Ronnie Baker Brooks returns
to headline 2018 Ribberfest
Walter Trout to top off performances on Friday night
Madison Ribberfest Blues Bash Lineup
Friday, Aug. 17
• 6 p.m.: Junk Box (Bill Lancton, Jimmy Davis)
• 8 p.m.: Dawn Tyler Watson
• 10 p.m.: Walter Trout
Saturday, Aug. 18
• 11:30 a.m.: Jordan Wilson
• 1:30 p.m.: King Bee & the Stingers
• 3:30 p.m.: John Primer & the Real Deal Blues Band
• 5:30 p.m.: John Nemeth & the Love Light Orchestra
• 7:30 p.m.: Eric Gales
• 9:30 p.m.: Ronnie Baker Brooks
• Admission wristbands:
$30 in advance or $35 at the gates both days. Purchase online at www.MadisonRibberfest.com
1-800-559-2956 or (812) 265-2956
(August 2018) – Entering its 17th year, the Madison Ribberfest blues and barbecue festival in Madison, Ind., continues to thrive as one of Madison’s most successful and popular festivals. This year’s event is set for Friday-Saturday, Aug. 17-18 at Madison Bicentennial Park and will feature two popular headliners: Walter Trout on Friday night and Ronnie Baker Brooks on Saturday night. Brooks performed as the festival’s headliner in 2011.
Brooks, 51, is an American Chicago blues and soul blues guitarist, singer and songwriter. He was a respected club performer in Chicago before recording three solo albums for Watchdog Records.
Brooks started playing guitar around age 6. At 19, he joined his father, Lonnie Brooks, who by then had influenced some of the most well-known bluesmen of our history: Jimmy Reed, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Johnny Winter and Junior Wells. For 12 years, the two would tour together, putting Ronnie out front with Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Koko Taylor. In 1998 when he was 32, his father told him to go solo.
He already had a band by then and started a label, creating his first album, “Golddigger.”
Trout, 67, is an American blues singer and songwriter from Ocean City, N.J. Trout’s career began on the Jersey coast scene of the late 1960s and early 1970s. He then decided to relocate to Los Angeles, where he became a sideman for Percy Mayfield and Deacon Jones. He also worked in the bands of John Lee Hooker and Joe Tex. He played guitar in the Canned Heat band and later the Bluesbreakers, which he left in 1989 to form the Walter Trout Band.
The Madison Ribberfest Blues Bash always draws a big crowd. Ronnie Baker Brooks is this year’s headliner.
Advanced admission wristbands are $30 for both days and are available through Wednesday, Aug. 15. Admission wristbands purchased at the gates on Friday or Saturday will be $35. If purchased at the gate on Friday, they are good for both days.
Ribberfest committee members want to remind people that chairs will not be allowed to be set up inside Madison Bicentennial Park before the gates open on Friday or 11 a.m. Saturday.
Those early birds who purchased their wristbands in July were still able to get $10 in food and beverage coupons up until Aug. 1. “The food coupons seem to be a real pleaser, and we have done well in advanced sales,” Ayers said.
The music, the venue, the director and her large all-volunteer staff are certainly to credit for Ribberfest’s success. There has been a waiting list for VIP tents for years.
The two-day event features the Madison Courier Backyard BBQ Blast amateur barbecue cooking contest on Friday and the pro contest, the Indiana State Championship Barbeque Cook-Off, on Saturday that is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society. The pros cook throughout the night and begin turning in their entries for judging at 11 a.m. Saturday.
The pro contest usually pushes 60 teams, but this year’s contest is being limited to 50-55 teams because Elm Street is under construction and will not be available for setting up teams there, according to contest chairman Ken Schneider. “We usually put about seven teams on Elm Street, and we won’t be able to do that this year.”
Last year’s event had 56 teams. The most ever was 63 teams a few years ago, Schneider said.
Entry into the pro contest is $275 per team. Entry into the amateur contest is $25. The pro contest awards more than $12,000 in prize money, with the top 10 teams in each cooking category receiving cash awards.
Teams compete in four meat categories: chicken, pork ribs, pork and beef brisket. It takes more than 70 KCBS-certified judges to determine the winners. The overall Grand Champion receives a wooden plaque and $2,650. The Reserve Grand Champion (second place) receives a wooden plaque and $1,625. The Grand Champion also earns a trip to the 2019 KCBS American Royal in Kansas City. The team is also entered into a drawing of eight other Indiana KCBS competition winners to determine a berth in the Jack Daniels Barbeque Championship in Lynchburg, Tenn.
The popularity of the pro cooking event and the amateur event allow many local residents and visitors to participate in the fun. And perhaps the best part for the crowd is to line up for samplings of barbecue chicken, beef and pork after the teams have turned in their judged entries.
At press time, there were only 42 teams that had signed up so far, Schneider said. Three past Grand Champion teams – Grey Street BBQ, ButtRub.com and Bark Brothers BBQ – had registered to return as of late July. Nathan Dexter of Grey Street BBQ in Avon, Ind., is returning to defend the title he won last year.
Meantime, 11 amateur teams had registered as of late July. The Backyard Blast is chaired by Steve Thomas and, like the pro contest, attracts teams from mostly Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.
The “Kidz Q” contest allows children and teens a chance to test their grilling skills in two age groups – 8-11 and 12-15.
In addition to blues and barbecue, the festival offers many other activities. These include Ohio River cruises, a 5K run and walk, bicycle rides at three different distances, a Run-Then-Ride event, a concrete pig decorating contest among local businesses that raises money for scholarships, a Piglet Pen play place for children and a Pig Toss corn hole tournament.
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