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April time

If you are lucky you can catch 2 great sun-drenched festivals in Florida from the beginning of April –the free “Springing the Blues Festival” in Jacksonville on the east coast at the beginning of April and a week later “Tampa Bay Blues Festival” on the west coast at St Petersburg (dates may vary). Check out their websites for the line-ups and you’ll be impressed! Just buy some cheap camping chairs and bottles of water from one of the big stores such as Walgreens, CVC Pharmacies or Walmart and you are set –the food stalls are brilliant! If you decide to go book accommodation early as the nearest hotels go very quickly. Fly drive is best and ideal places to visit are St Augustine and Cape Canaveral on the east whilst Fort Myers, St Pete’s Beach are lovely beach spots on the west. We’ve also driven up the scenic east coast to Savannah Georgia one year, a picturesque city full of character –but don’t forget some midges spray!

June time

Around the beginning of June is the fantastic free “Chicago Blues Festival” -5 main stages and a couple of side stages with top class acts set in a large park by the lake front. However, food, drink and accommodation is not cheap! A week later is the smaller “W.C. Handy Barbeque and Blues Festival” in Henderson Kentucky. What a lovely setting on a tree-lined park by the Ohio River- well-priced food and drinks and very friendly people. Again, an impressive line-up for a free festival –check their web page and don’t forget to buy camping chairs and bottles of water!  Break up the journey to Henderson by visiting Pontiac with its Route 66 Museum and stop at St Louis to travel up the famous arch or visit the new interactive Blues Museum there. For a stopover night back to Chicago you can’t beat Champaign –a friendly place with lots of bars serving craft ales (especially around the Hyatt Hotel).

August time

Fly drive from Boston in time to get to “Rhode Island Rhythm and Roots Festival” in Charlestown on Labor Day Weekend (dates vary from end of August to beginning Sept) for something a little different! 2 stages and a large dance marquee with a laid floor for some serious zydeco and Cajun dancing! Visit the wonderful Niagara Falls and explore the surrounding New York State –we enjoyed the Finger Lakes area although there is the Adirondacks with Lake Placid as an alternative. Don’t forget to call in at Albany (the state capitol).


Paul & Cathy
June 2016

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