Arizona Best Fest with Gin Blossoms, George Benson

Posted on by az100

by Ed Masley – Jan. 31, 2012 01:31 PM
The Republic |

The Gin Blossoms, Michelle Branch, Jerry Riopelle and George Benson have been announced as the headlining acts for the centennial edition of Arizona Best Fest.

Arizona Best Fest

When: Noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11-12

Where: Arizona State Capitol Mall, 1700 W. Washington St., Phoenix.

Admission: Free.


The Gin Blossoms broke out of Tempe in the ’90s with jangle-rock classic “Hey Jealousy,” their first of four Top 40 singles. If you ventured near a radio at all that decade, chances are, you heard those other hits as well — “Found Out About You,” “Till I Hear It From You” and “Follow You Down.” Their latest disc, “No Chocolate Cake,” was released in 2010.

Branch had just turned 18 when she hit the streets with “Everywhere,” a breakthrough single that reached No. 12 on Billboard’s Hot 100. Two years later, after “All You Wanted” cracked the Top 10, the Sedona native earned a Grammy nod for Best New Artist. “West Coast Time,” her first new album since 2003, is scheduled to arrive this year.

Riopelle was living in Los Angeles when he became a Valley fixture, largely fueled by heavy spins on free-form FM station KDKB (93.3) back in the early ’70s. The roots-rock veteran now lives part-time in Scottsdale and was inducted into the Arizona Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame in 2007.

Benson is, of course, a Grammy-winning jazz guitarist who topped the Billboard album chart with 1976’s “Breezin’,” a triple-platinum effort that sent his epic reinvention of the Leon Russell song “This Masquerade” to No. 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100. Benson’s other hits include his jazzy remake of the Drifters smash “On Broadway,” “Give Me the Night” and “Turn Your Love Around.”

Benson plays Sunday, Feb. 12. The other acts are playing Saturday, Feb. 11, with Riopelle kicking things off at 6:30 p.m., followed by Branch with the Gin Blossoms headlining.

Reach the reporter at or 602-444-4495. Twitter:

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