The Central Delaware Blues Society will host its inaugural music festival, the Roadhouse Blues Fest, at Jonathan's Landing Golf Course in Magnolia on Sunday.

The Central Delaware Blues Society will host its inaugural music festival, the Roadhouse Blues Fest, at Jonathan’s Landing Golf Course in Magnolia on Sunday.

Chris Duarte Group will headline the shindig, which also will feature Johnny Never and Zep Harpo, Lower Case Blues and Eric Steckel.

Who’s Chris Duarte?

With a catalog of a dozen albums, it’s not uncommon for Chris Duarte to play a two-hour show that doesn’t include a given fan’s favorite song.

That’s actually a good problem to have for the Texas-blues singer-songwriter, since some blues acts can only dream of having such an extensive body of work

The Chris Duarte Group’s performance at Jonathan’s Landing on Sunday will be an encore to the last show they played at the venue in March.

“Johnathan’s Landing has turned out to be a really fun experience for the Chris Duarte Group,” Duarte said. “You don’t know what to expect when you pull up to a golf clubhouse and then you stroll through the pro-shop to the event hall and suddenly everybody in attendance in the hall is happy to see you.”

Central Delaware Blues Society (CDBS) President Barry Pugh said he’s looking forward to another fantastic show by Duarte this weekend.

“We’re very excited to have him back,” Pugh said. “He’s a great musician.”

Three to see

Kicking off the Roadhouse Blues Fest will be the duo Johnny Never and Zep Harpo at 1 p.m. Based in Media, Pa., the duo plays the original style of Delta blues. That’s pretty unique considering most groups have put their own twists on the genre, Pugh said.

Next on deck will be the power trio Lower Case Blues at 2:30 p.m. Based in Rehoboth Beach, Lower Case Blues will be the only Delaware act to play the festival.

“They’re just great, fantastic musicians,” Pugh said. “They’re lead guitarist Jake Banaszak is just one of the very best in the local area.”

The last opening act will be guitar-slinging youngster Eric Steckel at 4:30 p.m.

“He made his first CD in April of 2002, and he was only 11 years old,” Pugh said. “He’s a prodigy. There are not many people who could have done that at 11 years old. He’s pretty exciting.”

Evolution of the CDBS

While this will be the inaugural Roadhouse Blue Fest, the event’s roots date back to 2012, a year before the CDBS was officially formed.

It was then that Jonathan’s Landing Director of Golf Craig Coffield decided on a whim to bring national blues singer-songwriter Albert Castiglia to the golf course, after hearing his music on a Comcast blues channel. Coffield reached out to Castiglia on Facebook about performing at Jonathan’s Landing and the singer-songwriter obliged.

“It was a pleasant surprise,” said Coffield, who later founded the CDBS in 2013.

After Catiglia, Coffield started bringing in more nationally known blues artists to Jonathan’s Landing on a monthly basis. He also started up a blues jam, which is held at 7 p.m. on Thursdays. Each week the event is hosted by a different veteran blues act that performs for an hour before inviting other musicians in the crowd to jam with them.

Two years after Castiglia’s concert, the CDBS will launch its first blues festival on Sunday.

“We’re really making great strides to be able to do this at this point in our young life,” Pugh said. “I think it shows we have good community support and a base of people that really understand and love the blues.”

What’s next for the CDBS?

The CDBS currently has more than 120 members and plans to grow by bringing in more national acts and relying on word of mouth.

After the Roadhouse Blues Fest ends, the CDBS’ next event will be an Oct. 19 blues contest. Competing bands will have the opportunity to play a 20-minute set in front of a panel of judges. A portion of the proceeds will be used to help send the contest winner to compete in the 2015 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn., in January.

The registration deadline for CDBS’s contest is Sept. 14.

Looking back at what he’s accomplished with the creation of the CDBS, Coffield said he can’t help but appreciate the support that the local blues community has shown the organization.

“I’m amazed at how well it’s been received,” he said.


WHAT Roadhouse Blues Fest, presented by Central Delaware Blues Society

WHEN 1 to 8 p.m., Sunday

WHERE Jonathan’s Landing Golf Course, 1309 Ponderosa Drive, Magnolia

COST $15 for general public; $10 for Central Delaware Blues Society members; paying $25 for CDBS’ annual membership fee will get you in the Blues Fest free

INFO Visit or call 697-8204