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PHOTOS: Grinding out the blues over the weekend, Barrio Amón ‘felt like New Orleans’

August 23, 2014

Scores of music fans flooded the Amón Solar building in San José’s Barrio Amón last Friday to celebrate the International Blues Festival. Craft beer poured liberally, gourmet dishes emerged on decorative butcher blocks, conversation filled the foyer – and when the bands started to play, guests danced and whistled madly. The lineup was astonishing Tico outfit MG & The Blues Burners (featuring former Culture Minister Manuel Obregón). The night culminated in a headliner performance by Steve Arvey, who played the main stage with a cadre of mostly Costa Rican musicians.

“It’s a little crazy,” said organizer and Blind Pigs founder David Scott. “But if you go downstairs, you’ll find El Sótano, which means ‘the basement.’ It’s literally a basement. But when you’re down there, you feel like you could be in New York or New Orleans. It’s wonderful.”

Indeed, the tiny room of El Sótano was so packed with people that some guests perched in the stairwell, bending necks to catch a glance of acoustic musicians like Navil Garcia.

While the two-night festival ended last night, Amón Solar will continue to sing the blues, thanks to a musician’s workshop on Sunday afternoon, led by Arvey. With any luck, there’ll be a reprise next year.

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