For anyone feeling a little blue this winter, it’s time to heat things up with Ellicottville’s Winter Blues Festival.
Throughout the weekend of Jan. 6-7, area bands will perform at Ellicottville’s hottest spots, including Balloons and Madigan’s, providing live blues music for all to enjoy.
“It’s one of our smaller festivals within the bars and restaurants,” said Heather Snyder, member services coordinator for the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce. “The music is awesome. It’s good, soulful blues.”
Melanie Pritchard, a real estate agent with ERA Team VP of Ellicottville, said the festival continues to bring Ellicottville to the forefront in Western New York. “It’s so great to have a town that finds a way to have a special event every month to bring people to Ellicottville,” she said. “Everyone works well to keep the theme going and all the venues complement each other. It’s great to see people that come to town to see what’s going on here.”
Blues Weekend concludes Canadian Friendship Week, a Holiday Valley tradition that will take place Jan. 2-8. As a friendly “welcome” and “thank you” to our friends from north of the border, Canadian Friendship Week offers great deals at Holiday Valley. The resort will be promoting lift tickets and equipment rentals at par for Canadian cash. Tubing at the Holiday Valley Tubing Co. also offers rates at par, Jan. 5-8. As an added bonus, one free ticket to ride the new Mountain Coaster at Holiday Valley will be offered with each ticket purchased.
As for Blues Weekend, the chamber will post a full schedule of entertainment on its website once it confirms all the venues.
“We always have bands with a good following, but we also have some new ones each year too,” Snyder said, noting that Tommy Z frequently plays at the event.
“I think I’ve performed at it [Blues Fest] since its inception, with the exception of last year,” Tommy Z said in an interview with Snowed-In. “It’s an event I look forward to doing. It’s specific to what I do as an artist in terms of music. I’ve got a great band and a lot of new material.”
Tommy Z finds inspiration for his music from a number of sources, including post-war electric blues and jazz. During Blues Weekend, his favorite songs to perform include “Nine Below Zero” by Sonny Boy Williamson and “Cold Shot” by Stevie Ray Vaughan.
“I’m attracted to blues … it’s something that grabbed hold of me,” Tommy Z said. “It picked me as far as the soul, the groove, the meaning. It has a primal element that drew me in. It seems non-commercial, like the truth.”
Tommy Z will perform at Balloons Restaurant and Night Club (Monroe Street) on Saturday, Jan. 7th from 5-9pm.
With a variety of restaurants and bars planning to host blues artists, visitors are encouraged to catch a bit of it all. Conner Kell, co-owner of Madigan’s, said they are currently working on booking their act for the weekend. “We usually [host] one good band,” he said. “It’s a good one-day event for us. I like the different artists that come through. It’s completely different from the norm.” (As this publication went to print, Madigan’s announced their Blues band for the weekend … Leon and The Forklifts will perform Saturday, Jan. 7 from 7-11pm.)
Snyder advised blues fans to visit the village in the evening and experience what the venues have to offer. “It’s different in all the hot spots,” Snyder said. “It’s a great event.”
For more information on Ellicottville’s Winter Blues Weekend including a line-up of bands, visit the chamber’s website at www.ellicottvilleny.com.