Longtime blues greats Delbert McClinton and Buddy Guy — whose latest album, Born to Play Guitar, remains No. 1 on the Billboard Blues Albums chart — are among the headliner acts who will keep the party going this weekend at the Bedford Blues & BBQ Festival.
The festival, which drew about 20,000 people last year, organizers say, kicks off the Labor Day weekend at 6 p.m. Friday and concludes Sunday night at 1951 L. Don Dodson Drive, across from City Hall. Tickets are $7 online or $10 (cash only) at the gate.
While the music and the food will be hot, the weather should be bearable. Forecasters call for partly cloudy to mostly sunny skies with daytime highs around 96.
Festival spokesman Bob Hill said there will be a little something for everyone, from vendors selling art and other items to musicians playing on two stages. Reserved and preferred seating is available online only.
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20,000 Approximate attendance for the festival in 2014
Hill, who has been involved with the festival since it began in 1999 as a free one-day event, said every year is different.
“It has come a long way,” he said. “One of the best things about it is that this is a family-friendly festival.”
What festivalgoers need to know about this year’s event:
Delbert McClinton performs at 9:15 p.m. Saturday and Buddy Guy at 9:15 p.m. Sunday.
McClinton is getting back to his roots — he spent his teenage years learning from blues legends at Fort Worth-area clubs — when he performs on the main stage at 9:15 p.m. Saturday.
Guy takes the main stage at 9:15 p.m. Sunday in the festival finale. Ruthie Foster, who grew up near Hearne and went to community college in Waco, precedes him at 7 p.m.
The second stage will feature local acts.
Cooks from amateurs to professionals will vie for bragging rights and cash prizes.
▪ The second annual Foreman’s Backyard BBQ Battle is Friday. Contestants will cook their best ribs or chicken for a chance to win a $100 grand prize. Festivalgoers who want to judge the event can buy a $15 ticket that includes festival admission.
▪ A Steak Cookoff Association burger and steak contest is Saturday. Those interested in learning to be a judge for the event can take a class from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday.
▪ The People’s Choice Event runs from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday and costs $12 for 10 tickets — each good for one sample — and two poker chips. Participants vote by leaving the poker chips with the teams that cooked their favorites.
The Kansas City Barbeque Society cook-off is a mainstay at the bluesfest, and 72 professional competitors will vie for more than $12,000 in prize money. Official judging takes place Sunday morning. The public Battle of the BBQ judging is 3-5 p.m. Sunday and follows the same process as the People’s Choice Event — $12 for 10 tickets and two poker chips.
If you go
The Bedford Blues & BBQ Festival is Friday though Sunday at 1951 L. Don Dodson Drive, across from City Hall.
▪ Hours: 6-10 p.m. Friday and 2-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
▪ No pets or coolers are allowed, but festivalgoers can bring lawn chairs and blankets.
▪ General admission: $7 if purchased online or $10 (cash only) at the gate.
▪ $15 parking available online, $20 the day of the event. $10 parking is available at the Bedford Public Library, 2424 Forest Ridge Drive, and the Old Bedford School, 2400 School Lane. Motorcycle riders can get free parking Friday night.