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Originally published Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 4:44 PM

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A good month for blues fans to open their ears, hearts and wallets

Washington has blues festivals from Kalama to Granite Falls on Saturday, and here are two more to mark on the August calendar for good causes.

Times editorial columnist

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Thanks for this Lance! I'm relatively new to Seattle and still exploring, but hadn't... MORE
Nice article ! thanks for the support! Blues and Roots music is the best kept secret... MORE
Nice article. Thanks for getting the word out about some great events. Don't forget... MORE


August is a great month for good things to happen on a diatonic major scale. Yes, a 12-bar progression that can help feed people and even teach music to school kids.

Listening to the blues will not cure all of humanity’s troubles, but it turns out one can do well by others while having a good time.

I was reminded of this at the Washington Blues Society’s monthly Blues Bash, an every-second-Tuesday gathering at the Red Crane Restaurant in Shoreline.

The friendly, no-cover-charge event featured Keith Scott, a solo Midwest bluesman who comfortably commanded the stage with guitar and harmonica, and The Crazy Texas Gypsies, a stunning blues-rock quartet.

The blues society, with 1,100 dues-paying members, organizes the event, and musicians donate their talents.

In between the two sets, patrons were greeted by blues society vice president Tony Frederickson, and co-director of music Janice Cleven Gage. She hosts The Blues Note, Wednesday nights, on KSVR, 91.7 FM, in Mount Vernon.

They in turn welcomed Steve Swank and Tony Hettler of the Rotary Club of Des Moines, who invited everyone to the club’s 4th annual Poverty Bay Blues & Brews Fest. The age 21-or-older event is from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24 at Des Moines Beach Park.

Proceeds support the Highline Music4Life program that helps buy and maintain hundreds of musical instruments for elementary school students in Highline Public Schools.

Eleven brewers and a cider maker will ply their wares, and four blues bands will entertain. Tickets are $25 in advance, and $30 at the gate. Two dozen community sponsors help make the festival happen.

Check out to see how one civic group is helping support the next generation of musicians.

August is a rich harvest of blues festivals. The seeds for a verdant patch of great music in support of a worthy cause were planted in 2007 by Deb Rock. The community garden coordinator launched the Blues for Food Fest at the Magnuson Park Amphitheater.

The event runs from noon to 9 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 31, at 7400 Sand Point Way N.E. The amphitheater is behind the brig on the former naval air station.

The day is packed with talent, including two touring bands — and welcome back Polly O’Keary — plus lots of stuff for kids to do. Yes, there is a beer tent and free parking. Details at

Proceeds support community garden projects that provide literally tons of fresh produce via Seattle’s Giving Garden Network. Donations of fresh and nonperishable food items are welcome, and will be shared with local food banks.

Coordinators Rock and Jude Berman are expecting 1,000 blues fans, who will be arriving by bike, boat, bus and car. All are helping to set the tables of hungry families with good food. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.

Another noteworthy event happens in August, indeed this Sunday. The Rev. David Brown celebrates his birthday, the same day as his third-Sunday-of-the-month Blues Vespers at Tacoma’s Immanuel Presbyterian Church.

Brown has provided a sanctuary for the blues for years. The 5 p.m. gatherings feature top blues players, a generous amount of hospitality and a closing blessing.

An august month. Blues fans opening their hearts, wallets and doors for others. The sky is crying, for joy.

Lance Dickie's column appears regularly on editorial pages of The Times. His email address is

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