Everything You Need To Know About The 2019 Big Blues Bender

For the last five years, Las Vegas has played host to one of the biggest events on the annual blues calendar, the Big Blues Bender. Hype around the festival has become so big that the organizers have had to move to a larger location. In the past, it had been held at the Riviera Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas strip, but this year it will be moved to the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on Paradise Road. This epic location will make the event even better than before, and the sprawling resort is preparing to welcome some of the hottest acts in the business, including Robert Cray and Little Steven & the Disciples of Soul. The event will take place in the first week of September this year, and blues fans from all over the world are likely to flock to the hotel for some exhilarating entertainment.

Big Blues Bender Moves to Bigger Location in Las Vegas

The Big Blues Bender has been making waves on the blues scene since the inaugural festival in 2014. The first ever five-day jazz and blues festival got off to a bang with B.B. King as the headliner at the Riviera Hotel and Casino. The resort was the old stomping ground of the Rat Pack, so it seemed appropriate to use the venue for such an esteemed event. This festival featured one of King’s last ever live performances, as the ailing rock and roll legend had to cancel the rest of his 2014 tour due to health problems. The King of Blues died in May of 2015, and those who saw one of this final shows were privileged to have done so. Alongside the legendary musician, Tab Benoit and Tommy Castro & the Painkillers also made up the first-ever Big Blues Bender lineup. AJ Gross, the founder and co-producer of the event, said “we want blues fans from across the world to come feel the love”.

The Las Vegas blues event has been getting bigger each year since the first ever edition, and thus has had to move to a larger location for this year’s festival to cope with the amount of people flocking to it. The sixth anniversary of the event will take place on the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th of September this year, and there is a bill of over thirty well-established acts scheduled to appear on stage. The new venue is designed to ensure a world class experience, which is still affordable for revelers. There are various deals on rooms available within the resort ranging from budget-friendly options to luxurious suites.

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino is an Incredible Setting

The main reason for the change of venue for this thrilling blues event is the sheer scale of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Blues fans will make their way there for the line-up of world-renowned musicians, but the experience will be maximized by the amount of additional activities that are available to holidaymakers.

For kicking back and relaxing, there are a couple of stunning pools to enjoy. The Nirvana and Dish Pools are found on the second level close to the Reliquary Spa. The spa aims to provide a sensory feast that will make visitors feel as though they are on a vacation within a vacation. Of course, on the other end of the scale, there’s the excitement of playing the table games at the world class casino owned by the Virgin Hotels group. There are various blackjack and roulette games on offer, with American roulette being the most popular option. According to the Betway online roulette guide, this is the most high-octane Vegas offering. After playing the games, there are a vast amount of options in terms of dining. MB Steak, NOBU, and Mr Lucky’s are some of the most notable options. The latter is a 24/7 diner, which is ideal for visitors whose body clocks have got a bit out of sync.

What are the Best Acts to Look Out For?

The headline act at the Big Blues Bender this year is Robert Cray, one of the best-known blues performers in the world. The winner of five Grammy Awards was inducted to the Blues Hall of Fame in 2011 and received the Americana Music Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance in 2017. The 65-year-old has performed alongside some of the most influential musicians of all time, including Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, and Stevie Ray Vaughan at the Alpine Valley Music Theatre in 1990. Cray is definitely considered among the top blues acts to see live at least once in a lifetime.

Another big act to play on the same stage as Cray is Little Steven & the Disciples of Soul, the band led by well-known musician and actor Steven Van Zandt. Outside of the blues scene, Little Steven is renowned for his roles as Silvio Dante in The Sopranos between 1999 and 2007 and Frank Tagliano in Lilyhammer from 2012 to 2014. The 68-year-old is also a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band and plays guitar and mandolin when supporting the Boss. With the band, Zandt was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. In addition to these amazing performers, Big Blues Bender-goers will be excited to see the likes of Tab Benoit, Ruthie Foster, and the Allman Betts Band.

The Big Blues Bender is getting bigger in scale each year, and this move to the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino will prove to be a significant one in its growth. Blues fans will surely want to check this out and will have a number of other entertaining things to do there during their stay.

Marina Biljak

Pete Francis

Pete Francis is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Blues Rock Review. Pete launched Blues Rock Review full-time in 2011 because he felt there was a major void in how the blues rock genre was covered. Pete is the host of Blues Rock Weekly and a co-host on the Blues Rock Show.

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