The hits just keep on coming for Downtown Binghamton. Last weekend (Sept. 8-9) was another successful LUMA festival. This weekend, Blues on the Bridge returns for its 21st year.

The free event Saturday (Sept. 16), featuring rock, blues and even a little jazz, is centered around the South Washington Street Bridge. For nearly two decades, it was held on a September Sunday, but organizers Donny Wilkins and Tom Martinos moved the event to a Saturday, beginning last year. They say the change encourages music lovers and their families to attend without worrying about work or school obligations the next day. Anywhere from 2,500 to 5,000 people are expected to attend.

Blues on the Bridge started as an idea to bring together talented local bands, giving them a larger stage and a bigger audience than they have at bar gigs. Since then, it has blossomed into a full-fledged festival with thousands of attendees and dozens of vendors.

The regional flavor of the event has remained, though, with all the musical acts for 2023 hailing from the Southern Tier and Central New York. The biggest act in the lineup is The Rods, a Cortland-based heavy metal act that rocked their way through the 1980s on tours with Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne, Motorhead, Metallica and others.

Here is the entertainment schedule (lineup subject to change without notice):

  • Noon: The Eric Ross Blues Band
  • 12:45 p.m.: Home Brew
  • 1:30 p.m.: StratCat Willie and The Strays
  • 2:20 p.m.: Revenants with special guest Josh Ribakove
  •  3 p.m.: Erin and the Backwoods Blues Project
  • 3:40 p.m.: The Silvertones
  • 4:20 p.m.: Caviar and Grits
  • 5 p.m.: Rooster and The Roadhouse Horns
  • 6 p.m.: Frostbit Blue
  • 7 p.m.: Junkyard Heights
  • 8 p.m.: Randy McStine, Tom Westcott and Jeff Howard
  • 9 p.m.: The Rods

More than 50 food tents and other vendors will sell their wares, and there will be a fenced-off beer area. Note: Coolers and open containers are NOT allowed. All state and local smoking laws will be strictly enforced.

Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs.

The rain date is Saturday, Sept. 23. Depending on the forecast, organizers will make the call on Friday (Sept. 15); keep an eye on local media or the event’s Facebook page at for any announcements.

Learn more about the event at

— Barb Van Atta