Blues and Jazz Festival presents Stone Free Tribute to Jimi Hendrix

February 6, 2020   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

A Stone Free Tribute to Jimi Hendrix is playing this Friday, February 7 at the Opera House as the major fund-raising event for Orangeville’s annual Blues and Jazz Festival.

“This year we decided to try something new,” said Larry Kurtz, co-founder of the festival, of the upcoming concert and major fundraiser for the annual Blues and Jazz Festival, “Instead of the event at the Best Western [Inn and Conference Centre], that we’d stage a concert at the Opera House. This year, we’re not doing a silent auction but we’re selling raffle tickets for each of the donated items. So, you can bid on specific prizes and the best one wins. The event will be a licensed reception before it starts. The doors will open at 7:00 p.m. and the show will start at 8:00 p.m.”

Although this is called a Tribute, Mr. Kurtz explained, “This show is not people dressed up and trying to imitate Jimi Hendrix. This show is about his stories which they will and then, each of them plays his own version of the Hendrix songs. So, the audience get to enjoy the music and the special take each musician has on Jimi’s songs. Stories about his life and their versions – this is a different type of show, more like a concert. There’ll be two sets, a break and then, they’ll do another set.

Jimi Hendrix, one of those fascinating moths to the fire, had an extremely short career of four years, when he died of a sleeping pill overdose on September 17, 1970 at only 27 years old. The music he created and the powerful and, in many incidences, the quite extraordinary effects he produced with guitar and the amplifiers, impressed and changed performers years old than he, in age and experience.

Speaking of experience, by late 1966, he had given his music as much of a label as he wanted it to have: Free Feeling. It began the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

“There are three guitar players with their versions of the music. Dylan Wickens is an awesome blues guitarist, who has played our festival before. This is a show he’s put together and performed elsewhere. So, we’re very excited to have come here to perform it for us.”

There are, as Mr. Kurtz noted, three guitarists bringing their own styles and version of the Hendrix hits to this stage

Dylan Wickensalso plays elsewhere with his band, a blues groove/swamp rockers band, called Dylan Wickens and the Grand Naturals, of which Mike Rajna is the drummer. However, Mr. Wickens and Mr. Rajna have another alliance they call the Northern Social. This guitar and drums only duo came together by a series of surprises, as so many music partnerships do. Not surprisingly though, Mike Rajna is also part of this Jimi Hendrix Stone Free Tribute, as the drummer.

Dan McKinnon is joining the party, a guitarist and singer/songwriter from the Maritimes, where he learned the importance of stories and of telling them, in song. Raised in a family that loved the tales and the music, Mr McKinnon has a life time (so far) of touring and sharing his style of Maritime and blues music as far away as Australia. His will be an interesting take of Jimi Hendrix’s music.

The third of these talented chaps is Wayne DeAdder, a Juno nominated songwriter, with a special interest and connection to the SASH guitars, which is a company – a shop they called themselves – specializing in focussing basically on the “development and production of unique instruments for professional guitar players..” who feel there can something more to life than a standard guitar. Mr. DeAdder’s association with the firm has led to his exercising his testing many of these and playing, in particular, his own Wayne DeAdder SASH guitar. A well known guitarist throughout the Blues world, Wayne DeAdder’s touring has taken him across Europe in 2010 with Jimmy Bowskill.

Keeping the whole in rhythm is Ryan Allen on bass guitar.

Why Jimi for this concert? “Well he’s a rock guitar god,” reported Larry Kurtz, “also based in the blues when he started. I wanted to try something different. We’ve been having some for the best blues musicians, playing their original songs. This show did very well when it played in Stratford and they brought it back because it sold out twice. Not the festival but in the town,

“At 18 years, we’re still having fun. I have fun doing the bookings, which I am right now. I like that. It’s hard work but that’s okay. At this point, we have a lot of help, great volunteers and a lot of experienced volunteers. It’s very easy for people to sign up to be a volunteer. We have a great volunteer coordinator who gets back to everybody personally.

“Sometimes, I go down to Memphis for the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. There are 250 acts from all over the world. This year, a Canadian band won, a new band. Two of the members have played here. Lead singer from the Commotions, JW Jones and Jeff Rogers, lead singer for Commotions and Jamie Holmes are the new band, the HOROJO Trio.

“The Blues and Jazz Festival brings in the best musicians from Canada and internationally,” Mr. Kurtz assured the Citizen. He wanted to stress, “This concert is very important to the Blues and Jazz Festival. As the festival goes along, it’s not a given that it happens, every year. Some grants expired; some are reduced. There are grants but nothing is a guarantee. We constantly have to fund raise. This is our most important fund raiser and we’d like to sell out.”

This year, the show is at the Opera House, Friday, February 7 – that’s tomorrow. For Tickets go to the Box office at 87 Broadway; by telephone at 519-942-3423 or online at


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