Door County’s only blues festival, Blues on the Bay, is scheduled for Saturday, August 26, 3-9 pm, featuring performances by well-known national and regional blues musicians. The fourth annual music festival will once again be held at the Ellison Bay Community Park (11953 State Hwy 42), located on the Ellison Bay, Wisconsin shoreline, a short walk from the village center. Admission is free, but attendees are encouraged to make a free-will donation to the event’s non-profit beneficiary, Door County Secret Santa, which helps local families struggling to pay their home heating costs.
This year’s Blues on the Bay features a stellar line-up of noteworthy blues musicians, including Mike Zito, Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials, Mighty Mouth, and Dirty Deuce.
Headliner Mike Zito has taken the blues world by storm over the past two decades. Releasing his first album Blue Room in 1998, Zito new album, “Make Blues not War,” is his 12th release and went to #1 on one of the Billboard Music Charta. A guitarist, singer, producer and songwriter originally from St. Louis, MO and heavily influenced by that blues tradition, Zito seems to have limitless energy. His love of life and pursuit of happiness is felt in every note he sings and plays.
In Chicago, a city overflowing with unrivaled blues talent, world-renowned Lil’ Ed & The Blue Imperials have been standing tall for almost 30 years. The band’s big sound, fueled by Lil’ Ed’s gloriously rollicking slide work and deep blues string bending, along with his rough edged soulful vocals, is as real and hard hitting as Chicago Blues gets.
Festival opening band Mighty Mouth is the blues-focused offshoot of the beloved northeast Wisconsin band Big Mouth, based in Door County. Finally, Dirty Deuce’s music has been described as a “musical gumbo, with a pinch of hip hop, a dash of R&B, and a whole lot of rock ‘n soul.”
Festival organizer Jane Lee said one of the goals of the August 26 event is to showcase several styles of blues music. “Mike Zito will provide a little Texas Blues and Lil’ Ed and the Blue Imperials, the Chicago Blues sound,” Lee said.
“Blues on the Bay was created to bring the blues to far northern Door County,” notes Lee, “but it’s also a major fundraising benefit for Door County Secret Santa, a non-profit that anonymously helps struggling local families with their winter home heating bills. The needs of young families, workers trying to make ends meet with seasonal employment, and seniors on fixed incomes often go overlooked in our community, which on its surface looks so well-off. Door County Secret Santa focuses on making the lives of these families a little less burdensome at Christmastime.” Blues on the Bay helps give these families the gift of peace of mind.
Food and drink will be on sale throughout the event,including pulled pork sandwiches by Mink River Basin, hamburgers by Pirates of the Harbour, pizza by the slice from La Cocina, and kettle corn from Door County Kettle Corn. Beer, wine, Island Orchard Cider, and soft drinks will also be available.
Free parking is at the Liberty Grove Historical Society, located at the top of the hill just south of Ellison Bay with free shuttle service to the venue. Bring your own lawn chairs and enjoy live music outside in a beautiful setting. There is seating under a large tent in case of rain.
For more info, visit Blues on the Bay on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ellisonbayblues/