Blues, Brews & BBQ

Sounds by the bay


What: Blues, Brews & BBQ

When: 9 am Thu., Jun. 22 -29

Where: Waterfront Terrace, Hotel Bellwether

Cost: $5


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Recently, I sat down with a calendar and a fairly comprehensive list of the very many outdoor music series that are taking place over the course of the summer in Whatcom and Skagit counties. It did not require much hard figuring to discern that a person could, if they were so moved, spend just about every afternoon, evening or night from now until sometime in August at one outdoor venue or another, taking in the variety of music for which this region is known.

One could see a whole summer’s worth of music without ever having to go inside.

Doing its part to keep you entertained in the great outdoors is the Hotel Bellwether—and there’s more than music on the menu.

A hint about what you can expect every Thursday evening from June 22 through Sept. 14 can be found in what the hotel decided to name its run of concerts: Blues, Brews & BBQ.

The 2017 iteration of the popular music series was scheduled to begin June 15, but fell victim to the capricious weather that often plagues those either optimistic or masochistic enough to schedule al fresco events before the Fourth of July. Had things gone as planned the Naughty Blokes would’ve started things off, but now you’ll have to wait and see them at Downtown Sounds. Or at the Port of Anacortes’ summer music series. Or during Burlington Summer Nights.

Instead, it falls to Jasmine Greene to inaugurate this year’s Blues, Brews & BBQ series on Thurs., June 22, and with her powerful voice and local following, she’s certainly up to the task. The Chris Eger band will follow in her footsteps a week later, and then the Bellwether will throw its annual Independence Day bash on July 4 with the Atlantics and one of the best views going for the fireworks that will light up the night sky above Bellingham Bay.

A mere 48 hours after we celebrate the continued survival of the experiment that is American democracy, the Stacy Jones Band will take their turn at the Bellwether, and the ever-popular Baby Cakes will show up on July 13 to make sure everyone spends at least part of their summer dancing.

One thing that sets the concerts at the Hotel Bellwether apart from other similar music series is that the bands and musicians play one show early in the run, and then come back for an encore performance later in the summer. So that means the Atlantics will play again July 20 and the Naughty Blokes will get a mulligan on July 27, before Space Band stops by Aug. 3 to change things up a bit. After that, Greene will exercise her option for a second show on Aug. 10, the Chris Eger Band will do the same Aug. 17, and the Atlantics will set the summer record at the Bellwether with their third show Aug. 24.

The Stacy Jones Band will close out the month with an Aug. 31 performance, and the 2017 Blues, Brews & BBQ concert series will end with the one-two punch of Space Band and Baby Cakes on Sept. 7 and Sept. 14, respectively.

Although it is certainly the centerpiece of the Blues, Brews & BBQ shows, music is just part of the allure of the series. In a city that boasts its fair share of picturesque outdoor venues, few are as stunning as the Hotel Bellwether, with its lush green lawn and position perched right on Bellingham Bay. As well, implicit in the name of the series are its two other components, which comprise the food and drink portion of the proceedings.

Frankly, when I hear “beer and barbecue,” I assume we’re talking about hotdogs and hamburgers, possibly with cheese, if I’m lucky. I should know better in this case. This is the Hotel Bellwether after all.

That means you can choose from such items as cedar-plank salmon, paella, St. Louis spare ribs, various skewers and peel-and-eat shrimp by the pound. Yes, burgers are indeed on the menu, in the form of cheeseburgers, double cheeseburgers and veggie burgers. Hot dogs can also be had, as can Bavarian beer brats with sauerkraut.

What with all the dining and dancing, it’s likely attendees will work up a righteous thirst that is best slaked by the third part of this entertainment trifecta: the beer. In this case, what will be flowing is local, from one or more of the area’s endlessly multiplying breweries.

By the time this year’s series wraps, we’ll be trading our jorts for jeans and our sundresses for sleeves and heading indoors for the foreseeable future. Hie thyself to the Hotel Bellwether and bask in the glory of the summer as early and as often as possible.



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