Blues At Arch Festival Has Star-Studded Lineup
ST. LOUIS - Gateway Arch Park Foundation announces star-studded lineup for 8th annual Blues at the Arch Festival August 11-13 With fans driving for hours hear some of today’s best blues artists, Blues at the Arch Festival presented by the Missouri Division of Tourism includes delicious food, drinks, all ages activities, a Kids’ Corner and more. A ticketed Sunday Blues Brunch will cap off the weekend. ST. LOUIS, MO (June 20, 2023)—Blues at the Arch Festival returns August 11-13, this year presented by the Missouri Division of Tourism, Visit Missouri. Held at the North Gateway of Gateway Arch National Park (bordering Laclede’s Landing), the Festival is free and open to the public on Friday and Saturday. Hosted by Gateway Arch Park Foundation as part of its mission to bring exciting, accessible community events to the national park, this popular end-of-summer celebration pays tribute to St. Louis' storied blues history and showcases the talents of national and local artists.
Produced in partnership with the National Blues Museum and National Park Service, it’s the only festival of its kind to take place on national park grounds. On Friday and Saturday, the Whitaker Foundation Stage welcomes Sugaray Rayford—winner of the 2023 International Blues Foundation’s “Best Blues Soul Album” Award—and other illustrious blues musicians like Miz Renee Smith, Duwayne Burnside, Carolyn Wonderland, Uvee Hayes, Slideshow, Larry McCray and Toronzo Cannon. Festivities will be emceed by the legendary Tammie Holland. Families will enjoy a Kids’ Corner with coloring activities, yard games, interactive pop-up sports, line-dancing, and an all ages musical petting zoo—an assortment of real instruments guests can pick up and try out while learning about the instrument’s family and sound. Saturday’s festivities will close out with a fireworks show at 8 p.m. STL BarKeep and Narwhal’s Crafted will be on hand serving specialty cocktails, and 4 Hands Brewing Co. will provide the Festival’s beer.
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Among the food offerings that visitors can enjoy are Sugarfire, Kimchi Guys, The Little Busy B Food Trailer, Treaux’s Cajun BBQ, Mighty Me, and more. On Sunday, August 13, a ticketed Blues Brunch will round out the weekend at 612North in Laclede’s Landing. Blues history enthusiasts will be serenaded by the Robert Nelson Band in the site of a former jazz speakeasy (according to the venue’s website). The elevated buffet menu features a prime rib carving station, honey butter chicken & waffles, charcuterie, antipasto, fruit boards and MORE, for $65 per guest. Unlimited mimosas can be added for only $15 per person. A portion of proceeds are earmarked for future Blues at the Arch festivals and programming, allowing guests to directly give back to this exciting and beloved music program. As a bonus, brunch-goers will enjoy a photo booth to capture their weekend in a memento. Guests can upgrade their Festival experience by becoming a Gateway Arch Park Foundation member: Supporter level and above include exclusive benefits like free barbecue and beverages at the Blues Member & Sponsor Tent on opening night.
New members must register by July 31 to take advantage of this great perk. Members also receive free Downtown parking, Gateway Arch tram passes and more. Gateway Arch Park Foundation Executive Director Ryan McClure describes the festival as a shining example of public/private collaboration: “The Blues at the Arch Festival would not be possible without the support of our sponsors and partners, and its popularity demonstrates the effectiveness of collective, long term efforts to revitalize the St. Louis Metro Area’s urban core. We expect more than 10,000 locals and visitors attending the festival to stay in hotels, eat at restaurants, and patronize other events and attractions in Downtown St. Louis. ” In 2015, Blues at the Arch launched as a weekly concert series to celebrate the National Blues Museum coming to Downtown. It gained popularity through 2019.
The Foundation maintained people’s interest with virtual programming in 2020. In 2022, the Foundation decided to come back big with a new festival format which drew more than 9,000 attendees in its first year. With visits to Gateway Arch National Park up more than 27% this year, 2023 is likely to draw an even bigger crowd. “Blues at the Arch Festival is a premier Missouri summer event that our entire state is proud of,” said Stephen Foutes, director of Missouri Division of Tourism. “It’s truly the only one of its kind—paying homage to St. Louis’ blues history while celebrating the genre’s current and future stars at a beloved national park. We’re proud to be this year’s presenting sponsor and welcome travelers from throughout the Show Me State and across the country to this extraordinary musical experience.” "The blues continues to be a thriving art form in St. Louis because of accessible programming like the Blues at the Arch Festival,” said Erin Simon, president and CEO of the National Blues Museum. “Offering this event for free to the community showcases the best in the genre both locally and nationally, and it helps teach new generations of St. Louisans and visitors about our city’s rich heritage.
That is what keeps blues thriving, and it's incredible to bring all of these artists on one stage to celebrate together." August 11-13 will be a busy weekend for Downtown St. Louis with Taste of St. Louis and other events also attracting thousands of entertainment seekers. Visitors and staycationers are encouraged to book their hotel rooms, schedule their tram rides, buy their City Museum and St. Louis Aquarium tickets, and make their restaurant reservations early this year—it’s going to be a weekend to remember. For more information and a full schedule of performances and events, visit archpark.org/blues.
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