These days, Dar Lopez approaches the Riverwalk Blues and Music Festival with a degree of humility. It's rooted, perhaps, in the organizer's abiding respect for the event's late founder, Don Cohen, who inaugurated the all-day party in the parking lot of the Musicians Exchange, a Fort Lauderdale concert venue, and who eventually courted to his festival the likes of blues giants Buddy Guy and John Lee Hooker.
"We're a skeleton crew of two," says Lopez, referring to her husband and co-organizer, Gerardo. "It's our job just to try to keep it going, even if it's not a monster festival, anymore."
Performing inside and on the back lot of the Downtowner Saloon will be down-home rocker Albert Castiglia, Joel DaSilva and the Midnight Howl, Joey Gilmore and Ben Prestage, alongside 2012 Blues Music Awards nominees Trampled Under Foot and JP Soars and the Red Hots.
The Blues Foundation, which hosts the music awards, is lending three of its 2013 nominated films to the Florida Blues Film Festival. Screening are "We Juke Up in Here: Mississippi's Juke Joint Culture at the Crossroads," "Muddy Waters and the Rolling Stones: Live at the Checkerboard Lounge" and "The Lucky Peterson Band Featuring Tamara Peterson: Live at the 55 Arts Club Berlin." The full lineup is available at BluesFilmFest.com.
The Riverwalk Blues and Music Festival will begin noon Saturday at the Downtowner Saloon, 10 S. New River Drive E., in Fort Lauderdale. The Florida Blues Film Festival will follow at noon Sunday. Tickets cost $10-$20 daily, $25 for festival pass. Call 954-399-2583 or go to RiverwalkBluesFestival.com.