'Blairfest' music festival to honor late downtown Las Vegas musician
In early September, the local music scene lost one of its most beloved artists, Blair Dewane. He sang and co-wrote songs for two of Las Vegas’ most prominent bands, The Skooners and Rusty Maples.
He could be found at local gigs even when his acts weren’t scheduled to play, whether doling out drinks behind the bar or supporting his fellow musicians.
His loss is so deeply felt among musicians and fans, a full weekend of musical tributes is planned for this weekend, including two charity shows on two stages at the Plaza hotel.
Ryan Pardey is a co-organizer of those events. He was the entertainment manager of the now-shuttered Bunkhouse Saloon, and his band Halloween Town is one of several bands performing at the tribute shows.
Pardey said Dewane had a quick wit. "As a friend, it was a pleasure getting to work with him every day. … He was a powerful he was a force to be reckoned with on the stage. He he had this gorgeous voice and a persona that he was just able to connect with everybody."
On the event, he said it was worth spreading over two days.
"I guess we could have crammed it all into one day, but there's going to be fellow musicians that are traveling for the weekend. They'll be staying at the Plaza; there'll be family traveling in for this that have been … their lives have just been devastated," he said. "And on top of that, there were so many bands, artists that Blair touched, that we couldn't exclude and I'm sure we still did. It was quite really easy to fill up two nights of music and we throw on [a] karaoke night at the end just to kind of polish off the weekend and make an event out of it."
There are 20 local acts scheduled, and Dewane's brother, Ian Dewane will be performing, as well. Friday night will include Jason Harris, CoCo Jenkins, Late for Dinner, Dark Black, Hassan, Dusty Sunshine and Glass Pools. The following night will include Mercy Music, Pardey's band Halloween Town, Indigo Kidd, Trevor and the Joneses and more.
"He was just so enigmatic, so charming, so irreverence. So funny. And that doesn't even kind of start to talk about his music and his voice and how that could have an effect on you and how it moved me and challenged me," Pardey said.