Blues bonanza 

This weekend is almost embarrassingly full of riches for southeastern Michigan blues fans.

Start with 12 smoked turkeys, a 150-pound roast hog, a dozen whole chickens and 60 pounds of chicken quarters. Add 150 pounds of hot dogs, hamburgers and sausages, four whole pork loins and four hams, 20 kegs of beer, more than 40 cases of pop and 20 cases of juice pouches. Blend in camping, door prizes and 18 of the area’s best blues bands, then let things cook all weekend. Whaddaya get? Heatstock 2003, a pay-one-price outdoor party Friday-Saturday, July 25-26, in Fostoria (in southern Tuscola County).

It’s the brainchild of Mike Boulan, who heads the Clawson-based No Cover Productions record label, and runs his own recording studio. He did the first Heatstock in 1995.

Such a bash involves serious cash — about $10,000 last year, according to Boulan, who says he broke even for the 2002 festivities.

Why work so hard and not make a dime?

“It’s something I always wanted to do,” says Boulan enthusiastically. “When I was just a kid, I went to these big family reunions where everything was there for you. I wanted to combine the aspects of a family reunion and a concert.”

There’s an altruistic motive too. “Up until last year, the bands played for free, and it wouldn’t be fair to them [for the festival] to make money,” Boulan says.

Eric Shaver, guitarist for Heatstock veterans Buck N’ The System, is grateful for Boulan’s attitude: “He’s one of the few guys around where the dollar isn’t the bottom line.” When asked to describe Heatstock, Shaver says, “It’s almost like a little mini-Woodstock, … a real relaxed type of deal,” appealing to a family audience as well as the hard-core blues fan.

Shaver’s group will be on the bill this weekend; others scheduled include Motor City Josh & The Big Three, Curtis Sumter, Maggie’s Farm, James Glass, R.J.’s Rhythm Rockers, Joe Weaver, Lucas and Jeff Grand.

Editor's note: Alberta Adams will not be performing.

Take I-75 to exit 81 (M-24, Lapeer Road). Go north about 40 miles to Otter Lake Road, then turn left and go west three miles to Fostoria Road. Turn right and go north three miles to the Firehouse Bar, then turn left and go one mile west to the festival site. Tickets for the weekend are $30 in advance, $40 at the festival and include food, drink and camping. RVs are welcome; there are 20 electrical hookups. Gates open at noon on Friday. Music starts at 6:30 p.m. Friday and 3:30 p.m. Saturday; campers may stay over Saturday night. Call 248-398-6877 for information.

Less of a drive is Saturday’s Motown Harley Taylor Blues Bash, at Heritage Park on Pardee Road between Northline and Goddard Roads. The hard-driving Tommy Castro headlines it; local acts include Thornetta Davis, Paz Man’s Detroit Super Session, Luther “Badman” Keith, Mudpuppy, and Chef Chris and his Nairobi Trio. Admission is $5, gates open at noon. Call 734-459-6969.

Prefer the clubs? Catch A.C. Reed & the Sparkplugs on Friday or Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets featuring Sam Myers, plus the Sunny Girl Band on Saturday at Tenny Street Roadhouse, 22361 West Village Drive, Dearborn; call 313-278-3677. See Joce’lyn B. and the Detroit Street Players both nights at George & Harry’s, 22048 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; call 313-359-2799. Or hit Music Menu at 511 Monroe St. in Greektown for John Sinclair and the Motor City Blues Scholars on Sunday, July 27; call 313-964-MENU.

Vic Doucette is the copy editor of Metro Times. E-mail vdoucette@metrotimes.com

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