The Belairs, Chump Change and The Fried Crawdaddies — groups The Blue Note and Mojo’s owner Richard King calls “great fun, really good and the perfect kickoff” — will launch Ninth Street Summerfest on Wednesday.
This will be the fourth year for the downtown outdoor event, and King, who organizes Summerfest, has been pleased with the success of past summers.
“We’re hoping for more of the same,” King said.
Summerfest began as the brainchild of King and C.K. Hoenes, then proprietor of W.G. Grinder’s. With strong support from Columbia businesses and popularity among attendees, King said, Summerfest has since taken off. Acts have included local bands as well as national acts. In 2005, the band Wilco drew an estimated 3,000 people.
King said that this year, with better promotions and increased support from radio, television and local sponsors, Columbia residents can expect another successful series.
The three bands in Wednesday’s lineup boast firm roots in the blues tradition. With The Blue Note selling beer and various sponsors selling food, concert-goers can eat, drink and browse the shops and restaurants of North Ninth Street.
For some Ninth Street businesses, the event marks one of the season’s highlights. Italian eatery Trattoria Strada Nova is promoting Summerfest by sponsoring the VIP room at Cucina Sorella across the street, said Trattoria’s Rocky Galloway.
Ninth Street Deli, which is located at the edge of the stage, benefits from the Summerfest crowds.
“It rocked us last summer,” said deli employee Mike Daroli.