Saturday, March 16, 11 a.m. at AJ’s Flat Iron Community Park
By Daniel Dullum
Talk about a road trip: look at The Shari Puorto Band’s itinerary leading to their appearance at the Superstition Blues, Brews and Arts Festival.
“The weekend before the festival, Shari is doing a two-night stand in Italy before coming to Apache Junction!” John Chavez, festival promoter and blues musician, said. “I’m all over that!”
The Blues, Brews and Arts Festival comes to Flat Iron Park on Saturday, March 16. The Shari Puorto Band headlines the event, along with an expanded selection of refreshments, food, and arts and crafts.
“We’re looking forward to a great festival,” Chavez said.
“Generally, we’ll always have a new lineup, being that my first love and the thing that got me into this is because I’m a blues musician myself,” Chavez said. “I’ve got to have a little fun with it once in a while.
“I take a few festivals off, but this is our 10th festival. I play here and there, but it’s usually a bunch of other bands all the time. Once in a while, I take a festival off just for my own sanity, because it’s a lot of work to run the festival and play at the same time.”
Chavez, whose band, JC & The Rockers, plays third in the order, offered a capsule of each of the other acts scheduled for the Superstition Blues, Brews and Arts Festival.
The Chris Hiatt Experience: “They’re an Arizona band, and Chris also does a tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughn. He brings in that real high energy Texas blues sound to the festival. It’s a national act that’s played in Las Vegas and in Europe.
Big Daddy D & The Dynamites: “They’ve been a favorite for about 15 years in northern and central Arizona. Darrell is the ‘Big Daddy D.’”
The Shari Puorto Band: “They’re a national blues act. Shari is a West Coast blues performer based out of Los Angeles who comes to Phoenix regularly. She’s the real deal.”
The venue is the same for the second straight year, but, there are some notable changes.
“Everything is bigger, better and more,” Chavez said. “Last year, we had one beer vendor with four varieties. This year, we have new beer sponsors (Handlebar Pub and Apache Greyhound Park) that are bringing in 30 Arizona craft beers on tap. It’s another nice way to showcase Arizona.”
Chavez said the festival will have a larger sound system, 50 arts and crafts vendors, and the number of food vendors has expanded to nine.
“And we have a few more arts and crafts vendors to round things out. A nice variety for men and women.”
Parking availability, Chavez said, will remain about the same.
“Last year, we didn’t have any parking issues,” Chavez said. “There are parking maps out there on the internet and our Facebook page. We have the Apache Junction Mounted Rangers directing parking to make sure everybody can get parked quickly and safely.
“And, there’s plenty of parking across from Flat Iron Park on the old Grand Avenue lot.”
Admission remains at $15, with children 12 and under admitted free.
“We wanted to keep it affordable. Some people just want to come out and enjoy the blues,” Chavez said. “Some people want to shop, some want to eat, some want to drink and some want to do all of the above.”
Even with inquiries about a second day, Chavez said that, for the time being, a one-day festival is sufficient.
“We had great responses, a great crowd, and we had people lined up looking for the festival the next day, even though it was only a one-day festival!” Chavez said. “That’s something we’d like to work towards.”
We are looking for folks to help with this event on March 16. We are projecting to have about 2,000 people in attendance. To help us make this successful, please sign up to greet people, help with wrist bands or assist with various things. Please see the sign up sheet at the Apache Junction Chamber of Commerce. Thank you in advance!
March 16 Schedule:
11:25 a.m.: National Anthem – Ray DeSylvester
11:30 a.m.: Chris Hiatt Experience
12:40 p.m.: Big Daddy D and the Dynamites
1:55 p.m.: JC & The Rockers
3:15 p.m.: Shari Puorto Band
Get your tickets online at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4028099
Photo above: The stage at last year’s Fest jumped to the beat of talented players from across the state.