Blues fans will be able to relish their favorite music for more than 13 hours at the second annual Costa Rica International Blues Fest, an outdoor concert and barbecue set for Feb. 7.
Initiated last year by Mo Ledezma of local blues band the Blues Devils, the festival will feature five Tico bands, four from the United States and one from Canada.
The headliner for the festival is U.S. performer Guitar Shorty from Houston, Texas, who has toured with legendary artists such as Ray Charles, Guitar Slim and Jimi Hendrix.
Other international acts include Sonny Boy Terry, The Road Dogs, Robbie Clark and the Live Wire Blues Band and V & the Wholly Cats.
The concert will be held outdoors at the private Club Cubano in the western San José suburb of Guachipelín de Escazú, and will run all day and evening, from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Event organizers say the barbecues will be firing and the cold beer flowing all day long.
Last year’s event drew about 500 people, about evenly divided among Costa Ricans and foreigners, Ledezma said. This year he hopes to attract at least 1,000, though the venue can accommodate up to 3,000 people.
“This year there are more international acts, and the number of sponsors is growing, so we can offer a better product,” Ledezma said.
The U.S.-born Ledezma, 38, moved to Costa Rica when he 5 years old. Though he moved between the two countries for much of his life, he has resided here permanently since 2003. He said his nostalgia for blues festivals back in the United States inspired him to start this event.
“Like a lot of Americans who live in this country, I missed the blues fests from the U.S., with the whole concept of the fest: outdoor show, good barbecue, cold beer and of course the music,” Ledezma said.
In addition to Ledezma’s Blues Devils, national acts will include Calacas Blues, 3 for Blues, the Known Associates and The Blind Pig Blues Band, which, with more than 10 years of history, is the oldest blues band in the country.
Though blues may not be the most popular music genre here, enough people are interested to keep Ledezma’s band playing in venues at least once a week and to have an annual festival. He hopes interest will continue to grow and wants to bring the festival to the beach next year, possibly with one event in San José and another in a beach community.
“This is a long-term project,” Ledezma said. “We would like this event to become one of the top blues fests in the world.”
Tickets are $30 at the door or $25 if bought in advance at any of 17 locations in San José, Escazú and Santa Ana. For the list of locations or for more information about the festival, visit www.crbluesfest.com or call Ledezma at 8872-8539.n