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Blues is back

NORTH LIBERTY– It’s back on.
The fifth annual Liberty Centre Blues & BBQ festival that was cancelled May 29 due to heavy thunderstorms and damaging winds has been rescheduled for Saturday, July 23, from 12. to 10 p.m. at Liberty Centre in North Liberty.
Event organizers have been busy talking with vendors, band members, volunteers and suppliers to reschedule a date that works for the majority of those involved. The event will take place nearly as originally planned, but with one major change in the musical line-up. The Ellis Kell Band, a Quad Cities favorite for more than 20 years who has shared the stage with musical greats such as B.B. King, Robert Cray, Willie Nelson, Etta James and many others, will step in for the previously-scheduled Avey Brothers.
The free, family-oriented festival still includes kids’ games and inflatable rides, a petting zoo, kids’ fishing, a barbecue contest, beverage garden and sizzling hot barbecue, cold treats and other great food offered for purchase by local vendors. Free fireworks begin at 9:45.
As one of the event’s premier sponsors, the North Liberty City Council was asked at its meeting Tuesday, June 14, for a $12,000 loan to the festival’s planning committee, funds that will be used to pay up-front costs lost in last month’s initial set-up, including rentals for tents, tables and chairs and toilets, among other expenses. The council unanimously approved the amount.
Blues & BBQ committee co-chair Dave Moore told the council the committee plans to pay back the $12,000 through proceeds of this year’s event, and will ask for less in city contributions next year if necessary, to return the full amount to the city.
On May 29, volunteers and committee members were in the process of final set-up for the day’s event when storms blew through the area and damaged tents, tipped over portable toilets and brought standing water to the grassy field in front of the stage area as well as where children’s games were to be set up.
“We have always said the event will be held rain or shine,” Moore said, “but we didn’t expect storms like this.”
Now, the Blues & BBQ planning committee hopes the July re-do will allow more people to attend who might have been involved with graduation parties and other May commitments.
So get set; it’s about one month away from one day, one party, one cool time.