Sights and Sounds: Kent Blues Festival

Neville Hardman

Music poured from downtown Kent on Friday evening as the seventh annual Blues Festival stretched into the early hours of the night.

Line at Venice Cafe

Bobby DiMauro, 62, waited in an expanding line with Vince Santoferraro to enter the corner coffee shop.

“We just came from a private party with Ron Burbick and the Acorn Alley Foundation,” DiMauro said. “(We’re) just gonna’ enjoy a lot of music tonight.”

DiMauro said they were seeing their friends Joe Vitale and Freddie Salem, who played with Denzon Blues All-Stars. DiMauro has lived in Kent for 62 years and attended every Blues Fest since its creation.

“I’ve been coming to Kent since ninth grade,” Santoferraro said. “They were easy on ID’s in ninth grade.”

They waited in line for 15 minutes.

“We just like good music and they play it here,” Santoferraro said.

Tree City Coffee & Pastry’s open window

Jeremiah Richard, 32, sat on a concrete bench listening to Frankie Starr & Sharon T, through Tree City Coffee’s glassless window frame.

“I just got down here a little bit ago,” Richard said. Richard, who traveled from Canton, experiences his first Blues Fest tonight.

“We’re gonna go down to Dominick’s to listen to another band,” Richard said as he waited for his friend Michelle.

Heat at Dominick’s

“Now this is a happening place,” Regina Heimann said as she shuffled through the crowd to get a decent spot.

Rhea Kurta, a biochemistry graduate from Kent State, walked in and walked right back out as people flooded the doorway.

“I’m going back to the Zephyr,” Kurta said. “It’s like my safe place.”

Losing a family outside Zephyr Pub

As the doorman checking ID’s sent a group of three boys away, he announced “one in, one out” to the crowd surrounding the entrance. The crowd starts to shape into a line.

Lauren White, 29, stands next to Collin Jones, 29, waiting to get into the pub.

“We lost the family; We’re trying to find them,” White said, who traveled from Columbia, South Carolina with Jones for a family reunion weekend in Kent. Around 20 of her family members are scattered around Blues Fest hailing from places such as California, Tennessee and Cincinnati.

Contact Neville Hardman at [email protected]