1) Buffalo Ribfest, 3 to 10 p.m. July 28, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. July 29 and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. July 30 at Canalside (44 Prime St.). General admission tickets are $15, while a VIP passes run for $45.
Commentary: It's not wrong to go just for the smell. Unlike locavore events such as Taste of Buffalo, the purpose of Ribfest is to expose Buffalonians to esteemed barbecue vendors from around the United States and Canada.
The music will be legitimate, too, as Wynonna & the Big Noise, Morris Day & the Time and Neville Francis & the Riddim Posse are all scheduled to take the Canalside stage.
Johnson's BBQ, Fine Smoke, Pork Brothers, Jack on the Bone and Bad Wolf, all of which – minus Pork Brothers – sound relatively intimidating.
2) Brews & Wines on the Water, 2 to 7 p.m. July 29 in Gratwick Park, River Road, North Tonawanda. Cost is $25 for the wine festival and $35 for the beer fest (or $50 to enjoy both); tickets can be purchased here.
Commentary: If you've listened to an Entercom radio station recently, you've surely heard the advertisements or promotions for Brews & Wines on the Water, extolling the beverage options and waterfront scenery. I can recite practically the entire ad, if you'd like.
On the beer side, the balance of local and national beers is decent, while the vast majority of the wine options are local. You can find the list of participants here.
3) Colored Musicians Club Jazzfest, two shows, 7 and 10 p.m., July 28 at Colored Musicians Club (145 Broadway); 1 to 7 p.m. July 29 inside and outside the club, then 8 p.m. July 29 in Albright-Knox Art Gallery (1285 Elmwood Ave.). Tickets for non-free shows can be purchased here. Here's a handy PDF of the schedule.
Commentary: To put the weight of Colored Musicians Club's anniversary in perspective, 100 years ago was 1917 (I know, the math is not easy). That is remarkable posterity. We're already in the thick of the festival that recognizes the milestone, but there's plenty left to take part in.
Some of the highlights that require a paid ticket are Walter Kemp 3Oh! (Hallwalls, $25, Thursday), Otis Brown III Trio (9th Ward, $30, Thursday), A2Z (CMC, $25, Friday) and The Baylor Project (Albright-Knox, $39, Saturday), but a multitude of free performances – especially near the CMC on Saturday – will be alluring, too.
Commentary: Unwind from the weekend with a country show at Darien, as Gilbert – who's not shy about his Christian faith – seems to be an appropriate follow to Kingdom Bound, which concludes the day prior.
The Georgia native, touring off the January release of "The Devil Don't Sleep," certainly appeals to the larger country fan base, too.
5) Buffalo Infringement Festival, July 27-Aug. 6 at venues around Buffalo, focused heavily in Allentown. All performances are free of charge.
Commentary: Welcome to the start of Infringement, the free, volunteer-run, often eccentric and diverse arts festival that began in Allentown – and still holds many of its mini events there – but has expanded to neighborhoods such as Grant Street, Elmwood and even downtown. See the full schedule of events here.
The News' Colin Dabkowski highlighted five performers you should check out:
Commentary: In addition to major artists Newsboys and beloved local group Brothers McClurg, the Christian music festival that takes over Darien features a relative newcomer to the scene – Zach Williams, who was inspired by the message of a Big Daddy Weave song to turn his life around and further a career in music.
Commentary: The Larkin-based distillery will revel in its second-anniversary party on Friday night, but the bigger news is the limited release of Tommyrotter's whiskey, which was barreled before the Buffalo project was a twinkle in the owners' eyes. The distiller previously produced its own gin and vodka.
Officially titled Napa Valley Heritage Cask Straight Bourbon Whiskey, the 95-proof spirit has a taste described as "dried cherries and rye spice give way to full-bodied caramel and light smoke on a robust and long-lasting finish."
An open bar from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., free hors d'oeuvres from Lait Cru Brasserie (which earned 8 plates in a recent dining review) and live music from Gravy are charms of the party.
Commentary: Seventeen of the Niagara Wine Trail wineries will post up for the annual two-day festival, allowing guests to sample a wealth of different wines in one place. Don't forget to cleanse your palate so you can savor the taste of each!
Some of the food vendors – Seas the Day, with its lobster poutine, and Casa Antica, with its arancini – should be enticing for when sippers get hungry. A variety of local vendors will sell products such as olives, jam, olive oil, pickles and relish.
Commentary: Iroquois High School alum Nick Chiari, better known as Grabbitz, developed as a DJ/producer in the Buffalo area. He collaborated with hip-hop artist Chae Hawk for several years before heading out to Los Angeles, Calif., to test his musical mettle.
The results have been promising so far: he's evolved his sound – called "post-EDM Millennial rock" by his promoters – and a chance to help produce Deadmau5's "Let Go," which boasts over 12 million views on YouTube.
Commentary: The News' Tim O'Shei checked in with the former Lyte Funkie Ones, who dropped to two members and ceased touring due to the death of lead singer Rich Cronin from leukemia.
The legacy of "Summer Girls" lives on, however, and Brad Fischetti and Devin Lima are trying a two-week tour – including Sunday night's stop in Buffalo – to see if they can reinvigorate LFO.
BONUS, No. 1: Lebanese Festival, 5 to 11 p.m. July 28, 2 to 11 p.m. July 29, noon to 8 p.m. July 30 at St. John Maron (2040 Wehrle Dr., Amherst). Free to attend, and food and beverages are for purchase.
Commentary: The Lebanese isn't as urban as many of Buffalo's other cultural festivals – it's held annually in a church parking lot in Amherst, not far from Transit Road – but the traditional fare (kibbe, grape leaves, lubneh, hummus and so forth) alone is worth the stop.
There's plenty of live music and dancing under the festival's main tent, too, and since it's the suburbs, finding parking shouldn't be too taxing.
BONUS, No. 2: Go see one of Buffalo's new public art murals, several locations in different neighborhoods of Buffalo. Free to do so.
Commentary: Bunnie Reiss' "Magic Buffalo" mural at the corner of Hertel and Colvin avenues – on two sides of Joe's Deli – is perhaps the most visible new piece of public art, but the News' Colin Dabkowski provided updates on four others strewn across the city, from Chandler Street to Fillmore Street.
Team Razor Wire has crafted the most vibrant, as Dabkowski posits: "If you didn't know it was paint, you might think the place was on fire." Credit to these various Buffalo artists who've committed to beautifying the city.
Commentary: O.K., Blink's performance isn't technically this weekend, but it doesn't hurt to have a reminder when there's a big event slated for the Monday following The 10's scope.
The best-known musician of a major band is rarely the drummer, but in Blink-182's case, you can make a strong case for Travis Barker, especially after former frontman Tom DeLonge left the band indefinitely during a confusing, controversial time in the band's history.
When you have a brand built as well as Blink, it's possible to keep chugging along despite the drama; the 2016 release "California" topped Billboard's 200, U.S. Top Alternative Albums and Top Rock Albums.
Commentary: One more for Monday! The duo of Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel sprints to the Ballroom to show off their electronic maelstrom-meets-R&B. Mac McGuire took quick note of this show after it was announced, highlighting its indie appeal. (Also a chance to say R.I.P. again to Soundlab.)