The Stillwater Community Center Foundation is excited to announce the return of the Bikes ‘n Blues Festival September 20 & 21, 2013, at the Payne County Expo Center. The event is all-ages and free for all to attend.
The Stillwater Blues Festival was an annual event by the City of Stillwater for more than a decade until it played its last show in 2009. The event drew thousands of local and regional fans for what came to be known as “Oklahoma’s largest free blues festival.” Cutbacks to the city’s recreational and community arts budget and econmic hard times closed the door on the Stillwater Blues Festival to fevered citizen response. This year, officers of the Stillwater Community Center Foundation decided it was time for the rebirth of the Blues.
Foundation chairperson, Gloria Short, a former city employee who was integral to the organization of the Stillwater Blues Festival in past years, is excited to be able to make this happen.
“After several years of requests and inquiries about the Blues Festival, we wanted to put together a group that could offer a gift to the community and breathe new life into the Blues in Stillwater,” she says. “It is important to support free community arts in Oklahoma.”
The festival will be held inside the Payne County Expo Center and will host live music from 6-11pm each night on two stages. Various food vendors and low-point beer will be available for those 21 and over.
New York born guitarist Popa Chubby is one of the headliners of the event for Saturday night. Born the son of a candy store owner, at age thirteen he began playing drums; shortly thereafter, he began listening to the music of the Rolling Stones and started playing guitar. Popa Chubby first came to public attention after winning a national blues talent search sponsored by KLON, a public radio station in Long Beach, California. He won the New Artist of the Year award and as a result was chosen as the opening act at the Long Beach Blues Festival in 1992. He played more than 200 club dates a year through the 1990s.
Featured act, the Steepwater Band, got their start as devotees of delta blues. They have since been expanding on their influences taking on everything from psychedelia to Americana, and of course, rock and roll music. Formed in Chicago in 1998, the band’s signature sound is at once a nod to earlier rock and blues combined with a raw and gutsy musical approach. Founding band members Jeff Massey (vocals & guitar), Tod Bowers (bass) and Joe Winters (drums) have a synergy that comes from years of playing together. In early 2012 the trio joined with Eric Saylors (guitar & bk vocal). The Steepwater Band has maintained a grueling schedule throughout the last ten years, averaging about 125 shows per year. They have toured with Gov’t Mule, Buddy Guy, Wilco, Taj Mahal, Marc Ford, ZZ Top, T-Model Ford, North Mississippi All Stars, Leon Russell, Drive-By Truckers, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Cheap Trick, Bad Company and Heart.
The festival is made possible in part by the generous sponsors attached, including Kicker, Williams Clinic, visitstillwater.org, Douglas Building Center, Holiday Inn & Suites Stillwater, Roofing Services Co. and Dick Clark State Farm Insurance. For more information, please visit www.bikesnblues.org.