Way back in 2008, Bob LeRose launched the Blues, Views & BBQ Festival.
The owner of popular Main Street restaurant Bobby Q’s wasn’t really sure if a downtown music-and-food event would fly.
From modest beginnings, it soared.
“Blues” expanded to funk, soul and rock. Acts like Blues Traveler, Spin Doctors, James Montgomery, Sister Sparrow, The Revivalists, Popa Chubby — and Charlie Karp — rocked the Levitt Pavilion stage.
Barbecue tastings and contests expanded from the library parking lot to the Imperial Avenue lot. Kids’ bounce houses and slides sprang up. Non-profits set up informational booths.
Thousands of visitors poured into Westport every Labor Day weekend. It was a huge event — so big, it was hard to pin down exactly what it was.
This year, organizers have one goal: Bring back the winning formula.
They’ve reduced the footprint. This year’s festival — set for August 31 and September 1 — will use the Levitt Pavilion and library parking lot only. “We’re renewing our focus on community,” organizers say.
They promise a killer music line-up, tons of family fun, interesting vendors, great food, convenient parking (including the Imperial lot), and affordable ticket prices.
However, LeRose returns as a producer. He’s joined by Westport tech entrepreneur/marketing strategist Peter Propp, and Crispin Cioe. The Blues Hall of Fame saxophonist/ songwriter/Westport resident has played and recorded with James Brown, the Rolling Stones, Solomon Burke, Tom Waits, Ray Charles and the Ohio Players, plus many others.
A high-powered steering committee of music-loving locals is helping too.
Planners hope to see more Westporters than ever at the 12th annual Blues Views & BBQ Festival — along with tons of visitors.
Saturday — which focuses on New Orleans/Southern vibe music — includes the Anders Osborne Band. Sunday features funk and soul, with Brooklyn’s Lawrence as headliner.
Other performers include Jake Kulak and the Lowdown, Kat Wright, Southern Avenue, Flow Tribe, Neville Jacobs, School of Rock, The National Reserve, The Commonheart, High & Mighty Brass Band, and The Main Squeeze.
More details — including Jesup Jam’s kid-friendly food and fun activities — will be announced soon.
Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. today. For early-bird prices and more information, click here.