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Celebrate Blues Blast 2011
Blues, Brews and Barbecue

By Dave Cooper
and Mariah Fleming

Tommy Castro appearing at Blues Blast 2011

Do you need a Blues transfusion? Well, the Phoenix Blues Society has your fix! A jam-packed day of live entertainment awaits you at the 20th Anniversary Blues Blast at the Mesa Amphitheater on Saturday Feb. 19. Amid a sea of blankets and lawn chairs, blues enthusiasts are guaranteed to enjoy an extraordinary day of top-notch music and uninhibited revelry.

The Mesa Amphitheatre has been home to this favorite annual event for years. The 20th Anniversary Blues Blast starts at 10am Saturday and promises to be fully charged. There will be blues riffs, soulful vocals, amazing harmonica, screaming guitars and blaring horns galore. Concertgoers will be able to kick back and enjoy comfortable terraced lawn seating, a kid friendly atmosphere and plenty of goodies on concession. An impressive lineup of blues greats will perform.

Headlining the Blues Blast is the Tommy Castro Band, big winners at the 2010 Blues Music Awards. The band got its start in the Bay Area and has garnered many accolades, receiving four awards in 2010 alone. These include BB King Entertainer of the Year and Contemporary Blues Album of the Year Awards. Tommy Castro has worked with notables such as Albert King, Carla Thomas, Carlos Santana and Delbert McClinton. Carlos Santana has invited Castro to share the stage with him and says of Castro: "The Blues is in good hands. This is the person who has the voice, the sound and the right intentions to touch everybody's heart." Also featured at the 20th Anniversary Blues Blast is the Maryland based blues veteran Deanna Bogart. And from Kansas City, Trampled Under Foot, a three-piece family outfit, will also perform. Some of Arizona's own blues favorites, Krimson Chord and Cold Shott & the Hurricane Horns are rounding out the bill. Cold Shott Cold Shott & The Hurricane Horns - Image by Ray Bowenguitarist Rich Brydle said: “The Blues Blast event is a meaningful showcase for Arizona talent and its community. Our band members view it as a family celebration!” Cold Shott is especially pleased to be playing at Blues Blast 2011 because this year Cold Shott & the Hurricane Horns celebrate their own 20th anniversary entertaining Arizona blues aficionados.

The Phoenix Blues Society, an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) organization has been promoting the heritage and importance of blues music and culture since its founding in 1989. Arts education is a strong component of the organization. Dedicated to strong community values, Phoenix Blues Society President Kyle Deibler explained it this way: “The Phoenix Blues Society is one of the longest running blues societies in the country and we are nationally recognized as being one of the strongest organizations out there.” Their national prominence affords the Phoenix Blues Society the ability to attract artists from nationwide hubs that are known for their fervent blues activity. “We endeavor to bring new acts to the Valley and expose blues fans to the music." Deibler said. "Blues music is still vibrant, it's still growing and we're blessed with the result.”

Arizona live music hot spot The Rhythm Room will be hosting parties the night before the Blues Blast and after the event on Saturday night. This year The Rhythm Room notches its own 20-year anniversary of live music excellence in the Valley.

Club owner and blues harp master Bob Corritore is looking forward to welcoming the festival's legion of fans to the Valley. “The Blues Blast festival always has a great lineup. It's the blues party of the year!" Corritore said. "The festival has grown to become a nationally recognized event with a great mix of both touring and home-grown talent."

The high octane, blues-infused festival will loosen shoelaces and have energized fans in the throes of an all-out barefoot boogie, Blues Blast 2011 style.

Get complete Blues Blast 2011 concert info and all other Blues Blast 2011 related information at www.bluesblast.info Note: Coolers and outside food and beverages may not be brought into the amphitheatre.