kalamazoo valley blues association | WMUK

kalamazoo valley blues association

Alain Boucly

The Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association is closing in on 30 years of "keeping the blues alive" in the Kalamazoo region, through collaboration, education, and most prominently, an annual festival. After taking a year off during the pandemic, the KVBA is back with a scaled-down day of blues featuring 5 bands in the outdoor garden of Old Dog Tavern in downtown Kalamazoo on Saturday, Aug 21 from 3 - 11 pm. Cara Lieurance talked to board member (and harmonica player) Jeff Bright about the event.

Bob Stesheltz Photography

Tina Truax, an organizer of the Kalamazoo Blues Festival and an 11-year member of the Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association, says she became a blues convert as an adult. She went to hear a live band at a club in Grand Rapids, and and as she listened to more and more blues, she realized how much rock & roll and pop music had borrowed from the blues, a music that started as a response to slavery. Truax tells Cara Lieurance that there are signs a new generation is returning to the roots of blues, and the Kalamazoo Blues Festival is a way to hear a range of music from west Michigan, from national acts, and styles that range from New Orleans to Chicago to New York and beyond. It runs Friday and Saturday, July 12 and 13, at the Arcadia Festival Site in dowtown Kalamazoo.

This is the 20th year for the Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association event. The festival began because some local blues musicians wanted to make both music and money. The Kalamazoo Blues Festival starts on July 11 and runs through July 13 in downtown Kalamazoo.