My first question to my friend Brad Selko, promoter of the Hot August Blues Festival is “what year is this”? He laughs and says “21”. That alone speaks volumes as to what kind of event this is. The line-up, the venue, and the folks involved all make this one of the perennially great events of the summer. This year should be no exception. I ask Brad whats new?
B.S. “This year we’ve added a third stage and there are 15 acts including the performance artists Moth Poetic Circus.To keep a festival successful you constantly have to change and morph. That’s what we have tried to do. We have some amazing headliners in Grace Potter and Galactic and pretty much all genres are represented.”
TSI: “You have one of my favorite new bands on the bill. I think J.D. McPherson is an amazing performer.”
B.S. “Yes, I agree and that’s another example of another genre represented; Rockabilly. We also have Eddy Clearwater, who is either 75 or 80 and started out as a Rockabilly artist before turning to blues.”
TSI: “Tell me a bit about Antibalas.”
B.S. “Antibalas is a 12 piece band from Brooklyn who sound features a lot of world music influences. Again one more different flavor for the festival. We also have 4 Bluegrass bands this year and are featuring Greensky Bluegrass. I also have Boombox on the bill. They are a duo that features Keith Godchaux of the Dead’s son Zion Rock. Their sound has a Grateful Dead meets Electronica vibe.”
TSI: “Sounds awesome! You always promote local Baltimore and regional bands at your festival. Is there any hometown talent we should look out for this year?”
B.S. “Cara Kelly and The Tell Tale are a great young band. They are actually a combination of two bands and I feel you will be hearing more from them.”
Brad finishes our interview by saying that with the jugglers, face painters, and other performing artists he has created a kind of Circus atmosphere. Kind of like Cirque Du Hot August Blues I say. “Thats right”, he replies, “just like that.”
For tickets and more info go to the website www.hotaugustblues.com.