For the ninth year, the annual Ferndale Blues Festival will bring music, food and revelry to downtown Ferndale with at least 66 concerts and events in 23 venues over a 10-day period from Jan. 29 to Feb. 6.
This annual music festival is held in winter each year to raise money for two local charities, including Ferndale Youth Assistance and Michigan AIDS Coalition, and to bring music and camaraderie to folks often suffering from cabin fever and winter blues.
“The economy’s still tanking, holiday bills have come due, the days are short and the nights are long, dark and cold,” said festival Co-Chair and Co-Founder Craig Covey in a press release. “What better time to get out of the house and listen to live music and party with the community?”
Most of the concerts are free with no cover charge. Top sponsors this year include Bud Light, Paramount Bank, Blue Care Network, Svedka Vodka and Dino’s Lounge. New venues this year include Inyo, Affirmations, Angels’ Cafe and Candle Wick Shop.
Several dozen volunteers help make the event successful. Some are assigned to concerts and help raise money through donations at the door and by passing the blind blue piggy banks that are icons of the festival. More than 75 of the piggy banks are in stores, shops and restaurants throughout Ferndale.
Blue paper-mache piggy banks are also out in the community, made by students with autism at Cooley High School in Detroit. Cary Watkins, a teacher at the school, has had students help with the festival over the past four years.
Blue lights and banners are being strung across Ferndale, along with billboards and electronic signs on Woodward and I-75.
The third annual outdoor Blues Barbecue and Ribs Burn-Out, sponsored by Garden Fresh Salsa, Buffalo Trace Bourbon and Bud Light, is Feb. 6 from noon to 8 p.m. in the city parking lot behind Dino’s Lounge on Woodward Avenue. Eleven local restaurants and chefs will compete for the best ribs.
Four events are smoke-free, including concerts at Angels Cafe, Affirmations, Paramount Bank and AJ’s Cafe. The three latter venues are also alcohol-free.
Student groups are playing at Paramount Bank and AJ’s Cafe.
An up-to-date schedule of events and concerts can be found at http://www.ferndalebluesfestival.org.