Threat of rain doesn’t stop music of 13th annual Kent Blues Festival


Berkeley Chadwick

The Zydeco Kings performing in the Water Street Tavern at the Kent Blues Festival on June 16, 2022.

Berkeley Chadwick, Reporter

Crowds gathered in downtown Kent Saturday for the city’s 13th annual Blues Festival, where more than 30 bands performed at 23 indoor and outdoor venues all over the city. The event, which ran from 1 p.m. to midnight, was free for attendees.

While potential rains threatened attendance, festival-goers weren’t deterred.

“It has been really steady today. A lot of people in and out. Everyone seems to be enjoying the music,” said Nate Smierciak, a bouncer at Water Street Tavern. “All day, even in the bad weather, a lot of people still came in.”

Patrons listening to live performers and shopping in Acorn Alley at the Kent Blues Festival on June 16, 2022. (Berkeley Chadwick)

Live music could be heard anywhere in the DORA boundary. From Bricco to North Water Brewing Co., event attendees could enjoy all that downtown Kent has to offer while still listening to the music provided by the festival.

“We didn’t have any issue with the rain. I think we just missed it,” said Erin Franc, a bartender at Brewhouse Pub. “We’re just excited to get people in to enjoy some music. If it rains, we just move inside.”

Some artists did get rained out during their performances.

“I had a really good set even though we got rained out at the end … The crowd was really attentive,” said performer Jen Maurer. “I don’t usually play solo, but the crowd was really amazing. Everyone was so dang nice.”

The event also offered an “open mic” venue at Last Exit Books to allow less-established artists the opportunity to play in front of a crowd.

An open mic performance at Last Exit Books on June 16, 2022 for the Kent Blues Festival. (Berkeley Chadwick)

“We’ve had a few people waiting to play at the open mic here already, and we just got started,” said Patrick Howard of Last Exit Books. “We’re not sure how the turn out will be with the weather, but everything is looking good so far.”

Berkeley Chadwick is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected].