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Paula Harris

Paula Harris and the Beasts of Blues will headline this year's Blues and Roots Festival in Hanford on Saturday.

Contributed by Jim Castleman

HANFORD — The 17th Annual Blues and Roots Festival promises to be bigger and better than ever with Grammy award-winning musicians and local favorites.

Main Street Hanford and Adventist Health will present downtown Hanford’s festival starting at 6 p.m. Saturday at Civic Center Park.

The bands will be presented on the Hanford Chrysler Stage — the steps of the Civic Auditorium — and will consist of three bands to entertain spectators.

Opening the show will be the Juke House Dogs, followed by Deja Blues, and the headliner will be Paula Harris and the Beasts of Blues from San Francisco.

The Juke House Dogs consist of two well-known brothers from Hanford: Leonard and Johnny Rodriguez. In fact, this is a welcome home for the Rodriguez brothers, who played at the very first Blues and Roots festival 17 years ago.

The next band up, Fresno’s Deja Blues, has entertained crowds at small and large venues over the last 20 years; including Thursday Night Market Place and the Blues and Roots Festival in 2013.

"We've had the pleasure of playing with or sharing the stage with many amazing blues artists," Gumbo Furnas, the group’s lead guitar player, said.

The festival’s headliner, Paula Harris and the Beasts of Blues, stand out among the San Francisco Bay Area’s best as one of the most unique and funky blues bands to emerge from Northern California, festival organizer Jim Castleman said.

The band burst onto the scene in 2012 with recognition at the International Blues Challenge as one of the top three bands in the world.  Harris’s debut album’s horn sound was heavily influenced by her love of funk, jazz and soul blues.

Harris received multiple blues and music awards, while her band has no shortage of Grammy award-winning artists, including horn players and the drummer.

Harris, who has been singing her whole life, said she is looking forward to the beautiful weather and playing great music for the Hanford crowd at the “unique venue” on the steps of the Civic Auditorium.

Harris said she’s played in the Central Valley before, but never in Hanford. She said bringing herself and her eight-member band to town has been years in the making.

“It’s going to be a high-energy show,” Harris said. “We’re bringing our A-game.”

Castleman said Hanford’s Blues and Roots Festival is one of only two free blues festivals in the country, with the other being the Chicago Blues Festival, so he is very proud of that fact.

“It takes a community of support to put on a show like this, so we would really like to say thanks to our sponsors,” Castleman said. “It’s a great community event and it’s going to be a fun night."

News Reporter

News reporter for The Sentinel

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