Organizers hope blues festival planned for Brighton hits all the right notes

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By Crystal Nelson

BRIGHTON — HeART of Brighton is working to finalize the details for the city’s first blues festival. The Brighton Blues Blast will feature local, regional and nationally known acts and will kick-off May 31 and continue the evening of June 1 at the Armory.

“It’s extremely exciting, it’s our first year. We’re getting on the map now with the Greeley Blues Festival – there’s one in Arvada as well – a lot of municipalities around the area do a festival of this sort,” Events and Downtown Initiatives Manager Gary Montoya said. “We’re going to take a go at it. We’re swinging for the fences this first year by brining in some big name talent from around the country.”

Dennis Farris, Chairman of the Brighton Blues Blast subcommittee, said they’re close to finalizing contracts for their performers and are anticipating the lineup will be finalized around mid-March.

According to Ferris, the festival will have a few twists to it including a demonstration of blues dancing and a presentation introducing attendees to the different genres of blues. He said blues dancers and instructors to demonstrate the blues style of dancing during breaks and that a local musicologist will also be there to explain the different genres of blues music, answer questions and even give guitar demonstrations.

“We’re just trying to make a mix of all this, not just present one genre of blues but to expose Brighton and educate them on the different styles of blues,” he said.

The idea for the blues festival came while Farris and HeART of Brighton Chairman Rod Fair were listening to a band play at the Armory. Fair said they started “chatting” and Farris said it would be a lot of fun to have a blues festival in Brighton.

They decided it would be fun to have a blues festival in Brighton and applied for $20,000 in grant funding from the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee, once they learned it was available.

Montoya said the festival is a project that’s being driven by lodging tax dollars, a tax that was passed by the citizens in 2011 and is applied to stays at local hotels and motels. He said those dollars then come back to the community through cultural arts, community promotion and economic development projects as determined by the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee.

“We’re very thankful that the blues festival was fully funded which gives us an amazing opportunity to bring some great talent in that we probably would not have been able to afford without this funding,” he said.

According to Montoya, ticket prices for the event have yet to be determined and that tickets to the event will be limited and available on a first-come, first serve basis. He said they are also working to create packages where people attending the event from out of town can get their hotel room and tickets together.

HeART of Brighton is a nonprofit organization that supports the Armory at Brighton Cultural Center through fundraising efforts and is committed to providing unique, economical opportunities for the public to enjoy while learning about different aspects of the arts. For details, visit www.heartofbrighton.org.