The 25th anniversary edition of the Wednesday blues series that returns to the DeltaPlex Arena parking lot in Walker also boasts veteran and emerging stars such as Coco Montoya, Larry McCray, Big James & The Chicago Playboys and Jake Kershaw. See the full schedule.
JUNE 14 UPDATE: The first show in the series featuring Coco Montoya and Upstage Crew has been moved inside the DeltaPlex Arena due to concerns about the weather. Scroll down for videos of some of the series’ featured performers.
The popular 97LAV Summertime Blues series will return for the third year to Walker’s DeltaPlex Arena parking lot starting in mid-June, with national and regional blues stars, and — for the first time — an opportunity for local bands to open the shows.
Left-handed California blues guitarist Coco Montoya, who’s played with the likes of Albert Collins and John Mayall, will kick off the summer series on June 14, with eight more free-admission shows to follow. Described by Living Blues as “a show-stopper,” Montoya earlier this year released a new studio album, “Hard Truth.”
Hosted as always by WLAV-FM (96.9), the series will also feature popular returnees Walter Trout, Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials, Larry McCray, Selwyn Birchwood and Big James & The Chicago Playboys as well as newcomers such as Marshall’s 16-year-old blues sensation Jake Kershaw and his band. (As a preview, Kershaw also plays Rockford Brewing on May 19 as part of Local Spins’ fifth anniversary celebration.)
The newest addition to the series — representing the 25th anniversary of the Wednesday shows that started as “Blues on the Mall” in downtown Grand Rapids — will feature local acts getting a shot at opening for the headliners, something spearheaded by WLAV-FM morning show host Tony Gates.
As part of “Tone’s Home Grown” series, local bands and singers will register online at WLAV.com here for a chance to be selected for one of nine opening slots during the summer. Selected bands will also receive $100.
WLAV has branded the move from downtown Grand Rapids to the DeltaPlex in 2015 a success, noting the series has been especially popular with bikers and classic car buffs who have room to park for free at the DeltaPlex. The location also provides space for food and beer vendors.
The series is presented by Village Motorsports and Orion Construction, with bands performing on the Preferred Credit Union stage.
VIDEO: Coco Montoya, “Truth Be Told”
VIDEO: Selwyn Birchwood, “Live at the White Mountain Boogie N’ Blues Festival”
VIDEO: Larry McCray, “Last Four Nickels”
VIDEO: Walter Trout, “Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise”
Copyright 2017, Spins on Music LLCon June