Czech Village Blues
Kicks Off in 2017

Article and artwork by Russ Fagle @russfagle

Cedar Rapids has long been considered a blues town. This didn’t happen by accident, it’s because there has long been a history of exceptional blues musicians from the area and an equally qualified audience for blues music. This tradition both continues and takes a new step forward with the first Czech Village Blues event to be held August 12 of this year.

The first ever Czech Village Blues performance is being co-hosted by the Linn County Blues Society and Friends of Czech Village. Both are 501 (c) (3) non-profit organizations within the State of Iowa. The organizers of this event -- as well as many music fans in the area -- hope Czech Village Blues can become an annual event and be a cornerstone in the area’s music events. Czech Village Blues actually is a sort of replacement for the popular Bluesmore blues music event that took place annually for 20 years, starting in 1994, at the historic Brucemore mansion grounds in Cedar Rapids. So, after a long and fruitful collaboration with Brucemore, the Linn County Blues Society was looking for a new partner and a new venue for an annual blues tour de force concert. Enter Friends of Czech Village. Over the past year, the Friends of Czech Village organization has been in the process of fundraising for the rebuilding of the old roundhouse market building that was a local icon in Czech Village since 1963 before being torn down in 2009. Michelle Bell, of the Friends of Czech Village, thought the area would be a great place for a blues concert and an opportunity to partner with the Linn County Blues Society to raise funds for the roundhouse rebuilding project. Not long after, Czech Village Blues was born, and it is hoped that it will become an annual event.

Taking place on August 12th on a closed off 16th Ave through the heart of Czech Village in Cedar Rapids, the concert will open at 5 pm with bands starting at 6 pm. The show will kick off with some of the area’s top talent and members of Iowa Blues and Iowa’s Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. Local favorites like Dennis “Daddy-O” McMurrin, Dan “DJ” Johnson, Craig Erickson, Bryce Janey, Bob Dorr, Eric Douglas, Tony Brown and others that have made the Cedar Rapids area a great place to enjoy top-end live blues music.

Headlining the event will be Joanna Connor. Hailing from the blues haven of Chicago, Connor sports a traditional, gritty blues sound that has earned her acclaim far and wide both as a formidable frontlady with a gutsy vocal ability but also a fierce and blistering lead guitar style that is all the things a blues fan hopes for. Like all great guitar players in the blues genre, Joanna smears emotion all over the guitar neck when she plays. She bends and slides with wrenching authority and summons the power of a steamship to hurl lamenting decibels into the audience. Joanna is a regular performer at the legendary Chicago blues Clinton Kingston Mines and other blues hotspots and is a protégé of Chicago blues legends James Cotton, Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, and A. C. Reed. Joanna has 11 albums and is currently touring in support of her latest one, “Six String Stories”. For a city always thirsty for great blues music, Joanna Connor and her band should be just what the doctor ordered. See you there August 12th!

Czech Village Blues will take place in the middle of Czech Village in Cedar Rapids on a closed off 16th Ave SW. please bring your own chairs. Outside food, drink and coolers are not permitted. There will be a variety of food trucks at the event as well as Czech Village merchants and restaurants being open. Gates open at 5 pm, music starts at 6 pm.

Learn more at: The Linn County Blues Society
Friends of Czech Village
Joanna Connor

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Tickets can be purchased online at or at one of these locations: White Lion Treasures, Parlor City Pub and Eatery and Q-Dogs BBQ.

Article sponsored by: Luckys on 16th

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