Live Music Lou Weekly Preview: Garvin Gate Blues Festival

This weekend, for the 21st year, the Garvin Gate Blues Festival will be closing down Oak Street and Garvin Place for some blues magic. This Old Louisville fall staple clearly has staying power.

Image result for garvin gate

Besides the delicious street food and arts vendors, this year’s lineup includes Hector Anchondo BandMr. Sipp, The Mississippi Blues ChildKaren Lovely and Mark Telesca.

We spoke with event organizers Mike Suttles and Howard Rosenberg about this weekend and the DNA of The Garvin Gate Blues Festival.

Check out the full schedule of acts here!

Live Music Lou: With so many fall festivals taking place this time of year, what makes Garvin Gate different? It’s evident that Louisvillians are on board, since they keep coming out year after year. What’s the biggest draw for the crowds?

Mike Suttles: There are two things that keep people coming back and attracting new fans.  First and foremost is the music.  We offer every year the best the blues has to offer, both local and national artists.  That being said, it’s the vibe  that the fest has.  Garvin Gate, by far, draws the most diverse crowd of any fest in town.  In my long experience as a fest goer, it offers the most diverse crowd of any fest I’ve attended.  People from all walks of life come together to listen to music that touches all of us.  The crowd is a true microcosm of our city.

LML: You all are paired with local charities. How did these connections and what does that add to the event?

Howard Rosenberg: This year one of the beneficiaries is WAVE TV News Person Dawn Gee’s A Recipe to End Hunger.

Side note: A Recipe to End Hunger is a local organization focused on providing secure, healthy meals for Kentuckiana youth. 

LML: Innovation and creativity are central in this Louisville music scene. How does Garvin Gate Festival fit in and keep up with this?

MS: Anytime you have music you have creativity and innovation.  It’s at the heart of music.  The artists are always striving to keep the blues fresh, that’s where the creativity and innovation come in.  Different nuances, different influences.  It’s the combination of the creativity and innovation married with the old keeping the blues important, vital.

LML: Sort of along those same lines, what went into the process of curating the lineup for this year’s festival?

MS: The lineup is a mix of the old with the new.  I’ve tried to honor the history of the blues with veteran acts and the contemporary age with newer, younger acts.  We’ve got bands that have played the blues for 30 some odd years and we’ve got acts that are in their late 20’s, early 30’s who are helping keep the genre alive.  It’s working towards having music that will appeal to everyone.

This Saturday has turned out to be a BEAUTIFUL day, so why not wander down Oak Street and check out some blues!

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