Blues & Brews Fest Brings It Down Home

By Daniel Dullum

For six hours on an overcast, but pleasant Saturday afternoon, blues fans filled Flatiron Community Park to near capacity to enjoy the second annual Superstition Blues & Brews Festival – and the first one at Flatiron.

John Chavez

Promoter John Chavez didn’t have a precise count for attendance, but noted, “It definitely exceeded my expectations. We had a large crowd, plenty of parking. Folks told us they want ‘more, more and more.’ They even asked about having another day, extending the hours and a huge selection of craft beers available.

“People just seemed to have a great time.”

Music fans danced and listened to JC & the Juke Rockers, Glenville Slim’s Juke Joint Blues Show (pictured above), Smokestack Lightning, Big Nick & the Gila Monsters and Cold Schott & Hurricane Horns.

“It was nice to see everybody come together,” Chavez said. “It was a well-behaved crowd, there to enjoy the music and enjoy the beautiful Arizona weather with the backdrop that Apache Junction provides.

“Some people thought we’d already outgrown the park, but I think we can just make some adjustments with how we arrange things. But I know some people hung around some of the businesses and the owners saw some overflow.”

Chavez said the bands all “had a great time,” and many of the vendors told him “it was one of the best events they’d ever worked.” Talk of possibly expanding the event has already started.

“As a blues community, we were all glad to see more festivals come to town,” Chavez said. “Everybody agrees that Apache Junction has huge potential for festivals like this. We think this can become a multiple-day event, and we’ll work on that.

“Maybe we can extend it into the evening hours, and work on some after-events where the entertainment can continue on into the evening, fill up the motel rooms and bring everybody down to Apache Junction, go to the lake for the weekend, hike the trails, go to the mines, whatever. Then have a Saturday-Sunday blues fest.”

For now, Chavez said the immediate goal is to build and grow the festival year-by-year, organizing an event “that everyone can be proud of.”

“It just seems there’s a great demand for this combination of things – blues, the arts,” Chavez said. “Between the Chamber of Commerce, AJ Parks & Recreation and us, we’ve decided to bring it back again next year, see what we can do to make some improvements and grow this into something like the Telluride (CO) Blues Festival, which is huge. People come to Telluride from all over the world.

“That would be my goal: To see that happen for the Superstition Blues & Brews – for people to come from all over the world for a two-day festival, hang out in all the great amenities around town. Then come out for a festival with the Superstition Mountains as a backdrop.”

Chavez also wanted to give a shout out to The Apache Junction/Gold Canyon News (an event sponsor). “I know it was something that the founder of the paper, Ed Barker, would have enjoyed, and hopefully, he had the best view of everyone.”

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