By Carlos Melgar Vasquez

People in South King County are looking forward to this year’s Poverty Bay Blues and Brews Fest this Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023, from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., a grassroots, live music fundraiser event that has been around for the last 16 years.

Not only has this been a fun event to wind down the end of summer with friends, but one that will help people in need in our community.

Blues and Brews is an event where people come down to Des Moines Beach Park to listen to live, top-tier musical acts, along with a varied and irresistible selection of food and drinks which are provided by the best brewers and award winning artists. This is made possible by roughly 40 volunteer community members/Rotarians, all with a passion for not only their talents, but helping their community in their own ways.

Here are some of the things these community leaders have to say about Blues and Brews, and what they’re looking forward to this year.

Rotarian and Blues & Brews Chairperson Brian Snure had this to say: 

“Blues and Brews is able to help people since 100% of all funds go towards the multiple charities this event sponsors. This is made up by an all-volunteer force who have their focus on their talents, and how to aid people. Helping people in poverty, homelessness, international students, and one of the projects I’m the most proud of: The Highline music4life program. Which gives funds to refurbish and give instruments to students in schools. We can help people in a way that also brings each other together with blues. I want everyone to come out and enjoy the music, and volunteer even. And if you can’t participate, help someone, regardless of how small it might seem.”

Rotarian/Blues & Brews Organizer Bonnie Verhunce, manager of the breweries said:

“I’m looking forward to the great music, along with the variety of drinks, where there’s something for every taste. The goal for the drinks and the event as a whole go to fund charities, like the food bank abundance program, along with ones that help kids dealing with homelessness. In order to make this happen, I’ve been working this event every year to set up the beer tent and wineries. The goal is to set up a great variety of drinks for the people coming down. I want people to enjoy themselves, but also know they’re helping out. This is a great place to live, and we want to make it even better for everyone.”

In charge of the music scene is Rotarian/Blues & Brews Organizer Steve Swank, who said:

“I’m incredibly proud of the music4life program. Where other school districts are shutting down music projects, we’re doing what we can to make the passion for this art flourish for our students. I’m additionally looking forward to the performances coming this year. They’re all fantastic and two of them are award winning acts. Some of my favorite artists from the past events include: Too Slim and the Taildraggers, the Stacey Jones band, Rick Estrin and the Nightcats, and so many more. I like all music and keep an open mind, so it’s always exciting to see what new acts come by every year. One of my favorite memories from Blues and Brews was from a couple years ago. Biggest storm in ages hit the event. But instead of it ruining it, we simply moved and continued having a fantastic time, with nothing being canceled.”

Rotarian Catherine Carbone Rogers, one of the very first organizers, said:

“The part I always loved was getting the community together, and helping it in turn. We support things such as sending out scholarships, aiding the Highline schools foundation, and many others. I’m also looking forward to the drinks, and the food which is being made by Cafe Pacifica. The concert is something I can’t wait to see since the atmosphere is fantastic, with the local park making you feel much closer with the people performing. Ever since being a rotarian since 2006, I’m still amazed by how much it has grown in attendance compared to the beginning. It took a lot of hard work to make that happen, since this is something that requires all hands on deck, and the entire year to make it possible. We’re here to raise money and have fun while doing it. Everyone in the rotary welcomes you here!”

Rotarian/Blues & Brews Organizer Scott Craig said:

“The organization started with giving out funds to the Highline School district. Which then became a fundraiser for multiple donations, such as food aid, scholarships, and other kinds of social help. More specific examples include: Giving out money to kids so they could afford bicycles, fencing for little league teams, helping at-risk youth, Harvest against hunger, and the Genesis project, which is there to help and get people out of human trafficking. It’s possible for these people to get the help they need because of Blues and Brews, and I’m grateful to be a part of this event.”

Everyone has put in their all into making this event possible for the last 16 years, and are willing to work as hard as possible to bring it into the foreseeable future.

The community leaders welcome you to come down this Saturday, Aug. 26 for this year’s Blues and Brews! Not only to have a great time, but to chip in to make people’s lives better. 

Tickets and more information available at:

Here’s the lineup of bands:

Kenny James Miller Band
11:30 am – 1:00 p.m.

YouTube player

Too Slim &
The Taildraggers
1:30 – 3:00 p.m.

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Johnny Wheels &
The Swamp Donkeys
3:30 – 5:00 p.m.

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Rick Estrin &
The Nightcats
5:30 – 7:00 p.m.

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Carlos Melgar Vasquez is a Des Moines resident, a graduate of Mount Rainer High School, and a current student of Bellevue College.

Since 2007, The B-Town Blog is Burien’s multiple award-winning hyperlocal news/events website dedicated to independent journalism.