Pitmasters. Brewmasters. Blues masters.

That’s the lineup for the Four Roses Louisville Blues, Brews & BBQ Festival, which runs Friday and Saturday evenings at the historic Louisville Water Tower.

Yeah, yeah, we’re all about the food and beverages here at F&D.  

But first let’s give the musical lineup some love.

The headliners on both nights are hot Chicago blues outfits: Friday, Toronzo Cannon and The Chicago Way on Friday; Saturday, Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials. Both groups have plenty of blues bona-fides, and both record for the Alligator Records label.  The rest of the lineup includes a slew of local and regional favorites: The Saints; Big Poppa Stanley; The Revelators; King Bee & the Stingers; Laurie Jane & the 45.

On the beverage front, there’s something for everyone. In the Brews Tasting Area, more than two dozen microbrews will be available for sampling (and Budweiser products will be on hand). Gnarly Head and 1924 Wines will available. And folks looking for a more spirited beverage experience will find signature cocktails featuring Sailor Jerry Rum, Reyka Vodka, Milagro Tequila, Hendrick’s Gin, and of course the Festival’s title sponsor, Four Roses.

And yes, there will be plenty of barbecue. Scheduled vendors include City Barbecue. Bourbon Bent BBQ, Boss Hogg BBQ, and Rack House BBQ, and the menus will include slabs, pulled, pork, chicken, and plenty of room to explore sauces and rubs. (Dessert options will include Comfy Cow ice creams and Italian Ice.)

In fact, for the first time, the Festival is hosting the Kentuckiana BBQ Pitmasters Backyard BBQ  competition (presented by Kroger). 

Competitors will set up on Friday afternoon, work their pit magic overnight, and be judged on Saturday. Feel free to wander around on Friday evening and watch these folks work – but competitive BBQ is serious business, so don’t get in the way…. Arrive at the Festival early on Saturday (starting at 4 pm) and you may get a chance to sample some of the entries and vote for your fave in the “People’s Choice Award.” 

Feel free to bring lawn chairs and blankets (no pets or outside food or drink).

Friday, 5-11; Saturday, 4-11.

Tickets: Through Wednesday June 19, purchase discounted advance tickets online ($10 for a single day; $20 for a two-day pass). Walk-up tickets are $16 per day. Children under 10 are free (and parking is free.)

 For advance tickets, a detailed schedule, and other information: http://www.louisvillebluesandbbqfestival.com/