Some 15 acts, including powerhouse Chicago guitarist Jimmy D Lane, plus Southern-style barbecue, beverages, an unparalleled outdoor venue by the bay (courtesy of Semiahmoo First Nation) and a deal on all-day parking – what else can a blues fan ask for?
That’s the menu being served this Sunday at the Spirit Stage in Semiahmoo Park, as the White Rock Blues Society presents its fifth annual International Blues Challenge, starting at 11 a.m. (gates open at 10:30 a.m.).
All the audience needs is the price of admission ($10 in advance, $15 at the gate, children 14 and under free), a blanket, lawn chairs and a cooler.
The event, co-sponsored by the City of White Rock, will provide a day-long program of music.
But it is also a contest – determining which of the talented lineup of West Coast R & B artists, assembled by artistic director and show producer Jason Buie, will be sponsored to represent B.C. at the 31st International Blues Challenge in Memphis TN, in January 2015.
Among bands performing will be the stellar aggregations of Harpdog Brown, James Buddy Rogers, McKinley Wolf, Kathy Frank, Uncle Wiggly’s Blues Band and Sabrina Weeks and Swing Cat Bounce.
In the solo/duo category are such established artists as Murray Porter, Jesse Roper, Steve Hinton, Dalannah Gail Bowen and James Thuarhoug.
More than 250 acts from around the world compete in Memphis each year, and a panel of judges will evaluate contestants on the same criteria.
No matter who claims the honour of representing the province, big winners will be music lovers who will have a chance to see and hear some first-class blues musicians – including Juno and Maple Blues Award winners and nominees – at the top of their game, society president Rod Dranfield said.
A big coup for this year’s show is the presence of Lane, who will round out the show with a “rip-roaring set” as a special favor to the society, Dranfield said.
“He is Chicago blues royalty – if you have yet to have seen him play, you’re in for a great treat.”
The bluesman has the right pedigree – his father, Jimmy Rogers, played guitar for Muddy Waters in the 1950s and ’60s – and he grew up around some of the great blues artists of the day, and honed his skills by learning from the best.
Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Mabon, Little Walter and Albert King would all “stop by the house to visit the old man,” Lane has recalled.
“I feel blessed and fortunate to have known all those cats, and I do not take it for granted.”
His own resume is not to shabby either – artists he has worked with include Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, Jim Keltner, Keith Richards, B.B. King, Van Morrison, Taj Mahal, Jeff Healy, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page.
Tickets are available through Surrey Arts Centre’s box office (604-501-5566, or online at https://tickets.surrey.ca), from Surfside Music and Vintage Guitars, or Tapestry Music.