Local venues host live music for Kent Blues Festival


Jarred Goldweber and the Park Brothers performing at the Zephyrs Pub on Friday, July 15, 2016. The Kent Blues Festival took place at 21 venues across downtown, where residents enjoyed blues music. 

Angelo Angel

Live music and warm summer air took over the evening Friday in downtown Kent during the annual Kent Blues Festival.

Twenty-one venues throughout the city hosted the festival. Locals and out-of-towners roamed around downtown in search of music, food and drinks.

Streets filled with chatter and cheers for performing bands, with lines forming outside the doors of various locations throughout the night. 

Aundria Hull, a sophomore special education major at Kent State, said the festival was a pleasant surprise.

“I came downtown with some friends without knowing that it was going on,” she said. “We saw people already dancing to the music and we just jumped in with them.”

The festival was presented by Crooked River Fine Arts Council, a Kent-based nonprofit organization that has helped make the event possible, along with a variety of other local festivals held throughout the year, such as the Kent Reggae Festival and BeatleFest.

The blues festival began in 2001 and has since grown to incorporate more genres of blues and venues.

Participating venues included several bars downtown and a few areas accessible to those under 21 looking to enjoy the music.

Blues band The Juke Hounds performed for a crowd at Hometown Plaza.

Gerard Dominick, bass player for the Juke Hounds, said this was one of the best gigs he’s ever played.

“Just the talent out here tonight playing at the different venues is amazing,” he said. “I’m just glad we were able to play music for a decent crowd.”

Along with the free entertainment, some bars offered drink specials and deals for festival attendees.

“We’re offering $5 flights and also a Belgian keg tap,” said Kristina Jansons, store manager for 101 Bottles. “We’ve participated in the Kent Blues Fest every year and it’s always a great experience.”

Nathan Brenner-James, a junior technology major at Kent State, went to 101 Bottles for drinks and to listen to the bands.

“I’ve already stopped at several of the places hosting live music and they all sound amazing so far,” he said. “With all the craziness going on in the world, it’s nice for people to be able to come out and reprieve.

Contact Angelo Angel at [email protected].