The Ferndale Blues and Music Festival is back for its 12th year and will feature more music and venues than ever before.
The event will span 10 days this year - starting Friday, Jan. 25 and continuing through Feb. 6 - and includes 75 individual concerts in at least 27 venues, primarily in Ferndale with a few in Royal Oak Township and Hazel Park.
The annual music festival is held each winter to raise money for two local charities - Ferndale Youth Assistance and the Michigan AIDS Coalition.
Festival co-chair and founder Craig Covey says the event aims to brings music and camaraderie to people across the region who may be suffering cabin fever or winter blues. It also brings thousands of people out to local businesses during an otherwise slow season.
"Taxes are going up and are due, holiday parties are over, the days are short and the nights are long," Covey said in a recent press release. "What better time to get out of the house, listen to music and party with friends?"
More venues, concerts
Most of the concerts are free and a wide range of music styles will be featured - including rock, club, dance, big band and more. New venues this year include Local Kitchen and Bar, One Eyed Betty’s, the Kulick Community Center, John D Bistro, and Easy Like Sundae.
Top sponsors this year include Bud Light, Absolut Vodka, Garden Fresh Salsa, Suburban Buick GMC, One Eyed Betty’s, Jameson Irish Whiskey and Dino’s Lounge.
The event is put on by a small group of volunteers, and money is raised through donations at the door and by passing around the "blind blue piggy banks" found at each venue.
Residents can also look forward to the sixth annual Blues Barbecue and Ribs Burn-Out on Saturday, Feb. 2, where up to 10 local restaurants and chefs will compete for the best ribs.
Held in a heated tent in the library parking lot from 12-7 p.m., the rib burn-out features celebrity judges including Red Wings alumni and also includes live music.
New frozen yogurt shop Easy Like Sundae is hosting a family-friendly kick-off event on Friday, Jan. 25. The alcohol-free event will begin at 7 p.m. and feature local teen bands.
Two more all-ages events include a free concert featuring the St. Mary’s Prep Jazz Band and the Nighthawks Jazz Orchestra on Jan. 30 at the Elks Club, and a concert at the Kulick Center on Feb. 6 featuring Ferndale Scools youth bands.
"We are pleasantly stunned at the growth of this year’s Festival," said Monica Mills, festival co-chair and co-founder along with her husband Larry Mills and Covey. "The economy is finally improving, and the businesses really stepped up to help us bring what is without a doubt the highest level of top quality bands ever."
43rd District Court Judge Joe Longo, who serves as vice-chair of the Ferndale Youth Assistance Board, said the blues festival "raises critical funds for our work with youth in the district."
"Our budget is so tight, like most charities these days, and the festival helps us serve youth during this tough economy," he said.
Additional sponsors of the festival include: Absolute Vodka, Suburban Buick GMC, Daily Tribune, Ferndale 115, Buffalo Wild Wings, Nicholas Schrock; Allstate, Jameson Irish Whiskey, Blue Agave Tequila, Serve-Pro, Urbane Life Online Magazine, Metra Magazine, Woodward Talk, Danny’s Irish Pub, Soho, Sneakers Pub, Green Thumb Garden Center, Attorney Howard Shifman, G.O.A.L., Ferndale DDA, Ferndale Chamber of Commerce, County Commissioner Helaine Zack, and the Grasshopper.
For more information and a full schedule of events, visit www.ferndalebluesfestival.org.