Starting back in the early 1990s, Washburn became home to one of the best blues venues north of the 45th parallel.

For a number of years, blues bands with regional and national reputations entertained audiences that were not only amazed by the performances but also by the fact that it was happening in Washburn, instead of far away in a big city. The name of that venue was The Brokedown Palace.

It has been many years since ‘The Palace’ closed down but it remains a kind of ideal in the minds of those who experienced it. It just didn’t get any better than that. Long since, The Brokedown Palace has been dearly missed and often remembered.

Unfortunately, that old building is not currently available for live performance. However, as is often said, ‘when one door closes another sometimes opens’. And so, at long last, The Blues is coming back to Washburn this spring.

The Washburn Brokedown Blues Festival is slated for Friday and Saturday, April 13 and 14 at the Harbor View Event Center (the former Steak Pit Supper Club) on Lake Superior in Washburn at 130 Harbor View Drive.

Here’s the festival’s line-up:

Friday 5:30 PM., the doors open at The Harbor View.

• Deja Bleu will open the show at 6:30 p.m. Expect Big Blues with a dash of reggae. Big Fun!

• The Tommy Bentz Band from River Falls takes the stage from 9 p.m. to Midnight. Awesome guitar. A tight blues trio with great original songs . (Think Clapton.)

Delta Diner Food and Catering will be serving food on-site both days. Lodging is available at the Washburn Inn (adjacent to the Harbor View) at special festival rates: (715) 373-5671

Saturday, 2:00PM. the doors open. General admission only.

• At 3 p.m. will be Randy Sabien and The Subterraneans. This is an All Star band of regional heroes fronted by Mr. Sabien. Not predictable but highly anticipated. Look for Andy (‘Not Randy’) Dee, ‘Solid Joe’ Lindzius and Ed (‘Led Skillet’) Willet.

• At 6p.m., Otis & The Alligators... bring their WAMI Award winning ’tail shakin' blues' back to Washburn for this very rare appearance. Don’t miss it. They were Brokedown Palace pioneers; the very first band to play ‘The Palace’ and were celebrated regulars thereafter.

• Howard Leudtke and Blue Max will play from 9 p.m. to midnight. This band also played at ‘The Palace’ back in the day. Stylistically, Howard came from the ‘Johnnie Winter school’ of guitar but he’s taken it someplace else. Make no mistake, Howard is Howard. Prepare to be amazed.

TICKETS are limited to 300 per day. Advance tickets are highly recommended. Tickets are available at the Washburn Inn at 128 Harbor View Drive, Washburn, WI 54891 during business hours or by calling (715) 373-5671 or via email:

Tickets are also available (Mon. – Thu. 9AM - 4:30PM) from the Washburn Chamber of Commerce 126 W Bayfield St, Washburn, WI 54891 (715)-373-5017

Ticket Prices: Friday only: $20. Saturday only: $35. Fri and Sat (purchased together): $45. All tickets are general admission. Look for The Washburn Brokedown Blues Festival on Facebook.

The Washburn Brokedown Blues Festival is sponsored by The Washburn Inn. It is produced by American Heritage Productions a 501c(3) non-profit organization.

(Copyright © 2019 APG Media)

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