8 Must Have Items When Going to a Blues Festival

We are on the cusp of summer, and the blues festival movement is well under way. With events popping up all over the world, you have plenty of opportunity to get your fix of your favorite music live and in person. Most of the better events take place over the course of days, in outdoor settings, making it essential that you bring along the following:

Earplugs – This may sound counter productive, but earplugs can actually enhance the musical festival experience. Most are designed to just muffle noise, not stifle it altogether, which you’ll be appreciative of if you end up to close to a speaker.

Fanny Pack – Not the most attractive look, but you need somewhere to stash your cash, cell phone, keys and cigarettes. Backpack you say? Go ahead, and then you’ll find yourself the mule for all of your friends cash, cell phones, keys and cigarettes. The fanny pack makes sure that you are in charge of just your own stuff. You can also upgrade to a Camelbak if you want an easy way to lug around your drinking water.

Porta Potty Stuff – It’s a fact of life so we may as well be adults about it, no one likes the porta potty. To make it less hell-full bring along wipes, toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

Cell Phone Power Pack – Good luck finding a power outlet in the middle of a festival, but having a back-up or a power pack should do the trick of letting you stay in touch in between sets.

Portable Infrared Sauna – If you are bringing along a power source, or will have access to one, having a portable infrared sauna is a great way to unwind at night and stave off muscle exhaustion in your legs. A portable infrared sauna review site can help you find the best one to bring along to a festival for the right price.

©Jay Blakesberg

Protection from the Sun – You will get fried if you are not careful. Sunblock, hats, sunglasses, chapstick and long sleeves are must haves.

Comfortable Shoes – Measure the distance from your family sized tent at the campsite to the nearest stage. Need we say more?

Candy and Gum – These help with keeping your mouth fresh, and in making friends. See someone who looks interesting to chat with, pull out a pack of gum and then offer a piece when you see them looking.

Blues festival season is short, and you want to make the most of the time while you can. With careful planning and the right gear, every festival you hit up this summer will be one worth remembering.

Is Clean Shaven Taboo in Good Blues Music?

With rare exception, pop bands and artists are baby faced, without a whisker in sight, yet in blues the epic beard abounds. Is there some sort of connection between great music and great looking facial hair, or is the blues artist just too laid back to care. Stop by any blues fest, and chances are you’ll see more whiskers than you could shake a beard trimmer at.

The Irish singer-songwriter Glen Hansard is one of the best examples of this, as he is generally seen performing his set behind the mask of a very scraggly looking beard. Despite the harsh look, his heart wrenching ballads and soul infused rock will still blow you away every single time.

Then of course is the aptly named Beards, who have taken facial hair to a whole new level of overgrowth. They have even dedicated a song to the beard “You Should Consider Having Sex With a Bearded Man” to help turn the females on to the look.

If you ever are lucky enough to see them perform live, be a dear and throw some beard balm onto the stage. This will help in taming their whiskers. If you don’t know what kind, find some beard grooming review sites and see beard balm brands other beard wearers are using to smooth their styles down.

When it Comes to Playing the Blues a Beard is Almost a Pre-Requisite

The list of beard donning blues magicians is almost as long as the beards themselves. This leads the fan to wonder if the music makes the beard, or if it is the beard that is leading to great tunes. One can certainly not deny that legendary Fitz would not be quite as legendary if he put a beard trimmer to his Gandalf beard.

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Ben Caplan may give the most honest insight into the beard and blues music. According to him, his beard grew out of laziness, and as it grew he just decided to go with it. Does this mean blues artists are lazier then the average musician? I beg to differ. Instead I imagine they are just too caught up in the electrifying sounds to really care about something so trivial.

The next time you find yourself at a blues fest, start counting the beards. I bet my guitar that you are going to find more scruff than smooth bringing their musical genius onto the stage.

Surviving the White Mountain Boogie N’ Blues Festival

For almost twenty years, the award winning Boogie N’ Blues festival has been held in the white mountain region of New Hampshire with raving success. Each year just keeps getting better, with award winning blues artists, craft vendors, food galore, and a climbing wall. Bring the kids, there is plenty for the whole family to enjoy.

