Bluesfest to return to Civic Center

LIMA — That unmistakable sound of blues music will be back in downtown Lima as Bluesfest is set to return at 7 p.m. Saturday to Veterans Memorial Civic Center.

President of the Greater Allen County Blues Society and organizer of the event Jim Edwards said that the fifth official edition of the show will have a great lineup featuring artists like Jay Jesse Johnson, Will Freed, the Brad Alan Jones Band and local high school band Minor Blues.

“It’s amazing that people sometimes don’t think they like the blues until they realize that every music genre is based on the blues,” he said. “You’d be surprised where everything comes from and the blues is the basis for everything from r&b to country to gospel. It all comes back to that blues genre and even the great ones have copied the blues players.”

Billy Elvis, a member of the GACBS and the emcee of the show, said that it feels good to put on the show to benefit the society and shine a spotlight on artists from the area like Freed, the Brad Alan Jones Band and Minor Blues.

“The mission is to keep live local music alive, specifically blues music, so that’s what excites me the most about it,” he said. “When we bring in a headliner like Jay Jesse Johnson, we like to feel like they’ve got passion and can relate to the area and understand what the Lima region is going through as far as entertainment.”

There will be a little bit of something for everyone even if it is all under the umbrella of the blues.

Elvis, who also hosts a blues hour on 104.9 The Eagle FM, describes Jay Jesse Johnson as a Texas-style performer with a rock and roll-influenced sound, while Freed is described as more of a folk and country-style artist. For anyone who has been to a GACBS open blues jam, the Brad Alan Jones Band, which performs as the house band at the Elks lodge every third Thursday, will be totally familiar. Minor Blues, which was started by local instructor and artist Jimi Goare as a youth band, will see area students take the stage as the audience arrives to the show.

Edwards said that not only will there be great talent, but the audience will get the chance to relax and enjoy barbecue from Fat Kid BBQ.

Most of all, Edwards said he hopes the audience realizes how important everything being showcased at the event is.

“I hope they walk away with a smile and perhaps a new appreciation for the blues,” he said. “And maybe they realize that not only is there something cool to do in Lima, but that there’s a whole genre of music and a whole group of people that are out there just begging for someone to come and listen to them. The bottom line is that we want everybody to come and have a good time and who knows, maybe you’ll discover something that you didn’t know you liked.”

Audiences will be contributing in more ways than just showing appreciation. Proceeds for the event, from ticket sales and merchandise including a limited edition t-shirt only available at the show, go toward funding future events put on by the GACBS.

“The main thing is that I hope the society grows with more support,” Elvis said. “It helps us build some revenue and support so that Bluesfest can get bigger and bigger each year. Then we can spend more money and maybe bring n a national touring artist.”

“It’s great because the Greater Allen County Blues Society is a registered nonprofit,” Edwards said. “So everything that we raise goes back into doing something else for the community and it means a lot to us. So if you’re supporting us, it tells us that not only is there a love for what we love, but there’s a love for the community.”

Tickets for Bluesfest are on sale now online and at Groamy’s Cd’s and Tapes. They are also available at the door.


WHAT: Bluesfest 2023

WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Veterans Memorial Civic Center, 7 Town Square, Lima.

Tickets are $15 and are available at

Reach Jacob Espinosa at 567-242-0399.