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Ferndale's Blues Festival to Offer More Music Choices, Venues

Expanding event to other cities and adding rock, big band, electronic music and more options will make 11th annual event bigger and better than event, event co-chair says.

Guests at this year's Blues Festival will be able to hear more than just blues music at the 11th annual event starting next weekend – and they'll be able to enjoy it in cities beyond Ferndale.

The Bud Light Ferndale Blues and Music Festival will feature more than 60 concerts and events in at least 24 venues over nine days starting Jan. 27. This includes events in Hazel Park and Royal Oak Township, and new music options such as rock 'n' roll, club, dance, big band, house and electronic music.

'Something for everyone'

"We opened up the festival to all forms of music," said festival co-chair Craig Covey, a Ferndale resident and Oakland County commissioner.

Although Covey, one of the founders of the event, said he loves the blues, he said adding other music options allows more people to enjoy the events. "There will be something for everybody this year," he said. "I think it reflects the diversity that is already here."

Most of the concerts are free and are take place in a variety of settings,  including nightclubs, restaurants, bars and pubs, service clubs, libraries and community centers.

Festival expands to Hazel Park, Royal Oak Township

Hazel Park and Royal Oak Township joining in on the event is also a welcome change this year, Covey said. New venues in Ferndale such as , , and are also hosting shows.

"Some of these clubs attract different crowds," he said. Along with the new music options, the event could grow exponentially, he said. "Once you open it up to that, there are literally tens of thousands of people who are interested."

Top sponsors this year include Bud Light, Blue Care Network, Suburban Buick GMC and , Covey said.

Local charities to benefit

The annual music festival will raise money for local charities Ferndale Youth Assistance and .

Volunteers assigned to concerts will help raise money through donations at the door and by passing the that are icons of the festival.  More than 75 of the piggy banks will be in stores, shops, and restaurants throughout Ferndale and other venues and blue lights will light up the city.

The fifth annual outdoor Blues Barbeque and Ribs Burn-Out is set for Feb. 4 from noon-7 p.m. in the parking lot, where local restaurants and chefs will compete for the best ribs as bands play live music throughout the day.

Joe Longo, a judge and Ferndale Youth Assistance board vice-chair, said in a news release that the festival provides much-needed funds for the organization.

“This festival raises critical funds for our work with youth in the district,” he said. “Our budget is so tight, like most charities these days, and the festival helps us serve youth during this tough economy."

A free “Blues shuttle” will run both Saturday nights during the festival around the venues to help people travel to multiple events.

A full schedule of events and concerts will be available at www.ferndalebluesfestival.org.

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