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Blues & BBQ returns to North Liberty this weekend



North Liberty Blues & BBQ

Saturday, July 9, Centennial Park, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.


The War and Treaty perform at the 2019 Hinterland Music Festival in St. Charles, Iowa. — Sophie McClatchey/Little Village

After two years of COVID cancellations, Blues & BBQ returns to North Liberty this Saturday. The 13-hour festival kicks off in Centennial Park (1565 St. Andrews Dr) at 10 a.m., with more than a dozen stands offering not only barbecue but sweet treats such as ice cream and shaved ice to help people stay cool under the summer sun.

Live music starts at 11 a.m., building up to this year’s headliners, The War and Treaty, who take the stage at 9 p.m.

Michael Trotter Jr. and Tanya Blount, partners in music and marriage, began performing together in 2014, adopting the name The War and Treaty in 2017. Their music is a fusion of Southern soul, gospel, country and rock-and-roll, and in recent years they opened for top-name acts from the Rev. Al Green to Jason Isbell.

The War and Treaty aren’t the only married musicians performing on Saturday. At 5 p.m. the Tanya English Band, an Iowa City husband-and-wife duo who started out with gigs on Monday nights at George’s Buffet, will play a 90-minute set.

The music starts at 11 a.m. with Quad Cities blues group the Avey Grouws Band. They’ll be followed by Chicago-based performer Nathan Graham, then the Sam Ross Quartet. Ross is a University of Iowa undergrad working on a degree in jazz performance.

Appearing between the Tanya English Band and The War and Treaty will be Nashville musician Lilly Hiatt.

In addition to plenty to eat, the festival also features a craft beer tent with 19 different beers, ale and ciders, as well as root beer and water. There will also be plenty of family friendly activities for adults and kids alike.

While the focus will be on fun, North Liberty is still part of Johnson County, so the fun will be as eco-friendly as possible, organizers promise.

“We appreciate your help in diverting festival waste from the landfill by following the lead of our eco-attendant volunteers stationed throughout the event,” they explain on the Blues & BBQ site. “Every slab of ribs will be served on a compostable container; the corner of every mouth will be dabbed by a compostable napkin; and if, for some reason, you need flatware instead of using your fingers, that will be compostable, too.”

North Liberty’s Blue & BBQ is open to all ages and free.


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