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Blues for Food is back and bigger than ever

After a two-year absence, the Sault Blues Society is bringing back the popular Blues for Food event to the community

Blues for Food is a special fundraising concert held at the Water Tower Pub in support of the Soup Kitchen and St. Vincent Place.

Over the past few years, the COVID-19 pandemic put a spotlight on issues of food insecurity in Canada and the rest of the world.

Johnnie Tibbles, president of the Sault Blues Society, notes that support for local programs and facilities that provide food, supplies and shelter for our community’s most vulnerable is needed now more than ever.  

“The demand for food at local food banks continues to grow across Canada,” says Tibbles.

“CBC News recently reported that food banks and shelters are going through food at double the rate than they did in the past. So we are pleased to be putting this event on again to support the Soup Kitchen and St. Vincent Place.”

The last time Blues for Food event was able to take place was in 2019.

“Blues for Food celebrated it’s 10th anniversary back in 2019 which was the last time we were able to hold it due to the pandemic. This was an event that then local musician Rusty McCarthy developed and ran for those first ten years with support from the Sault Blues Society,” says Tibbles.

“Although Rusty lives out of town now, he reached out and actually initiated the relaunch of the Blues for Food. So, this is first year the Blues Society is fully running it.”

The two-day event is scheduled to take place on Friday, Dec. 9 and Saturday, Dec. 10.

More than 20 local artists will be performing over the two nights.

On Friday night, the house band will be local musicians Jay Case, Frank Deresti, Josh Norling and Chris Johns.

Guests joining the band on Friday will be Brandon Ruch, Catherine Taddo, Shirley Kominos, Liam Seymour, Bill Priddle and Val Powley.

Powley is happy to be participating in the event.

“I feel that everyone should always give what they can for the betterment of any person's well being,’ she says.  

“I personally have been in many situations of need where if it wasn't for the kindness of others I may not be wearing the shoes I am today.”

Powley notes that she believes that talent is truly a gift “to be shared.”

“The lineup is truly a bunch of like minded individuals that I have had the pleasure of sharing a stage with in other venues,” she says.

“They are a bunch of great musicians with huge hearts that love what they do and give their all on and off stage. Their biggest talent is their ability to share themselves with others. There are a lot of really great people still giving and caring about others.”

Paul DellaVedova, whose band The Dell Bros will be the house band for the Saturday line-up, agrees with Powley. 

“I’m very proud to have been a part of this fund raiser since the early days,” says DellaVedova.

“It’s always been a well attended event for such a great cause. With rising food prices, this year more than past years, may be the most important Blues for Food yet.”

DellaVedova notes the bands for both nights will hit the stage at 8 p.m.

“This year we have my brother Rick DellaVedova on drums and vocals, Gerry Busa on bass guitar as well as yours truly on lead guitar and vocals.”

Joining the Dell Bros on stage will be guests Al Davis, Colin Nelson, Keith Hill, Mike McDonald and Mike Yurich.

“We have a fantastic lineup of special guests for the night that plan to tear it up for everyone.”

Mike McDonald and Keith Hill are both relatively new to the community, but not to the performing stage.

McDonald is a well-loved songwriter, producer and musician who is well-known in the Kitchener area for his Monster Jams.

Keith Hill is another established, singer, songwriter and touring musician who has performed for a variety of artists and opened for acts like Savoy Brown and the Powder Blues band.

Blues for Food is being hosted by the Sault Blues Society is also being financially sponsored/supported by Algoma’s Water Tower Inn.

Monetary donations and non perishable food will be collected and delivered to the Soup Kitchen and St. Vincent Place.

Sault Blues Society 2023 memberships will also be available.

Entry to the event is a non-perishable food item or cash donation. 

Any monetary donations of $20 or more can be issued an official income tax receipt with a complete mailing address.

Donations can also be made in advance by e-transfer to: saultbluessociety@gmail.com