Fifth annual Kent Blue’s Fest this weekend

Katie Shevlin

The fifth annual Kent Blues Fest will take place July 19 and 20. This two-day concert series will feature live entertainment at 17 venues in downtown Kent.

The festival will kick off with a concert featuring the Brighter Side Band at the Acorn Alley Plaza from 5:15 to 8 p.m. on Friday

Tom Simpson, co-owner of the Kent Stage who produces the headline show, said people come from all over Northeast Ohio for the music. He said he expects about 500 to 600 people to attend Friday and Saturday night.

“If you have the blues, come down and have a great time,” Simpson said.

A few of the many artists performing are Blue Lunch, Colin John and Memphis Cradle. Headlining the Kent Stage on Saturday is Grammy-nominated guitarist Tab Benoit. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets can be found at

Woody James, owner of the Ohio Music Shop and Stage, said the festival is a great opportunity for the city. He said the way the festival is organized gives everyone a chance to experience each venue.

“It just keeps getting bigger and better,” James said. “It’s a great deal for us and all of the venues downtown.”

Sponsors of the Kent Blues Festival include the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center, PARTA, Akron General Medical Center, Apollo Heating and Cooling, Cascade Auto Group, College Town Kent, Hungry Howie’s and Huntington Bank. Kent Stat’s WKSU is a media partner for the event.

For more information on performers, locations and times, visit

Contact Katie Shevlin at [email protected].