Best Bets: Blues at Bayfront, a ’90s Flashback, and Bue Plays Chester Bowl

By Christa Lawler, Duluth News Tribune

Bayfront gets the blues

More than 30 acts — ranging from regional players to Billboard charters to a living-breathing actor you will recognize — will perform during the 29th annual Bayfront Blues Festival. The two-stage, three-day fest starts Friday at Bayfront Festival Park.

If past years are any indication, expect to see soul-squeezing sounds in the acoustic tent, guitar heroes on the mainstage, and a heckuva lot of fanfare in between. Some of the highlights include Robert Randolph & The Family Band, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Crow and Ana Popovic. A few things to know: You’ll want to bring a flag to properly mark your territory — or a bra, some people use bras — and the festival uses its own form of currency.

For the second year, the after-party is in the park. The Jimmys play at 9:45 p.m. Friday, and Shannon Curfman plays at 9:45 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $5 and entry is allowed after 9 p.m. for those who don’t have tickets for bluesfest.

Bayfront Blues Festival is Aug. 11-13 at Bayfront Festival Park. Tickets: Start at $50 for a day pass. Go to bayfrontblues.com for more info.

Alexis P. Suter is among the highlights of the 20th annual Bayfront Blues Festival. The Brooklyn-based artist plays Friday on the mainstage and is a newbie to the fest. Photo by Bob Schultz Photography.

Wayback machine: The ’90s revisited

The big question: Will Spinderella cut it up one time when the I Love the ’90s Tour makes a stop Friday at Black Bear Casino Resort. The lineup for the nostalgia concert includes Vanilla Ice, Salt N Pepa, Kid N Play, Coolio, All 4 One, Color Me Badd, Tone Loc, Kool Moe Dee, Rob Base and Young MC. Expect to hear songs like “Let’s Talk About Sex,” “Ice Ice Baby” and “Funky Cold Medina.”

I Love the ’90s Tour plays at 7 p.m. Aug. 11 at Black Bear Resort Casino Resort, 1785 Hwy. 210, Carlton. Tickets: Start at $60, available at blackbearcasinoresort.com.

Art + scenic vistas

More than 40 artists from Duluth and beyond will be featured at the uber-scenic annual Art Festival at Brighton Beach on Saturday, quite literally on the shore.

Featured artist include watercolorist Nikki Johnson; Linda Berg, author of “The Kissing Pot” book; felted purse artist Patty Salo Downs; Husby pottery; landscape photographer Ryan Tischer; acrylic painter Claudia Faith — fresh from a Best of Show award at the Park Point Art Fair.

Art at Brighton Beach is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 12 at Brighton Beach. Free, open to the public.

Share your stuff

It’s time to get confessional. The monthly Moth-like event Gag Me With a Spoon has featured storytellers — this month it’s Tiny Desk Contest victor Gaelynn Lea and writer Anna Tennis. There is also the chance for audience members to share stories, poems, journal entries. Events are hosted by Adeline Wright, and music is by Blake Thomas of “Take it With You” podcast.

Gag Me with a Spoon is at 7 p.m. Aug. 13 at Blacklist Artisan Ales, 120 E. Superior St. Free, open to the public.

Mary Bue plays Tuesday at Chester Bowl. 2015 file / News Tribune

Bue plays Chester Bowl

Former Duluth rocker Mary Bue returns for a concert Tuesday at Chester Bowl, part of the Chester Park Concert Series. Bue is fresh from an artist residency in New Mexico and the release of her EP “The Majesty of Beasts.” The short-but-sweet album includes a specially phrased goodbye to Duluth and “Petty Misdemeanor,” a driving, wrenching song about sexual assault.

Mary Bue plays at 7 p.m. Aug. 15 at Chester Bowl. Free, open to the public.

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