Sharlee Hell, left, and Darci Hale, both of Cortez, Colo., serve a homemade wood-fired pizza on Saturday during the Animas River Blues and Brews Festival
Sharlee Hell, left, and Darci Hale, both of Cortez, Colo., serve a homemade wood-fired pizza on Saturday during the Animas River Blues and Brews Festival at Riverside Park in Aztec. (Alexa Rogals/The Daily Times)

AZTEC — Armed with blankets, lawn chairs and umbrellas, blues music enthusiasts flocked on Saturday to Riverside Park in Aztec for the ninth annual Animas Rivers Blues and Brews Festival.

The festival started Friday with a concert at Crash Music in downtown Aztec and continued Saturday.

Teresa James and the Rhythm Tramps, from Los Angeles, headlined the concert on Saturday. Other performers included Chicago blues band Studebaker John and The Hawks, Bad Brad and The Fat Cats from Austin, Texas, Albuquerque's Todd Tijerina Trio and Shawn Arrington, who is from Farmington.

Katee McClure, the festival organizer, said the kick-off concert was a success and attracted lots of people. Its popularity wasn't surprising for McClure."Nobody doesn't like the blues," she said. "It's the root of rock and roll."

Sally and James North, whose family runs the Weenie Wagon out of Evans, Colo., traveled down to Aztec to the festival.

"We thought it would be a good way to get our name out there," Sally North said.

The couple brought their 1-year-old son, Lincoln, who enjoyed dancing to the music.

"He loves to dance," Sally North said.

The Norths weren't the only people from out-of-town at the festival.

Kathleen Nolan was traveling through Aztec from her home in Washington state she saw a sign advertising the festival in an Aztec store.

The Washington resident remembers music festivals in Seattle, such as the Northwest Folklife Festival.

"It was a wonderful surprise to find this here in Aztec," she said.

Lindzie Gunnick, 13, has been going to the festival for years.

"We come every year, and we just have fun and hang out," she said.

On Saturday afternoon, she sat in the shade of a tent and got a henna tattoo. The henna on her foot formed the phrase "refuse to sink," and an anchor was carefully drawn onto her foot beneath the words.

Gunnick said the message reminds her not to give up.

Like Gunnick, Scott Smith also attends the festival each year. He said he likes that the festival brings "off beat" music that you wouldn't hear on the radio to people in Aztec.

"This area needs more out-of-the ordinary activities," he said.

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.