Thursday, June 29, 2017 This Week's Paper

Singing the Blues

// Festival brings top performers together for good cause

Organizers of Tacoma’s Old Town Blues Festival will have their hands full this year.

The one-day blues extravaganza returns for the 19th year to bring the best of the Northwest to the streets of Tacoma.

On July 9, the community can enjoy great food, music and beer – while supporting a great cause. For the past seven years, proceeds from the event have gone to support the Breast Cancer Resource Center in Tacoma.

“This festival is actually a disguise,” organizer Ted Brown said. “We’re entertaining the public, but the money we generate goes to Breast Cancer Research Center.”

As a long-time music lover, Brown has enjoyed contributing to Tacoma’s growing music scene.

“We have a great group of local talent this year,” Brown said. “The good thing is we’ve always had a sunny day.”

The festival, which began small, has expanded over the years to incorporate more of the neighborhood.

The goal of the event has always been to attract local artists, and this year is no different. Attendees can enjoy a full menu of vibrant musical delights showcasing more than a dozen regional blues acts at four locations. Stages will be set up at The Spar, Mountaineers Hall, Old Town Park and at Slavonian Hall.

Giving back has been the main motivator for Brown and fellow organizer Mike Mitchell to keep the event going over the years.   

After being personally affected by cancer, Brown and Mitchell sought a creative way to give back to a charity supporting survivors. Mitchell is a survivor of prostate cancer, and Brown’s wife survived breast cancer. She also sought support and assistance from the Breast Cancer Resource Center.

“All the sudden, I felt compelled to help the women at the center,” Brown said. “This is a local street-level charity and they really need our support. They help women who fall through the cracks.”

The center has also offered support in making the festival a success, he added.

“It’s one of the first ever charities I’ve worked with that jump in and help.”

Tickets are $5 per set or $20 for an all-day pass to the Mountaineers Legends Stage, Slavonian Hall Stage and Spar Stage. Old Town Park Main Stage is free for all ages.

Tickets can be purchased at The Spar Tavern, The Parkway, Ted Brown Music and Metropolitan Market. For more information, visit