By LUANNE PUCCI
Music festivals are always so much fun no matter the season, and there’s nothing more warming than gathering with friends and neighbours at local pubs on a winter weekend, to enjoy the sweet sounds of the blues.
For two great nights on Friday, Feb. 22 and Saturday, Feb. 23, the fourth annual Cold Weather Blues Fest (CWB4) will take place at various bars and restaurants in the Beach, and admission is free.
Since 2016, this community-organized event showcases authentic grassroots blues, bringing in big name musicians to Beach venues.
The area’s pubs and restaurants have come together to host a variety of red-hot local musicians and performers that include the likes of Juno Award winner Paul Reddick, Maple Blues nominee Jenie Thai, Sugar Brown, Danny Marks, and many more celebrated artists.
In the dead of winter the Beach comes alive with crowds of music lovers walking and dancing their way to each venue.
CWB4 is sure to be a blast, with this year’s lineup as exciting and ‘gotta go’ inducing as ever.
Thanks to the efforts of organizers Carlos Lopes, Anthony Greene, Geoff Burpee and Frank Stanschus, along with this year’s sponsor, Steam Whistle Brewery, the focus was to boost Beach businesses by creating a free music festival the community could enjoy, and attract visitors to the area in the winter.
Music fans are invited to throw on a toque and their dancing boots this weekend and come on out to enjoy the festival at the following venues:
Murphy’s Law, 1702 Queen St. E., 10 p.m. – 2 a.m., featuring Jenie Thai on Feb. 22, and Sugar Brown on Feb. 23.
Breakwall BBQ & Smokehouse, 1910 Queen St. E., 8 p.m. – midnight, featuring Clint Ryan with Rob Sager and Friends on both Feb. 22 and 23.
The Gull and Firkin, 1943 Queen St. E., 9 p.m. – midnight featuring the Kalyna Rakel Trio on Feb. 22 and 23.
The Stone Lion, 1958 Queen St. E., 10 p.m – 1 a.m. on Feb. 22 only featuring the Fraser Melvin Trio.
Salty Dog Bar and Grill, 1980 Queen St. E., featuring the Friday Night Blues Jam, on Feb. 22 from 9:30 p.m. – 1:30 a.m.; and the Paul Reddik Trio on Feb. 23 from 10 p.m. – 1:30 a.m.
Castro’s Lounge, 2116 Queen St. E., from 9 p.m. – 11 p.m., featuring Alfie Smith on Feb. 22, and John Dickie & Steve Hunter on Feb. 23.
Corks & Platters Wine Bar, 2220A Queen St. E., from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. featuring Paul Jones on both Feb. 22 and 23.
Outrigger, 2232 Queen St. E., from 8 p.m. – 11 p.m., featuring John Dickie & Steve Hunter on Feb. 22, and Julian Fauth & Ken Yoshioka on Feb. 23.
Balmy Beach Club, 360 Lake Front at foot of Beech Avenue, from 8 p.m. – midnight, featuring Errol Fisher on Feb. 23 only.
The Grover Pub & Grub, 676 Kingston Rd., from 9 p.m. – midnight, featuring Steve Grisbrook on Feb. 22, and Danny Marks & Alec Fraser on Feb. 23.
For more information, please visit www.coldweatherbluesfest.com