night. Photo credit: Youtube

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There is a lot to love about the music industry. You might have a favorite band or singer that you can listen to over and over again and not be bored. One thing that is really great about the music industry in the South Sound is that it is widely celebrated. Especially now that its summer, I think that this time of year, it's an industry that really comes out to play (no pun intended).

This weekend in Tacoma, a celebration is reborn as Blues On! The Old Town Blues Festival has been going strong for 25 years. This year has been a rough one for the event losing two important leaders. Ted Brown (not to be confused with Ted Brown Music), and Mike Mitchel both ran the event for the past 25 years. When Ted died, so did Old Town Music Festival. "Everyone didn't want to lose this event, " said Kathy Manke, owner of the Spar Café just across the street where Blues On! will be held. With the help of Kathy, the Old Town Business District, singer/songwriter/ Kim Archer, and support of the community, the event lives as Blues On!

For those of you who frequented the Old Town Music Festival for the past 25 years, you can expect some changes. This year, the event is hosted from 1-8 p.m.; there will be no late-night bands playing. The $20 cover charge has been lifted and the festival is now a free outdoor event for the whole family (other than the beer garden). "The goal is to eventually have it back at the hall up the street, but we took this event in last minute, and we didn't want that pressure," said Manke. If you don't get enough blues from 1-8 p.m., The Spar is hosting Mike Japp beginning at 8 p.m. Mike Japp has been in the Tacoma community for the past 50 years, and is a Spar Cafe favorite.

Although the event is free, festival runners will be accepting donations for the musicians, and for the Downtown Association to ensure that Blues On! lives on. Bring the family, bring a friend, just make sure you bring yourself. Congratulations Old Town. Here's to another year of Old Town music, and here's to the next 100 to come. Cheers!      

Blues On!, 1-8 p.m., Saturday, July 15, Old Town Park, 2350 N. 30th St., Tacoma, free

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