Fleetwood Blues Festival celebrates 10th anniversary at new location, Kutztown Park, Aug. 16

Roxanne Richardson - Berks-Mont archive photo Area Blues bands return for the 10th annual Fleetwood Blues Festival at its new location this year at Kutztown Park, Aug. 18.

The 10th Annual Fleetwood Blues Festival will be presented at a new location, Kutztown Park, on Aug. 16 from noon to 8 p.m.

The event, previously hosted in Fleetwood, was started nine years ago by Keith and Beckey VanEtten and is now presented in association with 2nd Story Blues Alliance.

“My husband Keith Vanetten, who is a 50-year veteran musician, wanted to organize a free event that would help people learn about and understand the Blues genre of music while making a monetary donation to the community to be used to provide events for children and families that were free or limited cost to the families as well as to expose the children to music,” Beckey VanEtten told The Patriot.

According to a March Patriot article “Fleetwood Blues Fest moves to Kutztown,” “There was a difference between the VanEtten’s vision for the festival and the Fleetwood Recreation Board’s vision. According to both Beckey VanEtten and Chris Young, a member of the Fleetwood Borough Council and Recreation Board, both sides reached a mutual and amicable agreement to part ways.”

In a March 2015, according to the Patriot article, Kutztown Community Partnership and Second Story Blues Alliance proposed holding the event at Kutztown Park. Kutztown Borough Council unanimously passed a motion on March 17.

The VanEttens are looking forward to the new location for the festival.

“We’re looking forward to seeing our seasoned fans as well as some new fans. The move to Kutztown also gives us the opportunity to grow as we are in a larger area than before,” said Beckey.

This year’s event marks the festival’s 10th anniversary. To celebrate they will be awarding the First Fan Award to a fan that is not one of their volunteer staff but has done something special for the festival.

Performing at this year’s Fleetwood Blues Festival are some Blues bands from Berks, Lehigh, Schuylkill, Montgomery and Bucks counties. The 2015 line-up includes Blue Plate Specials, Rockman Blues Band, Pawn Shop Bound, Blues City Blues Band, Sterling Koch Band, Friars Point Band, James Supra Blues Band, and Scoville Blues Band.

There also will be games and activities for children, food vendors, guitar raffles, to name a few.

“The favorite part of the event for my husband and I is to see all the people relaxing, dancing, having fun with family and friends at a free event that our family organized and managed for nine years!” said Beckey. “The fans are great!”

The VanEttens would like to give a “special thanks and recognition to 2nd Story Blues Alliance, a non-profit locally based organization who reached out to us for partnership to keep the festival going.”

“That was the most heart-warming offer for us because we did not have the resources necessary to keep the festival going,” said Beckey.

According to the Alliance website http://www.2sba.org/, “Second Story Blues Alliance (2SBA), located in the Lehigh Valley, is a member-only, 501c3 private non-profit organization for professionals in the Blues industry that support artists in their efforts to achieve their goals and to educate members about Blues as an art form, its history, resources and news. 2SBA conducts an International Blues Competition (IBC) competition each year as part of our Blues Foundation membership.”

All proceeds from this year’s event will go to community outreach programs sponsored by 2nd Story Blues Alliance.

Food and non-food vendors space is still available. Anyone interested should contact Beckey at vanettenb@gmail.com.

For more information on the Fleetwood Blues Festival at Kutztown Park go to www.2sba.org or find on Facebook at www.facebook.com/events/1167235869969083/.

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