July 12, 2024

Avey Grouws Band to headline Bowlful of Blues 2024

Brandon Santini, Steve E. George Band, The Sears Band also perform Sept. 1

Avey Grouws Band is to headline the 2024 Bowlful of Blues music festival on Sept. 1 at Maytag Park in Newton.

For most people, the summertime blues is either an Alan Jackson anthem or a terrible seasonal affliction, but in Newton it’s the feeling you get having to wait for the Bowlful of Blues to arrive later this season. Thankfully, the organizers at the South Skunk Blues Society have created a lineup of favorites to look forward to.

Headlining this year’s blue festival is the Avey Grouws Band, which is a name that blues fanatics around the area should be accustomed to. They’re no strangers to the park or the Maytag Bowl, and they have even performed at a Blues Under the Blue Roof event at the Newton Public Library a few years back.

Blending blues, rock and soul into a powerful live performance, the Quad Cities-based band is led by vocalist Jeni Grouws and guitarist Chris Avey. Oh! So that’s where the name comes from! Ever since the band met at a blues jam on the Iowa side of the Mississippi River, they’ve been making waves and climbing charts.

Brandon Santini will also be taking the Maytag Bowl stage with some top-of-the-line harmonica play. The Illinois-based musician has his fair share of accolades, too, including a number of Blues Music Awards nominations and an endorsement from Hohner brand harmonicas. Oh yeah. He definitely knows his blues harps.

Of course there are also Iowa-based bands joining the stage. Steve E. George Band is a veteran of the Des Moines music scene and has performed in clubs all over the country. The Sears Band has played just about everywhere in Newton, so we know the locals are going to enjoy this opening act.

South Skunk Blues Society announced Clayton Ryan will be on stage in between sets. The 2024 Bowlful of Blues will be held noon to 9 p.m. Sept. 1 at Maytag Park. Mike Cooling, president of South Skunk Blues Society, has always said the Bowlful of Blues is his favorite time of the year. This year is no different.

Especially when it comes to the artists who will be performing onstage to a packed park of blues enthusiasts. Cooling is already pumped for Santini.

“This guy is a wiz on harp,” Cooling said. “Avey Grouws played for us when they were just getting going here a few years back, and they’ve done several things for us. They are just amazing. Every time I hear them they just get so much better. They’re just an amazing group of people.”

Avey Grouws has even expanded its band from the last time they appeared at Maytag Bowl. Cooling said they added keyboards and horns and backup vocals to make it one helluva live performance. By the end of the night, Cooling said some of the past performers will join Avey Grouws to jam out onstage.

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig has a strong passion for community journalism and covers city council, school board, politics and general news in Newton, Iowa and Jasper County.