Words & Deeds

Guitarist Ana Popovic headlines revamped Boise Blues Festival

Ana Popovic will wow guitar fans during the Boise Blues Festival on July 17 at the Idaho Botanical Garden.
Ana Popovic will wow guitar fans during the Boise Blues Festival on July 17 at the Idaho Botanical Garden.

It’s no picnic organizing an outdoor concert.

So kudos to the Boise Blues Society, which put on its annual “Picnic” concert for many years at Julia Davis Park.

Rebranded as the Boise Blues Festival in 2015, it will debut in a new spot Sunday, July 17, on the grass near the entrance to the Idaho Botanical Garden, 2355 Old Penitentiary Road.

Instead of being free (or a donation of canned food) as in the past, it’s now a ticketed event.

That’s one of the main reasons the Boise Blues Society moved it, president Ken Harris says.

“We cannot charge in admission in a city park,” he says. “We’re trying to expand and grow the festival.”

Headliners in recent years have been entertaining; Hamilton Loomis in 2014 and Matthew Curry in 2015. But organizers are counting on Eastern European singer-guitarist Ana Popovic to widen the blues-rock appeal.

“We were hoping that Ana Popovic would help create some sort of buzz and splash,” Harris said. “But we’ll see, we’ll see. We’ve been really trying to jerk up the ceiling in a big way this year.”

Popovic is a wicked-talented player — and it’s strangely cool hearing her sing the blues with a trace of Serbia in her voice.

Also on the festival bill: The Andy T - Nick Nixon Band (from Nashville), plus locals Smooth Avenue and the Boise Blues Society Scholars and Friends.

No carry-in alcohol or glass containers will be allowed. Gates open at 4 p.m., music starts at 5. Tickets are $15 in advance at Brown Paper Tickets or $20 at the door. Kids 12 and under are free.

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