Blues & Brews Festival planned for May in Kennewick

Dori O'Neal, Tri-City HeraldMarch 8, 2014 

The annual UnTapped Blues & Brews Festival is back on tap for May 10 after it was announced earlier this year that the popular outdoor event was canceled.

To help celebrate, the Clover Island Inn will kick off its summer concert series with a Blues on the Columbia concert May 9 on Clover Island in Kennewick.

Dave Nichols, who took over organizing UnTapped about five years ago, told the Herald he was unable to continue putting in the long hours to organize, promote and manage the festival, mostly by himself.

"Unfortunately, my health during the past two years has diminished to the point I wasn't confident I could follow through with all the tasks needed to make UnTapped a success," he said.

Townsquare Media, which owns several Tri-City radio stations, stepped in to help and took over management of the festival, said Al Holman, the live events manager for Townsquare Media.

"We didn't want to see UnTapped go away because it had become a vital part of Tri-City entertainment," Holman said. "And Dave couldn't do it all by himself so Townsquare Media was happy to step in and save it."

Mark Blotz, co-owner and manager of Clover Island Inn, couldn't be happier about the event's return.

"Kicking off UnTapped with a blues concert the day before the festival each year was a big event for us, so when Townsquare brought it back we were thrilled," Blotz said.

Dwight Shane will be the headliner at the Blues on the Columbia concert at Clover Island on May 9.

The rest of Clover Island's summer series of music includes the return of Garratt Wilkin and the Parrotheads on May 24, Randy Linder and the Creedence Clearwater Revival tribute band on May 25, Appetite for Destruction, the Guns and Roses tribute band, on July 12, and the Knutzen Brothers on July 19.

Then on Aug. 1, Hells Belles will heat up the parking lot at Clover Island and Mickey Thomas of Starship performs Aug. 2.

The hotel's end of summer concert on Aug. 31 features the popular Tri-City bands Colorblind and The Shades.

Ticket costs vary for each event and they will be available at the hotel a few weeks prior to the event. For more information, call 586-0541.

As for UnTapped, Townsquare Media plans to keep Nichols involved for another season, Holman said.

And Nichols is fired up to do just that.

"I am so pleased to have Townsquare Media take over UnTapped," he said. "When I stepped in five years ago my goal was to keep UnTapped a vital part of the Tri-Cities entertainment community. Townsquare shares that goal so I am elated UnTapped will be here into the future."

The festival features headliner Rick Estrin and the Nightcats.

For a complete list of performers and ticket prices, go to www.untappedblues.com.

The festival starts at noon May 10 at the Benton County Fairgrounds on 10th Avenue in Kennewick.

-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @dorioneal

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