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Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018 12:03 am

Last August blast

Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers do up the Old Capitol Blues & BBQ festival on Friday, Aug. 24 in downtown Springfield.


Let’s offer hearty congratulations to David Casper for his victory on August 17 in the Illinois State Fair karaoke competition. In return for his afternoon triumph, David reaped the rewards of performing that evening at the Grandstand, opening for Brett Eldredge. Casper, the youthful, talented and mostly-country singer who fronts the local group Casper’s Kountry Kustoms, has been on a roll as of late with a past performance at the Curve Inn Southside State Fair on August 12, the karaoke win and big show at the Illinois State Fair last Friday, another band spot at the Curve Inn this Friday, plus an upcoming gig at The Stadium on Sunday afternoon, September 2 for a Springfield Mile After Party.

This weekend the Old Capitol Blues & BBQ downtown festival indeed takes the cake (and the ribs) as the biggest event around. The food and music extravaganza, arguably the most popular festival in town, takes the two said entities of blues music and barbecue and makes them enticing and endearing as well as entertaining and enjoyable. On Friday comes local favorite and national blues-radio star Mary Jo Curry followed by Brandon Santini, the ace harmonica player and singer from St. Louis who recently relocated to that hotbed of the blues known as Springfield, Illinois, plus the Grammy-nominated Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers, who are no strangers to area audiences familiar with their go-get ‘em, rightfully inherited Zydeco rhythm sounds. Saturday’s headliner is none other than the very famous and very good Big Head Todd and the Monsters along with the Illinois Central Blues Club Challenge to see what acts represent our community in Memphis for the 2019 International Blues Challenge. Then there’s Jason Elmore & Hoodoo Witch from Texas, walking the line between traditional blues and 70s blues-rock bands, plus Jim Suhler & Monkey Beat, a Dallas-based and internationally known rockin’ blues guitarist who spent time playing as a Destroyer with George Thorogood and is a regularly scheduled Blues Monday performer at The Alamo. So why don’t you just go have yourself a party soaking up the beautiful blues on the stage at Fifth and Adams while putting down double-delicious BBQ from among the 30-some booths along Fifth and Washington in the friendly shadows of the Old State Capitol.

In other blues news this week, David Lumsden presents an encore of his Hues of Blues this Saturday at a Springfield Ceramics and Crafts Club (2626 S. Pasfield) event starting at 10 p.m. while Chris Camp and his Blues Ambassadors apply diplomatic music immunity to Lime Street Cafe (8-11:30 p.m.), and Chris O’Leary brings his internationally acclaimed blues-stylings to The Alamo for the long-running Blue Monday weekly series hosted by our Illinois Central Blues Club.

If that’s not enough, how about giving a hand (literally) to the Hip Replacements featuring Billy Rogers at Robbie’s during the early evening on Friday, experiencing the singalong, original music of The Maze with Riff Storm at George Rank’s on Saturday night and catching one of the most popular bands on the planet, Captain Geech and the Shrimp Shack Shooters, as they land Sunday afternoon at Evandy’s Boatel, a wonderfully crazy spot in Naples, Illinois, right on the Illinois River.  

Contact Tom Irwin at


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