June Bug Blues Fest Blasts Off Saturday


This year's June Bug Blues Festival will be a little different than years past, but one thing hasn't changed there's great music, and lots of it, producer Joe Harless said.

"We never put two artists that sound alike in the same show," he said. "There's a lot of variety. We've got a fantastic lineup," he said.

Harless said blues music may surprise those unfamiliar with it. A lot of rock and country music stem from the blues, so music fans of any variety will find something they like, he said.

"We really gear it toward safety and families," Harless said. "We don't even allow dogs, because we want kids to be able to run around and play."

This year boasts the most community involvement ever. There is a special performance for a busload of people from Payson Care Center at 6 p.m., 50 percent of beer sales go to Santa's List, and the Payson Rodeo Committee gets one half of all parking proceeds. All leftover food will be donated to the Time Out Shelter.

Harless is particularly excited about a booth he donated to the Goldstar Wives, an organization of women who were married to U.S. veterans. They lose their husband's benefits after remarrying, and Harless said more people would help these women if their plights were known. They will have an information booth at the festival.

"We really want to get Payson involved in the June Bug," Harless said. "We want kids and retirees and everybody else out there." To attract all income levels, he tries to keep ticket and food prices low.

"We've got some of the best food Payson has ever seen this year. It's unbelievable," he said.

The menu includes Arkansas-style barbecue, catfish sandwiches, Thai food, Vienna beef and a myriad of desserts. As for drinks, there will be iced lattes and coffees, Italian sodas and iced fruit drinks.

The event will also feature a giant misting system, a rock-climbing wall and arts and crafts booths. People can enjoy these features as they enjoy 11 hours of almost non-stop music by 11 different bands, including the headliner, The Gary Primich Band.

The festival will be from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday. Ticket prices are $12 for adults and $6 for ages 16 and under.

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