Blues and BBQ will take center stage in East Dundee this weekend

  • Duke Seaward, owner of Duke's Blues-N-BBQ in East Dundee, is hosting his annual Blues-N-BBQ Fest. The two-day event starts Friday and features a variety of blues artists and plenty of food.

      Duke Seaward, owner of Duke's Blues-N-BBQ in East Dundee, is hosting his annual Blues-N-BBQ Fest. The two-day event starts Friday and features a variety of blues artists and plenty of food. Alicia Fabbre | Staff Photographer

 
Updated 6/9/2022 5:02 PM

Blues and barbecue will take center stage in East Dundee during Duke's Blues-N-BBQ Fest.

The two-day music and food festival, organized by Duke Seaward, owner of Duke's Blues-N-BBQ restaurant, kicks off Friday at 5 p.m. with the Dundee-Crown High School marching band. The festival features well-known blues artists, food trucks and, of course, Seward's specialty, BBQ.

 

"Come out for a great time," Seaward said. "Make sure to bring your dancing shoes and come hungry."

The festival, which began in 2019, helps raise funds for Taste the Love, a not-for-profit group run by Seaward. Taste the Love provides scholarships for area high school students and hosts the Food is Love event in December, which provides food and gifts for more than 600 people. The not-for-profit also raised more than $30,000 to help people during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Seaward said.

The two-day event will be at the Depot, located at 319 N. River Street. There is no charge for entry to the festival.

"This is time for people to enjoy themselves, listen to some live music, enjoy the summertime and to let loose and forget about their life for a day or two," said Seaward, whose blues festival falls on the same weekend as the Chicago Blues Festival.

"It's going to be a great lineup of artists," he added.

On Friday, Mark Bettcher & Friends will take the stage at 5:15 after the Dundee Crown High School marching band opens the festival. Chicago Blues Hall of Fame inductee Mike Charles will perform from 8 to 11 p.m.

An opening ceremony featuring gospel singers kicks off at noon on Saturday. Cesare Salad and the Spicy Croutons takes the stage at 12:30 p.m., followed by Jimmy Nick from 3 to 5 p.m. Blues Heart Mama Bear and Madisen Ward, Mama Bear and Nu Blue will perform from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sharay Reed and Friends will close out the festival from 8 to 11 p.m.

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Of course, Duke's Blues-N-BBQ, which operates a year-round restaurant in downtown East Dundee, will be serving up plenty of BBQ throughout the weekend.

East Dundee's Black & Gray Brewing Co. is offering a special beer for the festival. Eastside Café will be serving wine and sangria, while Diamond Jim's will be offering premade cocktails at the festival, Seaward said.

The festival will also feature a variety of food trucks, including Girl's Got Balls, a Fox River Grove business recently featured on the Food Network's "The Great Food Truck Race." Other food vendors include Lou Lou's Soul Food, Sugar Fairy Treats, Que Pasta and Cook's Ice Cream.

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