Down By The River

local musicians, Portland singer make up Durand`s Blues on the Chippewa

Claire Jeffries |

Blues music is kind of like country only without the ex-wife. Many people can get aggressive about country music, but most everyone in my life likes the blues. I think it is because blues music really plays toward the joys and struggles of living, and everyone can identify with that.

Blues on the Chippewa is an all-day festival of, you guessed it, blues music. There will be nine bands playing: Love Buzzards, Left Wing Bourbon, Catya’s Trio, David Jones and the Jones Tones, Deep Water Reunion, Lucy Creek, Mojo Lemon, Cool Disposition, and headliner Ellen Whyte. There will also be concessions provided by local non-profit organizations, and a classic car and motorcycle show. Best of all, there is no cover charge; Rob Edwards, president of the Blues on the Chippewa organization, and Dan Callan, vice president of the organization and band leader of the Bear Creek Band, are just asking that patrons bring non-perishable food donations.

Callan and Edwards started the festival mainly for two reasons: they love blues music, and they wanted to help a good cause. The Bread of Life food pantry is always low on supplies by the end of July, so they decided to hold this festival to help raise food for the pantry.

People can expect to see quality music and entertainment. “This is a family friendly event,” said Callan. “You don’t have to travel very far, and the entertainment doesn’t cost anything. We are just asking for food donations.” Even with the concessions available, all proceeds are going to non-profit organizations.

Though this year the festival will be held in Memorial Park, Edwards is hoping to move their annual event to the waterfront. Durand is redeveloping the area down by the Chippewa River, extending the bike trail, paving paths, and designing parks. Edwards is hoping that by next year, they can hold the event by redeveloped area at the river. Then it can really hold the name “Blues on the Chippewa.” The festival will not only give people an admiration for blues music, but an appreciation of the riverfront as well.

Edwards and Callan hope that people will enjoy the event, that they will raise enough food for the pantry, and that the festival will boost tourism in the Durand area. They want to put Durand on the map, and what better way than through blues music? “I hope that through this festival, the Durand area will be known for the blues,” said Edwards.

    Blues on the Chippewa. Saturday, Aug. 2 at Memorial Park in Durand. 1-8:45pm. FREE; non-perishable food donations accepted. 672-4491 or 672-8785. Blues bands will play at several area bars after 9pm.