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Blues, barbecue and bursts of rain

Hundreds attend sometimes-soggy Bluegrass BBQ Festival in downtown Lexington

By Lorie Hailey
The Lane Report staff

Local blues legend Tee Dee Young closed out the Bluegrass BBQ Festival in the rain with his unique style of music and humorous stage antics. (Photos by Lorie Hailey/TLR staff)

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Intermittent rain showers did not dampen the spirits at the Bluegrass BBQ Festival in downtown Lexington this weekend, where hundreds of barbecue lovers packed Courthouse Plaza to get a taste of good food and great music.

Lexington residents Anthony and Cara Spare enjoyed barbecue nachos and pulled pork from City Barbecue.

In its third year, the festival featured 12 pitmasters and 17 vendors, including Red State BBQ, City Barbecue and J. Render’s along with worldly flavors from Fida’s Caribbean Cafe and Thai-inspired barbecue from Jasmine Rice. Fried chicken, kettle corn, ice cream and other cool treats were also on hand. A backyard pitmaster competition on Saturday featured 10 contestants in two categories; the winners took home Big Green Egg charcoal barbecue cookers.

Entertainment was provided by local and regional musicians from a mix of genres, including Josyln & The Sweet Compression (funk and R&B), Magnolia Boulevard (southern rock/blues), Restless String Band (“progressive Bluegrass”) and others. Local blues legend Tee Dee Young closed out the festival Saturday night, playing to an enthusiastic — albeit wet — crowd.

Young got his start playing guitar sitting by the railroad tracks as a child and formed his first band at the age of 14. He has opened for legendary musicians Johnny Rawls, Al Green, Aretha Franklin, James Brown and many others. In 2011, he was named Beale Street Blues King by the Beale Street Merchant Association in Memphis. He owns a nightclub in Lexington, Tee Dee’s Blues Club on 2nd Street, where he plays every Monday night.

Festival-goers often waited in long lines this weekend to sample the offerings of 12 pitmasters and other vendors.