SELINSGROVE — A last-minute cancellation changed the entertainment for this event and resulted in free admission for all.
The Blues, Brews, & BBQ Festival, featuring legendary Joe Louis Walker, the Ann Kerstetter Band, and Jeff Oshetski, will take place 4 to 10 p.m. on Saturday at the Susquehanna Valley Event Center.
After unforeseeable contractual obligations caused Dana Fuchs to cancel her appearance at the event, organizers felt there was “no other acceptable action” than to refund all reserved tickets.
“We don’t do refunds on a regular basis,” said Ben Ehrsam, owner along with his parents, Ed and Kathy Ehrsam, of the Susquehanna Valley Event Center. “However, when the main headliner cancels, you just don’t hold onto someone’s money and not give them a refund. To me, that’s just wrong.”
Even after replacing Fuchs with talented, popular artists, the Ehrsams decided to go ahead with offering the musical event at no charge. Joe Louis Walker will headline the festival, supported by the energetic Ann Kerstetter Band and a solo set by singer/songwriter Jeff Oshetski.
“Jeff Oshetski plays all kinds of different music,” Ehrsam said. “He’s got about every music genre out there. He’ll be performing some blues.”
With a career that exceeds half a century, Joe Louis Walker is a Blues Hall of Fame inductee and four-time Blues Music Award winner.
“Joe Louis Walker has won national awards for his music. He is definitely a well-known blues artist,” Ehrsam said.
Ann Kerstetter’s onstage energy makes for a memorable performance. She recalled a fan recently telling her, “You’re crazy. We love it.”
“I’m an entertainer. I can’t help it,” Kerstetter said. “I love to talk to people while on stage. I don’t think anybody would ever accuse me of being what I call a wallpaper musician.”
“I love Ann, and I love the music she plays,” Ehrsam said. “I think she is just amazing. She has a great way of interacting with the crowd.”
The Ehrsams tried to host a Blues, Brews & BBQ Festival last year, but it was canceled due to COVID-19 issues. They’re looking forward to it this year, with at least seven breweries, wineries and distilleries as well as a number of food trucks.
“We have a lot of room (to spread out socially),” Ehrsam said. “We try to make the best atmosphere possible.”
The Susquehanna Valley Event venue is flat and ADA accessible. Guests are welcome to bring lawn chairs, blankets or 10×10 easy-ups. Backpacks are permitted and subject to search.
The event will feature the different options of beverages, free entertainment and plenty of food.
“It’s a little bit of everything,” Ehrsam said. “We just rolled with what we had and made it a free event.”
Cindy O. Herman lives in Snyder County. Email comments to her at CindyOHerman@gmail.com