EAST HARTLAND >> The Second Annual 2 Left Feet Blues Festival will bring a full day of blues Saturday to Berg’s Field in the far northern reaches of the state.
The festival, which coorganizer (and Woodbridge native) Tom Deegan of East Hartland calls “the only true blues festival in Connecticut,” will feature New Orleans harmonica and accordion player “Jumpin’ Johnny” Sansone, Debbie Davies, “Mississippi” Johnny Rawls, Albert Castiglia, the Stacy Brooks Band, the Balkun Brothers and Jake Kulak and The Lowdown.
Tickets are $40 at the gate. Children’s tickets (ages 6-12) are $5. Under 6 free.
Doors open at 9 a.m. and Connecticut’s young, highly regarded Balkun Brothers from West Hartford will kick things off at 11 a.m., Deegan said.
Deegan, who organized the festival with his fiance, Charlotte Silkey, said he expects to grow from last year’s 685 attendees to 1,200 to 1,500 this year.
This year’s festival will be on a similar scale “but it’s bigger in a lot of ways,” Deegan said. “There are more vendors, more people.”
Beyond that, “Everybody that’s playing at our festival this year is a headliner, and it was very hard to decide who to make the headliner,” Deegan said. “That being said, we decided to go with Johnny Sansone as the headliner.”
Indeed, they just as easily could have chosen Davies, a Connecticut resident, one-time disciple of the late Albert Collins and one of the leading female blues guitarists in the world, or Rawls or Castiglia for the closing role.
Rawls is all about a southern soul blues groove while Castiglia, a onetime member of Junior Wells’ band, is more of an incendiary guitar slinger. The Stacy Brooks Band won the 2013 DC Blues Battle of the Bands.
The Balkun Brothers, still in their 20s, have been on a bit of a roll in recent years, winning both the Connecticut Blues Society Band Challenge and the Top Emerging Artist award at Milwaukee’s giant Summerfest this year, among other accolades.
“I just think that they’re right on the verge of taking off,” said Deegan.
Kulak, 14, from Glastonbury, will play perform short sets on a smaller stage between main stage sets. He played at the International Blues Challenge’s Youth Showcase last year.