Erin Nally of Shrewsbury and her mother Terry Nally of Templeton have a great time at last year s festival. SUN FILE PHOTO
Erin Nally of Shrewsbury and her mother Terry Nally of Templeton have a great time at last year s festival. SUN FILE PHOTO

Just because the Lowell Folk Festival is over, it doesn't mean the fun is done.

Another festival -- the Blues N' Brews -- is coming to JFK Plaza this year.

The annual music fete, normally held in at Nashoba Ski Area in Westford -- has changed venues, moving from the soul of the woods to the heart of the city.

But there is more than great music on tap. The event, to be held Saturday, Aug. 11, rain or shine, will have 50 craft brews on hand, or in hand, for sampling or purchasing, which will surely get your appetite whetted for the bountiful feast of barbecue and burgers.

Sponsored and staged by the Westford Rotary Club, the annual event always raises money for local nonprofit organizations.

Nancy Wladkowski of Lynn dances with Ken Collette of Tyngsboro at last year s Blues N Brews Festival. And, no, they didn t know each other before the
Nancy Wladkowski of Lynn dances with Ken Collette of Tyngsboro at last year s Blues N Brews Festival. And, no, they didn t know each other before the event. SUN FILE PHOTO
This year's beneficiaries are Merrimack Valley Food Bank, Ironstone Farm's Challenge Unlimited and Lowell House.

Good music, good beer and a good cause -- three bangs for the buck.

This is the 17th annual event, which has raised more than $500,000 for local charities, and the first one to be limited to a single day.

Westford Rotary President William Barnett said, "Losing the second day won't affect revenue much. Most people only attend the first day anyway.


Advertisement

Stacy Duchnowski, left, her sister, Diane Duchnowski, and their brother, David Duchnowski, rear, all of Clinton, sample beers last year. SUN FILE PHOTO
Stacy Duchnowski, left, her sister, Diane Duchnowski, and their brother, David Duchnowski, rear, all of Clinton, sample beers last year. SUN FILE PHOTO
"

"We moved the event to Lowell this year to reduce costs," added Penny Hamel, festival chairperson. "We give 100 percent of the proceeds back to charity."

Two Lowell-based brew-masters will be among the 28 crafters who will promote their wares to the legal-aged majority of the more than 2,000 expected visitors. The samplings will include traditional and exotic flavors of ales, ciders, lagers, meads, porters and stouts.

Adam Pearson is a local brewer who is returning for his fourth B&B Fest this year. The Lowell-based Merrimack Ales is one of more than two dozen craft-brew vendors that will participate.

"It gives us great exposure," Pearson said. "And it should be especially great this year because of the accessible venue. But mostly because it's all in one day this year."

In the past, some vendors were pushed to the scarcely attended Sunday afternoon slate.

"But this puts us all on an even playing field," Pearson said of the downtown Lowell venue. "It is important to promote brand recognition.

Master brewer Adam Pearson of Merrimack Ales prepares his hops before he hops a few blocks up the road to JFK Plaza for Saturday’s Blues N’
Master brewer Adam Pearson of Merrimack Ales prepares his hops before he hops a few blocks up the road to JFK Plaza for Saturday's Blues N' Brews Fest. SUN/SCOTT SHURTLEFF

"Anything that happens in Lowell, we want to part of it," he added, "to continue cementing our relationship with the community."

The nationally acclaimed blues acts that will provide the sound are:

* Erin Harpe, a Maryland native and her band, the Delta Swingers, are four-time winners of the Boston Blues Challenge; 2-3 p.m.

* John Nemeth, a multi-intrumentalist/harmonica player/singer who won the 2014 Soul Blues Male Artist of the Year; 3:15-4:30 p.m.

Maegan Gorton of Burlington, Vt., territory sales manager for Switchback Brewing Company of Burlington, pours samples at last year s Blues N Brews
Maegan Gorton of Burlington, Vt., territory sales manager for Switchback Brewing Company of Burlington, pours samples at last year s Blues N Brews Festival. SUN FILE PHOTO
 

* Dana Fuchs, a small-town Florida blueswoman who credits Etta James among her musical inspirations; 4:45-6 p.m.

* Matt Schofield, a Manchester, England, guitarist and recent inductee into the British Blues Hall of Fame; 6:15-8 p.m.

One hard-core and dedicated fan of the event is Lowell's CJ Vinal, who has been to the last six Blues N' Brews. She credits the fresh mix of talent as her reason for returning to the event every year.

"Plus all the great brew," she added. "I think it's great that it has moved to downtown. That will bring out more people who can walk to the show or take the train in from out of town. It's more accessible.

"The acts are awesome," she added. "It's usually a mix of familiar names along with newcomers. And the lineup changes every year so it keeps things fresh.

"It makes sense to have it in Lowell because it is becoming the cultural hub for the region," Vinal said.

And while the blues please the ear buds, the brews will please the taste buds.

CRAFT VENDORS

JW's Cigar Box Guitars

Strung by Stacy

Utterly Eclectic

Mommy and Me

Tuck Life

Pattie's Animal Fair

CUTCO Cutlery

Mary Kay Beauty Consultant

AliCat Jewels

Moms Demand Action

Children's Melanoma Prevention Foundation

Afterburn Hot Sauce

Energy Monster

FOOD TRUCKS

Moosey's Muddy Brook Cafe

Teddy's Lunch Box

Boston BBQ

Wildfire Catering (BBQ)

Capriotti's Sandwich Shop

StrEAT Food RX

North American Catering Co

Big T's Jerky House & BBQ

Chicks and Dogs Rolling Food Truck

FOOD BOOTHS

Harmon's Clam Cakes

TC Scoops

Totally Nutz

Uncle Joeys Cannoli

Thai Hut

Olympia Restaurant