Thursday, June 24, 2010

6-24-10 Press Release

Planning for the Byron Crossroads Blues Festival is well underway and advanced ticket sales have been quite good. The lineup of the festival has also been expanded; music will now begin shortly after noon on Saturday August 28th and runs all the way to midnight. Tickets for the fest are available at participating bars and restaurants in Byron, in Byron Bank, from Crossroads Blues Society members and on line at: for only $5 in advance ($10 at the gate).

Opening the festival will be the Barstool Bob Blues Band. Headed up by Bob Levis, this band plays traditional Chicago blues. Levis toured the US and the globe for many years with the legendary Otis Rush. He later toured as the rhythm guitar player with the great Lonnie Brooks. He was also in the house band for Kingston Mines for 18 years, one of the top Blues clubs in Chicago. Levis now lives in Rockford and produced his first solo CD recently. The Resistors play their brand of rocking blues at 2 PM. Another local band with pop and power, they will impress the listener with their gutsy authentic Chicago sound.

The music switches to acoustic blues at 4 PM with Filisko and Noden. Joe Filisko is a noted harmonica virtuoso who also custom build harps (the blues term for harmonicas). Eric Noden is an accomplished acoustic guitar player, solo artist and blues music educator. He and Filisko often team up as a duo for performances around the country to great acclaim. Crossroads has used them many times for school and local performances. The Cashbox Kings are at 6 PM. These young guys play a straight up and clean sounding old style Chicago blues. Their recent CD entitled “I 94” on Blue Bella Records has received high marks from critics and a lot of airplay on radio stations nationwide. Guitar legend and Grammy winner Billy Flynn will be joining them as they perform for the festival!

Next up is the Westside Andy/Mel Ford Band from Madison at 8 PM. These guys perform a jumping and swinging sounding blues and have a huge following here in the Midwest. Andy’s harp and Mel big guitar sound pack venues every time they perform, and an added treat will be Barrelhouse Chuck accompanying them on keyboards. Chuck learned to play piano at the feet of legends like Sunnyland Slim and Little Brother Montgomery; his barrelhouse piano and organ work is truly amazing! Closing out the night will be Dave Weld and the Imperial Flames. Chicago and Rockford favorites, this band lacks national exposure because Dave has stayed in the area to attend to his Mother who was ill. She unfortunately passed away recently, but now he has completed a new CD long in he making and is touring again. “Burnin’ Love” is his new release on Delmark Records and it has run up the charts fast! Dave learned guitar from Chicago Westside blues hall of fame legend J.B. Hutto and delivers a raucous and hot brand of blues. With Howlin’ Wolf’s sax man Abb Locke, the sweet sounding Jeff Taylor on drums, Brother Dave K on bass and the ebullient and soulful Monica Myhre assisting on vocals, these guys and gal will please the festival crowd with their great sound.

This is a super lineup of music and a superb value for $5 advanced tickets and $10 at the gate. A kid’s oriented music event will be held at about 4 PM in the festival. The first 50 kids 12 years old and under who arrive at the Crossroads tent at 4 PM will receive a free harmonica and harmonica lesson from Joe Filisko! Parents can listen to the harmonica lesson or enjoy the Cashbox Kings on the main stage while Joe provides his students with their first harp lesson.

The festival is being run by the Crossroads Blues Society. They are a non-profit organization in the Rockford area that runs Blues In The School programs to educate area youth about the blues and roots of American music. Since 2002 they have run 81 school programs that have reached out to over 23,000 students. They are running this festival with the assistance of the Downtown Byron Bar and Restaurant Association. The members of the association will provide all the food served at the festival, highlighting the great fare available at their Byron restaurants. The Association is comprised of The Cave Inn, The Fifth Alarm, Leombruni’ Italian Village, Karla’s and Poor Pauly’s Pub, Sunrise II Restaurant, Spanky’s Byon Inn Tavern and Tailgaters Sports Bar and Grill. Food will be served outdoors in the festival area and in their establishments; they are all within the festival area and access to their restaurants and bars is available to fest patrons. Beer and other malt beverages will be available at three location in the festival area, centered at the crossroads of Second and Union Streets in downtown Byron. The local bars will remain open late until 2 AM, some with live music. You can find out more information at: or call festival Chairperson Steve Jones at 779-537-4006.

Sponsors for the festival are still being accepted. Sponsor levels vary from $50 to over $1,000:
 Basic: Individuals $50, Businesses $100. 2 free tickets and name in the program.
 Silver: $200-$399. 2 free tickets, name in program and on banner near stage with list of silver sponsors.
 Gold: $400-$999. 5 free tickets, name in program, individual banner near stage with name of sponsor, small logo on rear of festival tee shirt.
 Platinum: $1,000 and up. 10 free tickets, name in program, individual banner near stage with name of sponsor, large logo on rear of festival tee shirt.
All sponsors will also be acknowledged and recognized during announcements prior to each band playing.

This is going to be a great community event and a fun day for all attendees. It will be held rain or shine; bring your own chairs, no coolers or outside food and beverages are allowed but plenty of food, soft drinks, and beer will be available at very reasonable prices! Beat the recession blues by coming out for an inexpensive and fun day with some great blues music and support the Crossroads Blues Society and their Blues In the Schools Program!

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