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Blues festival full of talent

The weather forecast may call for rain today, but that should be right in tune with the blues. And anyone who is a fan of this musical genre is encouraged to cruise out to Denton’s Quakertown Park this afternoon or Sunday for some free entertainment, courtesy of the annual Denton Blues Festival.

The festival, presented by the Denton Black Chamber of Commerce, is set to begin at 1 p.m. at the park, which is located at 321 E. McKinney St. Gates are scheduled to open at noon today and Sunday.

The event promises a slate of national, regional and local talent, so it should provide just the stuff for a fun weekend.

Fans are invited to bring ponchos and other protection against the elements and enjoy the atmosphere and the music. Parking will be available at the Wells Fargo Bank parking lot, 101 S. Locust St., and near the park.

Once the event kicks off at 1 p.m. today, the music is scheduled to continue into the evening on the festival’s main stage, with the last act up at 9 p.m.

Sunday’s schedule calls for a 1 p.m. start, with the closing act beginning at 7 p.m.

On both days, a community stage will offer a variety of entertainment, from high school musicians to hip-hop and rap artists and spoken-word performances. There will be a talent contest and even a comedy act.

Organizers expanded the community stage for this year’s event and have already booked both days of the festival, something they did not do last year, said John Baines, one of the event organizers.

“We worked to get talent: bands, rappers, comedians, singers, possibly some high school step shows. It’s just a variety of things,” Baines said.

There will also be vendors of various types and children’s activities, so attendees of all ages should find plenty to keep them occupied.

The children’s area, which includes face painting, storytelling and more, has also been expanded.

“Kids can come have a good time and parents can have a good time, too,” Baines said.

“People are looking to be entertained and have some good times in Denton, Texas, and we’re trying to be one of the providers of that.”

The festival takes its musical heritage seriously.

Baines said some of the top blues artists in the country have come through Denton, and since some have now passed on, festival organizers hope to make sure the people filling the gap are coming here to perform.

“So people can eventually say, ‘I knew that person before they got big,’” he said. “We’re looking for the new talent, the brightest and best our dollars can afford.”

The festival brought in about 6,000 people last year. Baines said organizers are hoping for 8,000 to 10,000 people to attend this year’s festival, the 14th annual.

Baines said the festival fills a need for good, wholesome relaxation.

“This is one of the venues that provides that. The outdoor setting is quite pristine. It’s very unique. We bring in a lot of good vendors for food and purchases and the talent, and then it’s free,” Baines said. “We’re hoping for nice, warm weather where people will come out and have a great time at a nice venue.”

You can check out the festival lineup at