The Mississippi Valley Blues Society welcomes musician/educator TJ Wheeler as the artist-in-residence for Blues in the Schools April 18 through 22.  Besides presenting his Hope, Heroes, and the Blues program at Quad-City area schools, Wheeler...

As part of an initiative to raise support for The Mississippi Valley Blues Society, MVBS will be presenting the Zach Harris Band and MVBS Band of Bands at Kavanaugh's Hilltop Tap, 1228 30th Street, Rock Island, IL, on Saturday, September 26. The show will start at 8:00 p.m. with doors opening at 7:00 p.m. Admission is $8 for members of the Mississippi Valley Blues Society or $10 if you are not a member (membership applications will be available at the door).

The Zach Harris Band is the 2015 Preliminary Round winner of the Iowa Blues Challenge and took 2nd Place in the Final Round of the blues band competition in Des Moines, IA. They'll kick things off with a solid fury of blues that you would expect from a longstanding, hardworking group that has been heavily influenced by Chicago and Texas blues, as well as old school Mississippi Delta blues.

In addition to the night's expectations, MVBS has put together a Band of Bands, bringing together eight Quad City musicians to create a full-size melting pot of blues. The Band of Bands was formed by drawing together members of different Quad City based blues bands that share a love for the music. Band of Bands includes Zach Harris, Hal Reed, Kellen Myers, Randy Leasman, QC Slim, Jamie Hopkins, Malone, and Ziggy. All together the eight musicians have been heavily influences with all of the national favorites - BB, Albert and Freddie King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Derek Trucks, Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton - just to name a few. With such a collective wide range of influences, Band of Bands will have you well branded with what the Quad Cities blues scene has to offer.

"This is by no means a full slate of all the quality musicians in the Quad Cities," states Zach Harris. "We will welcome all blues musicians to join us in making this a memorial and profitable night for MVBS."

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The Mississippi Valley Blues Society presents the 2014 Iowa Solo/Duo Blues Challenge Preliminary Round to be held July 27 at The Muddy Waters, 1708 State St., Bettendorf,IA.  Four Solo/Duo groups will compete starting at 4:00 p.m. The cost of admission is $5 for all persons.

For 21 years, the competition has been sponsored by the Central Iowa Blues Society in cooperation with the Mississippi Valley Blues Society and Lizard Creek Blues Society. The contest is open to any Iowa blues groups that have not been nominated for the Blues Music Awards (Handy's).

Competitors on July 27 are 'Detroit' Larry Davison & Charlie Hayes, Dan Peart, SaJes, and the Zach and Mike Show.  The solo and duo groups will start at 4 PM and perform 20-minute sets.

The winners here will go on to compete in Des Moines.  The winner of the final round earns the right to compete in the International Blues Challenge held in Memphis next January. The prize package, considered one of the best for such a competition, includes cash, travel expenses, and recording time.

Brent Johnson and the Call Ups will play immediately following the competition with a $5 cover.

The 30th anniversary Mississippi Valley Blues Festival is on for July 3-5 in downtown Davenport!  Despite the massive flooding, the Festival is happening, and the weather prediction for the festival weekend is for dry and pleasant temperatures.

Here is a list of important information about the blues Festival:

  • The location is on 2nd Street in Davenport, between Brady and Ripley Streets.
  • The main gate with will call and media check-in is at Harrison Street on the north side of 2ndStreet.  A second gate is at the east end of 2nd, at Brady Street.
  • Because River Drive will be closed, there is no access to the parking garage closest to the River Music Experience (at River Drive and Main Street).
  • Red White and Boom has cancelled the fireworks for Thursday July 3rd.
  • The Bandshell (Big Stage) will be at Ripley & 2nd, and the "Tent" stage will be in the courtyard just east of the River Music Experience at 2nd and Main.
  • Admission is $10 for Thursday July 3, $25 for Friday July 4, and $25 for Saturday July 5.
  • Correction: The free workshops will be held in the performance hall on the second floor of the River Music Experience, and the free retrospective Photo Exhibit will be housed in the same room.  Hours are 2:30-8:00 p.m. on July 4 and 5.
  • Correction: BlueSKool will be held on the community stage at Falbo's Pizza on the first floor in the River Music Experience.  Hours are 3:30-7:00 p.m. on July 4 and 5.
  • Gates open at 4:30 on Thursday July 3, and at 2:30 on July 4 and 5.

With revised reports of flooding along the Mississippi River, and Centennial Park's parking lot already partially submerged from recent storms, organizers of the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival decided to move to even higher ground on Davenport's 2nd Street.

The Festival will happen July 3 through 5 in the area between Main and Ripley Streets in downtown Davenport.  The setup will be roughly the same as last year, with a few changes.  The free workshops will be held on the Community Stage at Falbo's, on the 1st floor of the River Music Experience.  BlueSKool and the special 30-year retrospective Photo Exhibit will be on the 2nd floor of the RME.

The current prediction has the river cresting at over two feet above flood stage during the days of the Blues Festival.  "The situation is a safety issue," said Kevin Nolan, President of the Mississippi Valley Blues Society.  "With the river that high, we would not have access to electricity, and the parking lot would be treacherous for attendees.  When we made the decision to move to Centennial, the flooding chances were much lower.  We know we're safe on Second Street.  And temperatures for the festival are supposed to be in the low 80s?perfect for experiencing our internationally acclaimed event."

