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Saturday, July 12: Tacoma Old Town Rhythm and Blues Festival

Old Town Tacoma

Steve Stefanowicz will kick-off the Tacoma Old Town Rhythm and Blues Festival free park shows with a bang at noon, Saturday, July 12. Photo courtesy of Facebook

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The Tacoma Old Town Rhythm and Blues Festival offers an eclectic show, staged in Old Town Park as well as The Spar and Slavonian Hall. The event kicks off at 9:30 a.m. with the traditional Bluesberry Pancake Breakfast, a flapjack feast that will feature acoustic folk and classic rock musician Rick Gonzales and percussionist Ike Sutton on the Slavonian Hall's first floor. Guitarist Steve Stefanowicz will lead the opening ceremonies at noon at nearby Old Town Park, kicking off an afternoon of free, family-friendly sets there with cheers from the adjacent beer garden. I can't stress enough the importance of being there exactly at noon. This year's opening will be a jaw-dropper.

Following Stefanowicz's set on the main stage in the park are Tacoma blues guitarist legend Little Bill; bushy-bearded, curly-haired ultra-talented singer-songwriter James Coates; B-3 jazz/blues trio ButterBean; blues rockers The Jr Hill Band; and veteran blues musicians James King and the South Siders wrapping up the park shows with Texas roadhouse blues at 6 p.m.

Tacoma's nine-piece R&B band The High Rollers will headline the evening showcase, which will start with an opening set by blues band Burnham Drive (hopefully with guitarist Tim Hall) at 8 p.m. upstairs at Slavonian Hall.

Over at The Spar, That's What She Said will take over at 8 p.m.

Read Ron Swarner's full feature on the Tacoma Old Town Rhythm and Blues Festival on our Walkie Talkie blog.

TACOMA OLD TOWN RHYTHM AND BLUES FESTIVAL, 9:30 a.m. to midnight, Old Town Tacoma, North 30th and McCarver, Tacoma, free admission during the day, $20 for evening shows, benefits, Permission To Start Dreaming Foundation, website


Here's the full lineup, with more details available at

Bluesberry Pancake Breakfast

9-11 a.m. Lower level of Slavonian Hall, 2306 N. 30th

Rick Gonzales and Ike Sutton

Tacoma Old Town Park, 2305 N. 30th

Noon to 12:45 p.m. Steve Stefanowicz

1-2:45 p.m. Little Bill

3-3:45 p.m. James Coates

4-4:45 p.m. ButterBean

5-5:45 p.m. The Jr Hill Band

6-7 p.m. James King and the South Siders

Evening Performances

>>> Main Stage Upstairs Slavonian Hall, 2306 N. 30th

8 p.m. to midnight The High Rollers

>>> Downstairs Stage Slavonian Hall

8 p.m. to midnight Burnham Drive

>>> The Spar Tavern, 2121 N. 30th

8 p.m. to midnight That's What She Said

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