Blues, Brews and BBQ Festival celebrates music, food in June for 4th year in a row

The fourth annual Urbana Blues, Brews and BBQ Festival will be held again this summer near West Main Street.

The family-friendly festival will take place on Friday, June 24 and Saturday, June 25, rain or shine. Fluid Events, a Champaign-based company that specializes in planning parties, showers and nonprofit events, will host the festival.

The festivities will start Friday at 5 p.m. and continue until 2 a.m. On Saturday, the festival will open at noon and last until 2 a.m.

In past years, the festival has attracted over 25,000 people. Veronica McDuffee, Fluid Events employee, said they are planning on attracting a similar crowd this year. She added that the festival draws people from surrounding areas.

“We typically get around 10,000 out-of-town visitors,” she said.

Those who attend can expect plenty of live music and food. There will be three separate stages, each with a different musical act. One of the stages will be held at 88 Broadway, in Urbana’s Lincoln Square Mall.

Some of the musical acts include Guitar Shorty, and Coco Montoya. McDuffee said music is one of the event’s biggest draws.

“It’s a huge festival to be able to see the artists that we have for free,” McDuffee said.

Aside from plenty of live music, festivalgoers can expect a wide range of BBQ favorites. There will be fourteen vendors at the festival, all local businesses. Some of the vendors include Li’l Porgy’s Bar-B-Q, Hickory River Smokehouse and Holy Smoke Barbecue.

There will also be several cooking demonstrations performed by local BBQ experts, located at the “cooking demo stage.” There will also be booths featuring summer specialities like lemonade, snow cone and ice cream booths.

Sandi Kieser, sophomore in LAS, said she looks forward to the food at the festival each year.

“My family and I have been coming to the festival for several years now,” she said. “There’s so many different places to try, and I never leave on an empty stomach.”

Kieser added that she likes the family-friendly atmosphere of the festival.

“There’s just so much to do,” she said. “There’s seriously something for my entire family to enjoy, from the music, to the food, and even the arts and crafts booths.”

Admission to the Blues Brews and BBQ festival is free, though a small entry donation is encouraged. There are also 60 VIP passes available for purchase. These passes include a limited edition festival poster, a festival T-shirt, two free meals and two free drink tickets.