This year, the festival is scheduled for the 14th of August through the 16th, and promises to bring a better lineup of blues artists then ever before. If you want to be a part of this incredible festival, you need to make sure that you don’t miss a beat. To spend the three days near by, you have a number of options:

Local Motels

The festival is held in the middle of a large field, but there are plenty of towns close by with clean and inexpensive lodging options. Woodstock, NH is only 4 miles from the festival and is home to Jack o’ Lantern resort and golf course and the Woodstock Inn, Station and Brewery. The Woodstock Inn has 33 rooms to choose from, many of which are equipped with whirlpools and fireplaces.

A little bit further in Plymouth is an Econolodge which offers you all the amenities that a big chain can, such as continental breakfast and interior corridors.

Camping

The real appeal of the Boogie N’ Blues Festival is camping on the expansive field. This is a rustic experience as there are no water or electric hook-ups, but for three days it is well worth it. Call ahead and reserve a space for your family tent, and enjoy a camping experience like no other. Roll out of the sleeping bag and be greeted by an incredible list of renowned blues artists. Roast marshmallows while listening to great beats and cook eggs on your camping stove while your favorite artists warm ups.

GettingSetUpYou will need a special camping pass to set up your family tent, but each site is equipped with a picnic table and special fire ring. Everything has been thought of in advance to make sure that you and your friends and family have a blues fest experience like no other on the planet.

Don’t miss out on an incredible opportunity to spend three days and nights with a large group of people who appreciate the blues as much as you do. Combine the event with a family camping excursion, and you will instill a love of blues music into your kids too.

Your Five Favorite Blues Songs and How to Listen to Them

Having the blues has been described as that feeling you get when you have no money. You know that melancholy of knowing that there’s no food in the pantry and no way of getting any. It comes as no surprise than that the origin of blues music comes from American ghettos, and that the original artists were all African Americans.

We all get the blues from time to time. Maybe not for money reasons, maybe for love. Whatever the cause, there are those times when you just want to sit back and feel melancholy by your self. And the best way to do that is by hearing the blues.

Black Betty – James Baker and Gang

One of the earliest blues recordings lamented about the struggles of being at a dead end job. James is part of a work gang where the pay is pennies and the work is hard. This is a song to hear after an unappreciated week of work. Preferably with an ice cold beer and your favorite lounge chair.

Bukka White – Parchman Farm Blues

Just the song you need when you are facing legal issues of your own. This classic blues song was written while White was in prison for murder. Great for listening to on your darkest days, when a little perspective is needed. Dim the lights, swirl some scotch and remember it could always be worse.

Ma Rainey – Call Me Anything, But Call Me!

Use your scented oil diffuser to fill the room with the smell of roses, and then reflect back on the one that got away. This is a classic song of the love that got away. With your scented oil setting the stage, close your eyes and imagine what if.

Robert Wilkins – Rollin’ Stone

Arguably one of the most recognizable blues recordings ever made, Rollin’ Stone is what you need to hear when you want something to sing along with. Break out the Old Spice and dedicate this to the Rollin’ Stone in your life.

BB King – You Upset Me Baby

BB King is the king of the blues, having hundreds of recordings under his belt and one of the few black artists in the genre to become a household name. If you have company and want to share your blues, sit back and let the King guide your party.

bbking_2372999bMississippi John Hurt – Payday

The ultimate in poor man’s Blues. This calls for a can of Schlitz and a bag of chips for when money woes are wearing your down.

There is a blues song to fit any melancholy mood, and somehow the music makes your troubles seem insignificant. While the genre has gotten muddled up in rock and pop over the years, classic blues has never gone out of style.

ZZ Top: Mexico, Beards and the Modernization of Classic Blues

In their humble beginning, ZZ Top always showed their blues roots. But then fame took over, and that crazy urge to remain mainstream that ruins so many great blues bands. In 2012 they finally did the right thing, and channeled that blues energy once again, except this time with a modern (and electronic) twist.

