“Let’s Party!” Friday with Kenny Neal on the Bandshell and Super Chikan in the Tent “High Octane Blues” Saturday, with 10 acts on 2 stages, BlueSKool, and free Workshops “RiverRoad” Sunday, honoring MVBS Lifetime Achievement Award recipients Bobby Rush and Lonnie Brooks
DAVENPORT, Iowa—The 28th annual Mississippi Valley Blues Festival June 29-July 1 is sure to be the best bang for the blues buck! With three-day festival tickets only $37.50 in advance, attendees will enjoy some of the best contemporary and traditional blues in the world—for less than $2 per act.
The Mississippi Valley Blues Society (MVBS) today announced the festival lineup of 24 acts—including blues legends, up-and-comers and award winners—who will be performing on two stages June 29-July 1, at LeClaire Park in Davenport, Iowa. Produced by MVBS, the event is one of the longest-running blues festivals in the nation, and the only major blues festival in the U.S. produced entirely by volunteers.
The festival kicks off with “Let’s Party” Friday and a new start time—6:30 p.m.—with gates opening at 5:30. Revving up the fun is youngster phenom Matthew Curry and his band The Fury on the Bandshell stage, while Earnest Guitar Roy takes us down to Mississippi on the Tent stage. Blues Music Award nominee and Roomful of Blues alumnus Sugar Ray Norcia on harmonica leads his band the Bluetones next on the Bandshell, followed by Baton Rouge’s award-winning guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Kenny Neal. Over in the Tent, International Blues Challenge semi-finalists Liz Mandeville and Donna Herula show why they represented the Windy City in Memphis, and Super Chikan with his band The Fighting Cocks will be crowing Mississippi style.
“High Octane Blues” Saturday offers an eclectic mix that’s sure to stir the blues-loving soul. The Terry Quiett Band from Kansas kicks it off on the Bandshell, followed by Ohio’s Ray Fuller & the Bluesrockers, the Memphis soul of “The King of Beale Street” Preston Shannon, and Guitar Shorty—a one-time brother-in-law of Jimi Hendrix, and ending up with headliner Coco Montoya, protégé of legends Albert Collins and John Mayall. First up in the Tent is Bryce Janey from Marion IA, who represented the
state of Iowa at the International Blues Challenge in the solo-duo category in Memphis. Next is Blues Music Award nominee Doug MacLeod, who will also present a free workshop about slide guitar. The Ernest Dawkins Quartet from Chicago adds jazz to the mix, followed by the deep blues of Kansas harmonica-guitar duo Moreland and Arbuckle. Sure to blow the roof off the Tent is headliner piano powerhouse Kelley Hunt and her band.
On “RiverRoad” Sunday, the festival honors Mississippi soul-blues icon Bobby Rush, whose show in the Tent will be part acoustic and part his usual party with dancing girls. Legendary guitarist Lonnie Brooks will also receive a RiverRoad Lifetime Achievement Award, on the Bandshell, before a long set with his sons—stars themselves—Ronnie Baker Brooks and Wayne Baker Brooks. Rounding out the Bandshell performances are Oakland CA pianist Lady Bianca and Kansas City siblings Trampled Under Foot. The Tent performances start with the River Music Experience’s Winter Blues Kids led by Hal Reed and Ellis Kell, followed by the country blues of Paul Geremia (who also gives a workshop on 6 and 12-string guitar styles), and the smoldering soul of Mississippi’s Johnny Rawls.
The mission of the Mississippi Valley Blues Society is to educate the public about the native art form of blues-related music and to keep the blues alive. On Saturday and Sunday, The Mississippi Valley Blues Festival offers free workshops for adults in the Freight House (on Ripley Street across the tracks from LeClaire Park), a free photo exhibit of blues artists and past festivals also in the Freight House, and BlueSKool for children in LeClaire Park. The workshops and BlueSKool give participants a chance to
learn from the masters.
Sponsors for this year’s festival include River Cities’ Reader, the Illinois Arts Council, the Riverboat Development Authority, the City of Davenport, KALA radio, Alcoa, Humanities Iowa, Premier Jewelry and Loan, and The Lodge Hotel & Conference Center.
Advance three-day festival tickets are available for only $37.50 or $12.50 per day through Thursday June 28. Advance tickets can be purchased at Hy-Vee stores in the Quad Cities, Clinton, and Muscatine; at Rascals (1414 15th Street, Moline); at The Muddy Waters, 1708 State Street, Bettendorf; and at the MVBS office (by check only) at 102 S. Harrison in Davenport (call first: 563-32-BLUES).
One-day tickets will be sold at the gate for only $15 each day. Children ages 14 and under will be admitted free if accompanied by an adult with a ticket.
It takes over 200 volunteers to produce the Festival. The MVBS is still seeking volunteers for shifts June 29-July 1. Volunteers receive free admission on their day of service as well as a commemorative t-shirt. Volunteers should register online at www.mvbs.org.
For 27 years, the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival has attracted legendary blues acts, making it one of the most highly regarded blues festivals in the nation. According to the Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau, the festival’s economic benefit to the area is $2.3 million annually. For more information about the festival, lodging and the complete schedule of artists, visit www.mvbs.org.