Seattle's Highway 99 Blues Club has received a Keeping the Blues Alive award from the Blues Foundation.
The Highway 99 Blues Club, Seattle’s longest-running club devoted to the blues, received word Monday (Nov. 21) from the Blues Foundation, in Memphis, Tenn., that it had won a 2017 Keeping the Blues Alive award.
“We are really excited and honored to have been named a KBA recipient,” said the club’s founder, Steve Sarkowsky, in a news release. “After 12 years of effort, tremendous support from our fans, the artists and the blues community, it feels great to bring the award back to the Northwest and Seattle in particular.”
Sarkowsky and Ed Maloney, who operates the club, opened Highway 99 in 2004. Located under the Alaskan Way Viaduct, Highway 99 has weathered a rent increase brought on by the Seattle real estate boom as well as traffic and parking problems caused by the waterfront tunnel project.
According to its website, the Blues Foundation presents Keeping the Blues Alive (KBA) awards to “individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the blues world.” The Blues Foundation praised Seattle’s 12-year-old blues venue for presenting live music five nights a week and for including national touring artists such as Janiva Magness, Bobby Rush and Duke Robillard as well as established regional bands and up-and-coming talent.
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KBA recipients are non-performing contributors to the art form. They are selected by a panel of blues professionals. Among the 15 other recipients this year were the Briggs Farm Blues Festival, in Pennsylvania; Greaseland Studios, in San Jose; and Blues and Soul Records, in Tokyo, Japan. The Winthrop Rhythm and Blues Festival in Winthrop, Okanogan County, received a KBA award in 2016.
The Blues Foundation will present the 2017 KBA Awards Friday, February 3, 2017, at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown Memphis, Tenn.