August 21, 2008

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Got the too-many-brews-to-choose-from blues
Blues N Brews Festival offers hot music with your pale ale
By Brian Early bearly@hippopress.com

If drinking a wide variety of beers while listening to blues on a Saturday at the edge of a ski slope sounds like a good time to you, then the Blues N Brews Festival might be your thing.

This Saturday, Aug. 23, is the seventh annual Blues N Brews at Nashoba Valley Ski Area in Westford, Mass., about 20 minutes south of Nashua. Six blues bands play from 11 a.m. into the evening to raise money for charity, sponsored by the Westford Rotary Club and the Boston Blues Society

In the past, the festival has had more than 100 different brews for patrons’ tasting pleasure.

“It will be more than people can sample,” said Kathi Duprey, a Westford Rotary member and co-founder of the Brews N Blues Festival. “You get a lot of quality music and quality beer, and it’s a wicked fun event.”

There’s even a gate performer to serenade those coming into the festival in the morning. Rackey Thomas, who played at the event last year with his full band, will play an acoustic set by the will-call window at the ticket office.

Jason James and the Bay State Houserockers take the stage at 12:30 p.m.; Ottomatic Slim at 1:35 p.m.; the Bruce Marshall Group at 3 p.m.; The Love Dogs at 4:05 p.m. and Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters headline the show at 5:30 p.m.

It’s unclear how many breweries will participate this year, but last year there were nearly 30. Tickets, which cost $30 in advance and $35 at the gate, include 10 beverage-tasting tickets. There are also a limited number of VIP tickets available, which allow patrons to eat food with the band members.

The event, which raised more than $35,000 for a variety of charities last year, also has different raffles, including a Lee Oskar harmonica signed by Dan Aykroyd. There will be a replica Blues Brothers mobile as well as a Blues Brothers lookalike character, though it won’t be Aykroyd. There are also raffles for those who bring non-perishable food items that will be donated to the Merrimack Valley Food Bank — one raffle ticket per item.

There will be one special guest for the event, though Duprey is “not allowed to tell you who it is. It’s a special treat.”

Parking shouldn’t be an issue, as there are 3,000 parking spaces. The chairlifts, unfortunately, will not be in operation.


Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters. Courtesy photo.

Brews N Blues Festival
When: Saturday, Aug. 23, from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Where: Nashoba Valley Ski Area, 79 Powers Road, Westford, Mass.
Tickets: $30 in advance, $35 at the gate. (978)692-3033, www.brewsnblues.com.