Plenty of road warriors will be in Reno this week for the 16th annual BBQ, Brews and Blues Festival, hosted by the Eldorado on Virginia Street on Friday and Saturday.
The event draws many bands who travel from blues festival to blues festival during the summer months. Some are relative newcomers to the scene, but most are true veterans of street music, capturing wandering crowds and holding them with their music and personality.
A few are Reno-Tahoe groups, eager to make an impression.
The barbecue and brews portions of the festival are self-explanatory, and the Eldorado is known for its food and drink, for one thing running its own microbrewery-restaurant, the popular and aptly named Brews Brothers.
The music will flow even more freely than chili, barbecue and beer. Two stages will operate from 3-10 p.m. Friday and 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday.
The Third Street Stage, next to the Eldorado, begins its schedule at 3 p.m. Friday with the Jason King Band, which has always proved popular. The Blues Monsters follow at 5 p.m.; they've been awarded North Tahoe's No. 1 blues band honors seven years running. Their "Red Hot Hat" CD saw extensive airplay on "Mick Martin's Blues Party."
The Shane Dwight Band plays at 7 p.m., celebrating the release of its new CD, "A Hundred White Lies." Dwight has played more than 2000 live shows and won the 2002 Monterey Jazz Festival Battle of the Bands.
Mike Hammar and the Nails, the 2009 winner of that competition, begins the Saturday schedule on Third Street at 11:30 a.m., featuring music from their new CD "Recipe for the Blues" with songs that have been featured on Sirius XM's "B.B. King Bluesville."
The Stone Foxes come to Reno from the Chattanooga Riverbend Festival in Tennessee with music from their release "Bears & Blues."
They can be literally called a garage band since that album was recorded in a garage lined with mattresses. One single from it, "I Killed Robert Johnson," has gotten lots of buzz, and they should play it in their set beginning at 1:30 p.m.
Rubber Biscuit, the tribute band to the Blues Brothers, follows at 3:30 p.m., not long from their extensive engagement with a revue at Harrah's Reno. And the evening winds up with the Greg Kihn Band ("The Breakup Song" and "Jeopardy") at 5:30 p.m., followed by the Dani Page Band at 7:30 p.m.
On the other side of the Eldorado, the Fourth Street Stage will begin with Rubber Biscuit at 5:30 p.m. Friday, followed by Reno denizens Decoy (the band describes its music as "pop punk/powerpop/rock.") at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday on Fourth Street finds Jason King at 11 a.m. and Mark Hummel and the Blues Survivors at 1 p.m. Hummel's is one of the great harmonica-led bands, and he's well-known for hosting his Blues Harmonica Blowout Series with guests such as John Mayall and Norton Buffalo. The Blues Monsters play at 3 p.m. Performers from the Eldorado's current show "Illuminaire" take the stage at 4:45 p.m. Steve Lucky and the Rhumba Bums, who definitely provide a good and often-retro time, play at 5 p.m., and Shane Dwight rounds out the party at 7 p.m.
Reno's going to be crowded this weekend because one of the big events on the rodeo circuit, the Reno Rodeo, is taking place at the Reno Livestock Events Center. The grounds and carnival open at 4 p.m. every day (except 11 a.m. Saturday). Evening performances of the rodeo are at 7 p.m. nightly with the Wrangler Million Dollar Gold Tour Championship Finals Saturday at 7 p.m. Friday is Wrangler Patriot Night with a military flyover.
The Reno Rodeo calls itself the "Wildest and the Richest in the West." Hyperbole aside, it's certainly one of the biggest. It draws around 140,000 fans every year, gets its stock from the best providers, has the sport's most famous announcers and draws the top cowboys.
What is little known is that the Reno Rodeo is also a nonprofit organization, and its foundation has funneled $5.1 million into Reno charities and scholarships ($400,000 last year).
If you want to dress the part, check out the Double R Marketplace in the indoor arena on the grounds, or stop by the annual temporary installation of Rogers Cowboy Supply on the casino floor at the Eldorado through July 10.
The Reno Livestock Events Center is at 1350 Wells Ave., Reno (Interstate 80 east to Wells, and take a left). Tickets range from $12-$25 and are available at (800) 225-2277 or www.renorodeo.com.