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Meet the Performers and Pitmasters of the 20th Annual Blues BBQ Festival

Hudson River Park’s famous Blues BBQ Festival turns 20 this year, and our all-star lineup of blues musicians and BBQ restaurants befits such a major milestone. This free all-day festival runs from 2:00–9:00 PM on HRPK’s Pier 97 Saturday, August 24. We’re so excited for this year’s event, we couldn’t wait to share a preview of the music and BBQ coming your way.

Get to know the Artists of Blues BBQ 2019:

Kevin Burt:

A self-taught musician known for his unique, wide-ranging vocal delivery, Kevin Burt’s performances are soul-inspired, and his ability to build audience rapport has invoked comparisons to B.B. King. He’s been winning over audiences across the Midwest for 25 years with a style that sets a mood of “relaxed exhilaration”—and we can’t wait for this charismatic performer to kick off our 20th Blues BBQ Festival.

Hear Kevin Burt’s compelling vocals on display in this performance of Eleanor Rigby:

The World Famous Harlem Gospel Choir:

America’s premier gospel choir, The World Famous Harlem Gospel Choir has thrilled audiences across the globe for decades. Known for powerful vocals, joyous performances and infectious energy, The World Famous Harlem Gospel Choir performs contemporary gospel with a touch of jazz and blues. They’ve taken the stage alongside artists like Bono, Diana Ross and Pharrell Williams and performed for three Presidents and two Popes. Join this esteemed company as you take in their powerful performance August 24.

Enjoy their moving tribute to Aretha Franklin as performed on Good Morning America:

AJ Ghent [j-ent]:

AJ Ghent [j-ent] breaks new musical ground, fusing blues, funk, rock and pop into a genre he calls “neo blues.” The result has been called witty, energetic, soulful and funky—as electrifyingly fresh as it is soulfully nostalgic. With a sound that resonates from the church to the street to the club, his performances strive to transport audiences to a musical paradise…and you can find that paradise on Pier 97.

Take this opportunity to Meet AJ Ghent [j-ent]:

Ruthie Foster:

This Austin-based singer-songwriter’s music has been described as “some folk, some blues, some soul, some rock, some gospel,” and anyone who has heard her perform would add: something truly special. Ruthie Foster has been nominated for three Grammies and won seven Blues Music Awards, three Austin Music Awards, the Grand Prix du Disque award from the Académie Charles-Cros in France, a Living Blues Critics’ Award for Female Blues Artist of the Year and the title of an “inspiring American Artist” as a United States Artists 2018 Fellow. We’re thrilled to bring this celebrated artist to the Blues BBQ Festival Stage!

Take in the title track to her most recent album, Joy Comes Back:

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe

Touring saxophonist for The Rolling Stones, Karl Denson fronts the Tiny Universe as though he’s preaching gospel. And his message? Fellowship across generations, genders, religions and cultures—conveyed with an infectious spirit and energy. Highly regarded as one of the best live acts on the planet, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe will close out our 20th Anniversary Blues BBQ Festival with a performance you don’t want to miss.

Experience the contagious energy of Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe in “Change My Way” off their 2019 album Gnomes & Badgers:

Get ready for some of NYC’s Best BBQ:

Blue Smoke

Named for the curl of smoke that rises from the BBQ pit, Blue Smoke cooks up barbecue that is NYC original—southern-inspired classics updated for our dynamic city. At this year’s festival, they’ll be serving up smoked chicken wings with chipotle barbecue sauce, pulled pork sandwiches, barbecue pit beans and funfetti rice crispy treats. We’re sure you’ll agree—Blue Smoke goes perfectly with smoky blues.

Butcher Bar

What started as an old-school butcher shop in Astoria has become an NYC BBQ destination. In addition to smoking some of the City’s best ‘cue, Butcher Bar strives to connect and educate customers on the source of their food: small scale, sustainable local farms committed to humane treatment and high quality. These mission-driven pitmasters will be serving pulled pork and chicken sandwiches, their “infamous” burnt ends “meat candy” sandwich, hot dogs, corn on the cob and more.

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

A long-time Blues BBQ Festival favorite, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que blends traditional Southern barbeque with other flavorful influences. Dinosaur has been serving up BBQ since 1998 with a focus on fresh, high quality ingredients. Stop by their grill August 24 and taste their nationally acclaimed barbeque for yourself! Pick up a whole rack, half rack or a pulled pork sandwich, and don’t skimp on the sides: tomato and cucumber salad and BBQ pork and beans.

Mighty Quinn’s Barbeque

Mighty Quinn’s is an NYC—and a Blues BBQ Festival—classic. Cooking up barbeque with wood, thyme and the perfect blend of spice and salt, Mighty Quinn’s infuses new life and flavor into traditional barbeque favorites. On the menu at Pier 97: brisket, pulled pork and pulled chicken sandwiches and delicious pulled pork nachos.

And what goes better with hot blues and BBQ than a cold beer? Sixpoint will be serving seasonal brews all day!

From world-renowned performers to the city’s best barbecue, we’ve prepared an unforgettable lineup for our 20th Anniversary Blues BBQ Festival. So mark your calendars for Saturday, August 24 from 2:00–9:00 PM. Whether you spend part of the afternoon, the evening or the whole day, you’re in for a soulful and delicious celebration.

Interested in the VIP Blues BBQ experience? Friends with Benefits members at the First Mate Level and above enjoy VIP access for two on August 24! VIPs receive complimentary BBQ and beer and enjoy the show from a special, shaded picnic area. Plus, members help support the Park’s four miles of lush parklands, protected estuarine waters, beautifully landscaped piers—and our ability to provide beloved free events like Blues BBQ. There’s limited availability of VIP access wristbands, so sign up today!