By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News
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The Port Angeles Blues Festival schedule goes like this:
Friday night dance
■ 7 p.m. Richard Allen & the Louisiana Experience
■ 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. West Coast Women's Blues Revue with Alice Stuart and Lady A
■ 1 p.m. The Cruzin' Bluzers of Port Angeles
■ 2:30 p.m. Nick Vigarino's Back Porch Stomp
■ 4 p.m. West Coast Women's Blues Revue
■ 5:30 p.m. The Strange Tones
■ 7 p.m. The Delta Rays
■ 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. The Lloyd Jones Struggle
Peninsula Daily News
“I bring my fun. And I expect my audience to bring their fun,” said the Seattle singer, who'll also bring the rest of the West Coast Women's Blues Revue to the inaugural Port Angeles Blues Festival this Friday night and Saturday.
Be careful what you believe about the “blues” part, said Lady A and her compatriots.
This isn't sad stuff; rather, blues festival booker Cliff Verhoeff promises it's “swinging, dancing, can't-stay-off-your-feet” revelry, with seven bands to buoy things along.
The venue is the Clallam County Fairgrounds, which Verhoeff calls “a hidden treasure” at 1608 W. 16th St.
Verhoeff, executive director of the nonprofit Snohomish Artist Guild of Everett, said he's promoting the festival across the Northwest via various blues society newsletters and other media outlets.
Port Angeles' blues party starts with a dance Friday night, then will fill Saturday with live music from noon till 10:30 p.m. at the fairgrounds' Wilder Auto Community Stage.
It seats about 1,500, Verhoeff added, “and if it rains, there's an indoor hall [the Home Arts building] that can seat 900.”
But it's not going to rain, said Clallam County Fair manager Shari Ioffrida.
“We're looking forward to building another good festival out here,” she added.
Verhoeff, a sound engineer and self-described “road dog,” has worked festivals in Astoria, Ore., Anacortes, Everett and elsewhere, so he knows an awful lot of bands.
He picked out singers from Seattle like Lady A — whose off-stage name is Anita White — and Alice Stuart, who along with guitarist-vocalist Teri Anne Wilson put together the West Coast Women's Blues Revue.
This band stirs up originals and covers from the blues, soul and funk sectors.
“I do covers like 'Shaky Ground' and 'Come Together,' that I make my own,” added Lady A, whose CD is titled “BlueZ in the Key of Me.”
Verhoeff also invited the Strange Tones, a rockabilly-blues foursome, up from Eugene, Ore., slide guitarist Nick Vigarino and his “Back Porch Stomp” duo from Camano Island and, as the headliner, the Lloyd Jones Struggle, which this week played the elegant Jazz Alley nightclub in Seattle.
Jones, whose new CD is “Doin' What It Takes,” is also forecasting “fun, modern stuff” at this festival.
The blues is quintessentially American music Jones has loved for 45 years.
“I delight in all the flavors this country has to offer,” said the seasoned player, whose songs can be heard at www.LloydJonesMusic.com.
Friday's flavors begin with zydeco and accordionist Richard Allen's band the Louisiana Experience. Also partaking in the festival are two local groups: the Cruzin' Bluzers and the Delta Rays.
The Rays “are a dance band; they can keep up with anybody,” Verhoeff said.
Verhoeff knows this first year is for making a good impression, one he can build onto.
“We're just having a party,” he said, “and hoping the sun holds. The locals have got to come out if they wan see these things develop.”
Tickets are $15 per day or $35 including a buffet dinner of jambalaya, corn bread and more; a full festival pass including dinner both nights is $65.
Dinners will also be available for a separate price.
Outlets include Port Book and News, 104 E. First St.; Sequim's Pacific Mist Books, 121 W. Washington St. and www.BrownPaperTickets.com.
Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at email@example.com.