The large tent echoing with soulful sound from the parking lot behind Blue Talon Bistro drew curious glances from passers-by, but those inside the tent knew exactly why they were there.
“You wouldn’t think people would want to get up this early and party,” said Jackie Scott, lead vocalist of Jackie Scott and The Housewreckers. “Looks like they do.”
In fact, the Winter Blues Jazz Festival tent was packed early Saturday afternoon for Barrel-Aged Blues, a joyful blues- and beer-fueled party and one of 10 events presented this weekend at CultureFix’s Winter Blues Jazz Fest.
In its third year, the festival welcomed Jackie Scott and The Housewreckers, a blues- and gospel-influenced band based in Hampton Roads, for the first time.
“Hopefully, it won’t be our last time,” Scott said in between sets.
With stages at both ends of the tent, the music never stopped--as soon as Scott’s band finished at one end, the Michael Clark Band started right up at the opposite end.
As the musical back-and-forth continued throughout the afternoon, festival-goers sampled barrel-aged craft beers from 20 breweries around the state, including Williamsburg’s own breweries.
“It’s an amazing way to bring all those things together,” said Debbie Downs.
Downs danced by the front of the stage as the Michael Clark Band, another regional blues favorite, got the crowd moving.
Jennifer Raines, one of the founders of the festival, said 1,621 tickets had been sold as of Saturday afternoon. Every event leading up to Barrel-Aged Blues had sold out, she said, and several more still remained.
“It’s just cool to see people enjoying it,” said Raines, who will often stand near the front of the stage and look out across the crowd.
“All different ages, races, old, young, and everything in between, and they're all loving it,” she said.
Here are some Winter Blues Jazz Fest events you can still check out:
- Mixology and Music — Headlining event features mixology cocktail sampling and a performance from The Swing Ninjas. 7-11 p.m., Jan. 14. Williamsburg Lodge, 310 S. England St. $70.
- Free Community Jazz Concert — The Triple Crossing Project finishes the weekend off with a free performance at Williamsburg Winery's tasting room and wine bar. 2-5 p.m., Jan. 15. 110 S. Henry St.
For more information, visit winterbluesjazzfest.com.
Bridges can be reached by phone at 757-345-2342.