ZZ Top started out in Houston Texas in 1969, a time when there were amazing changes taking place all over the musical spectrum. Over 40 years later, the heavily bearded band still has the same line-up. This consists of Billy Gibbons on guitar and vocals, Dusty Hill on bass and vocals and Frank Beard on drums.

Besides the big beards, ZZ Top has always been known for having a strong blues sound paired with rather funny songs laden with innuendo and double entendres. Who can forget “You got it whip it up and hit me like a ton of lead, If I blow my top will you let it go to your head?” It was lyrics such as this that allowed ZZ Top stay at the top of the charts for so long.

They have had their moments, taking brief (thankfully) excursions to the grunge world and even techno but they have never forgotten their blues roots. This is evidenced by the 2012 release of La Futura, one of their most authentically blues sounding albums in decades, with a modern twist. That release put them back on tour and back at Blues Fests all over the world.

Sometimes mistaken for being Hispanic, thanks to the Spanish album titles and references in their music, these three Houstonites are not of Mexican descent, but rather just have a deep love for the culture. This is easy to understand after growing up in an area that is infused with a large immigrant population.

The beards are another story.

The only member of the band who is clean shaven ironically is drummer Frank Beard. Gibbons and Hall grew out their facial hair while on a break in the late ‘70’s and have never looked at a beard trimmer since. They have been offered deals by razor companies to shave and possibly even give beard grooming tips, deals that they have happily turned down. As both bearded boys explain, at this point they are afraid to see what has gone on with their faces during the 30 plus years they have been covered by hair.

The latest album by ZZ Top is chock full of references to their old ways and old music. As only they can, electric blues has been integrated perfectly with the past to create a completely fresh sound that still manages to remind us of the bands very checkered past.

If you haven’t taken the time to listen to La Futura straight through, you are missing out. Grab your air guitar and a bottle of Mexican tequila and get ready to embark on a modern blues laden musical journey that only ZZ Top is capable of delivering.

Discover More About Blues Music

Some may say that listening to music is a part of a person’s life. There is nobody that I know who hasn’t been interested in music at a certain point in their life. One example of the most poplar types of music that people would love to listen to is blues music. This type of music has been popular since the 19th century and it’s still popular nowadays.

A Little Bit of History

blues guitarsBlues music is known to originate from the African-American natives. They are people who are situated in what they refer to as the Deep South. Ancestors of these natives are then inclined in producing songs that are more rhythmic, narrative and for some music that sound like chants.

As time goes by, these songs and music then evolved to be accompanied by instruments and melodies which can be very pleasant to the ear. Some called blues a freestyle music where it is not conformed with the usual Westernized songs and music that we hear. Instead, the music has its own elements to blend as part of a musical piece.

From a wide genre of musicians and singers, African-American people were able to introduce this type of music for everybody to love. Even with the lack of musical instruments to use to accompany their piece, blues music continued to prosper from then on.

At Present

Knowing that this type of music have influenced a good number of soul singers nowadays, the music still continues to evolve. More and more artists find the music interesting that is why they opt to bring their own taste of melodies to blues music. Current musicians are experimenting on their own music to blend with the blues.

What makes blues that popular is that you can listen to it wherever you are and whatever you are doing. Because of the melodies made to be pleasant to the ear, you will find this type of music very appealing. You can listen to it while cooking in the pantry, while relaxing or even while fishing outdoors and waiting for the fish to catch the bait (speaking of fishing, just last week I picked up a new finder for an amazing deal. Just wanted to give y’all a heads up in case you’re into this too!). This type of music gives you that sense of tranquility because of its freestyle melodies.

Blues music over time has inspired a lot of music lovers and artists to use their own style when it comes to composing songs and adding melodies to their music. Probably you haven’t noticed, most of the songs you hear nowadays incorporates blues music. Having said that, there is now a growing number of blues music enthusiasts. Who knows, sooner or later you might be joining them too.