Thousands expected to celebrate Phoenixville Blues Festival

File photo by Barry Taglieber Riley Road performs during last year's Phoenixville Blues Festival. This year's festival will be held on Sept. 8 at Reeves Park.

Ready to groove to the blues? Phoenixville’s third annual Blues Festival will be held at Reeves Park on Saturday, Sept. 8. The festival begins at noon and continues all day and through the evening until 10 p.m. The event will be held rain or shine and is free to the public.

There is also pre-party fundraiser being held Friday Sept. 7, at Club 212. Proceeds from ticket sales to the party go toward the festival costs.

“Phoenixville really seems to have a nice music vibe to it between the coffeehouses in town, to kids walking around with guitar cases,” said event organizer and Phoenixville resident Jim DiGuiseppe. “For whatever reason, I think music plays an important role for a lot of people and this fits in perfectly with that. People just seem to like it. Crowds are expected to be large again this year.”

“It’s been a lot more than we ever anticipated in terms of how big it has gotten,” DiGuiseppe said. “We ended up with 3,000 to 4,000 people the first year, and probably that last year too. If we have nice weather, we think we’ll get the biggest crowd ever. Probably around 4,000 to 5,000. It seems like it’s getting bigger every year, which is fun.”

People are encouraged to bring canned goods for Phoenixville Area Community Services to collect.

Proceeds from festival related events go to Give the Gift of Music Foundation scholarships. There will be a special performance at 5pm by the Blues Kings, which is the youth group that benefits from the foundation.

There will be a number of specialty vendors at the festival as well, selling jewelry and art.

Area residents can participate in a “corn hole” game tournament. The proceeds go to the festival.

Musicians and bands performing are mainly coming from the area, within 50 miles of Phoenixville, although there will be a couple of musicians this year hailing from the south.

“We always try to do a good variety of blues music,” said DiGuiseppe. “There’s a lot of different genres of blues. We break it up a little with acoustic blues. This year we have two bands coming up from Nashville, Tennessee, which will add a little bit of a regional flavor. We like to mix it up and not have every band be the same.”

The musicians from Tennessee are Bart Walker and Scalehound, who are two brothers who play acoustically.

There is also a Blues Idol competition scheduled for around 5:15 p.m. The contest will include anyone who wanted to participate.

DiGuiseppe said, “We had auditions back in May and now the six finalists are going to playing at the pre-party the night before and the audience is going to vote. Three of them are going to play at the festival itself.”

The winner will receive $300. Second place receives $200 and third place receives $100.

DiGuiseppe has lived in Phoenixville for 12 years, and got the idea for the blues festival while driving by Reeves Park.

“The first time I saw that band shell (stage) I said that’s the perfect setting for a blues festival. People can just bring their lawn chairs, and they are there all day, and they have fun,” said DiGuiseppe. “It seems to be a real nice community event for bringing folks together.”

More information is available at www.pvilleblues.org.

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