Clarkdale is set to host the second annual Northern Arizona Blues Alliance International Blues Competition Saturday, Oct. 8.
From 1 to 5 p.m. in Clarkdale Town Park, a variety of local and statewide bands will compete in two categories, Band/Group and Solo/Duo, to represent Northern Arizona in the 33rd International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn., Tuesday through Saturday, Jan. 31 through Feb. 4.
The free event is sponsored by Four Eight Wineworks, THAT Brewery, Grand Canyon Brewery, 10/12 Lounge, Northern Arizona Blues Alliance and the town of Clarkdale, and features a beer and wine garden, food and craft vendors and a raffle, all proceeds of which to benefit Clarkdale Community Services and Northern Arizona Blues Alliance.
“Last year, we had approximately 350 people there,” Community Services Supervisor Dawn Norman said, adding that the event draws people from around the Verde Valley. “This year we’re anticipating more than that.”
According to Norman, NAZBA President Bob Sellani — a noted blues drummer in his own right — has booked eight acts, four in each category, thus filling all available spots. Last year’s competition featured seven acts.
The event is part of a concerted effort to respond to community members’ desires for more activities in the park, Norman said. Along with the Clarkdale Downtown Business Alliance’s events, the town is ramping up efforts to appeal to both locals and visitors.
“We’re really working on Clarkdale becoming a destination,” Norman explained. “Our department has done surveys and our community says they want more events in the park .... We want to offer what they want, and we have such a great small town community atmosphere.”
Organizers remind attendees to bring their own seating and that outside alcohol is not permitted.