Today is the final day to buy advance discount tickets for the Blues Festival.  Advance tickets for July 4 and 5 are $20 per day;  gate prices will be $25 per day.  Tickets are available at Hy-Vee stores in the Quad Cities, Clinton, and Muscatine;  the Muddy Waters in Bettendorf;  Co-Op Records in Moline;  and Ragged Records in Davenport.

Tickets for Thursday July 3 are discounted to $10, available only at the gate. For more info, please visit

The 30th anniversary Mississippi Valley Blues Festival couldn't succeed without over 200 volunteers to make it happen.  Volunteers receive free admission and a souvenir t-shirt, as well as the undying gratitude of the Mississippi Valley Blues Society.

These volunteer shifts are still available:

  • Thursday July 3, 4:30?8:30 Tokens and Gate
  • Thursday July 3, 8:30?11:30 Beer Tent, Tokens and Gate.
  • Friday July 4 and Saturday July 5, Help needed everywhere from 6:00?9:30 and 9:30?11:30

To volunteer, register online at  Click on Fest, then Volunteer.

Free BluesFest Tickets for Veterans, Active Military

To honor those who have served and are serving our country, the Mississippi Valley Blues Society is offering a limited supply of free tickets for the Blues Festival to veterans and active military.  Thanks to an American Legion grant, MVBS has 150 tickets to give away for the Independence Day weekend.

The tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis, one ticket per proper credentials.  The tickets are good for either July 4 or July 5 at the BluesFest. (Gate admission is $25 per day.)

See Anna Winters, Special Events Office, on the Rock Island Arsenal, Building 60, 1st Floor, between the hours of 9:00 and 3:00, Monday through Friday through June 30.  309-782-5890.

Blues Festival Advance Tickets Available Now!

July 3-5 marks the 30th anniversary of the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival.  Earlier this year, the international Blues Foundation of Memphis TN recognized the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival with its Keeping the Blues Alive award for U.S. Festival?the equivalent of a lifetime honor?for, in their words, "one of the longest running, most prestigious blues festivals in the world."  The Festival is the only major blues event in the nation entirely produced by an all-volunteer organization.

Advance tickets are now available for this world-class event.

  • Friday July 4 and Saturday July 5?each day $20 in advance;  $25 at the gate

Advance Tickets Available through June 30 at

  • Hy-Vee stores in the Quad-Cities, Clinton, and Muscatine
  • The Muddy Waters (1708 State St., Bettendorf)
  • Ragged Records (418 E. 2nd St., Davenport)
  • Co-Op Records (3727 Avenue of the Cities, Moline)
  • The Blues Society Office (102 S. Harrison Street, Davenport.  Call first: 563-32-BLUES)
  • Online through PayPal at

The Mississippi Valley Blues Festival is joining forces with the Red White & Boom event to present the Quad-Cities' best fireworks display over the Mississippi River on Thursday July 3. For that date only, admission to the Tent Stage at Harrison Street is FREE. (Admission to the Bandshell Stage at Ripley Street is $10, gate only.)

Children 14 and under are admitted FREE when accompanied by a paying adult.


What:  Mississippi Valley Blues Festival Kickoff Party

When:  Thursday May 22, 2014?4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. with a media conference at 4:00

Where:  The Lodge, Bettendorf IA?Library Lounge


Join us Thursday May 22 for food and drink, music by Chris Avey and Hal Reed, and of course complete information about the 30th anniversary Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, July 3-5, 2014 in Davenport's LeClaire Park.  This year's highlights include :

  • The Festival is recognized by the international Blues Foundation with its Keeping the Blues Alive award for U.S. Festival.
  • Two-time Grammy award-winner Terrance Simien will be teaching the kids at United Neighbors in Davenport about the history of the blues and zydeco during the week of the festival.
  • The Blues Festival is partnering with Red White and Boom to offer a free night of blues on the Tent Stage and fireworks on Thursday July 3.
  • George Thorogood and the Destroyers will headline the Festival on Friday July 4.
  • Howlin'Wolf's sax player and bandleader, Eddie Shaw, will receive the MVBS RiverRoad Lifetime Achievement Award on Saturday July 5.

We will also unveil the 30th anniversary Blues Festival t-shirt design at the party.

No RSVP is necessary.  We hope to see you there!

The Mississippi Valley Blues Society presents Blind Pig recording artists Peter Karp & Sue Foley and their band on Sunday May 18 at On the Rock Bar & Grill (formerly Martini's), 4619 34th St. Rock Island, IL.  The show starts at 6:00 p.m., and admission is $8.00, only $5.00 for MVBS members.

On the heels of Blind Pig recording artists Peter Karp and Sue Foley's 2010 critically acclaimed and artistically daring collaboration He said?She Said comes their next  CD:  Beyond the Crossroads,  a high voltage, plank spankin', piano boogeyin', slide guitar stompin'  CD that showcases 12 brilliantly crafted and unique original compositions that have become the trademark of these two noted singer-songwriter guitarists.  Beyond the Crossroads features their road band, Mike Catapano on drums and Niles Terrat on bass, as well as some old friends and bandmates.   The newest CD  "is a natural extension of what we started with He Said?She Said in that we're writing songs with themes in mind. Positivity, renewal, absolution," says Foley.

A singer-songwriter, guitarist, pianist and American troubadour, Peter Karp  is a master songsmith with an art for spinning true-to-life emotions, humor, and candor.  He first caught national attention with help from Rolling Stone guitarist Mick Taylor, who recorded and toured with Karp on his first label release, The Turning Point.   Critics have compared his songwriting to that of John Hiatt and John Prine, with impressive guitar and slide licks infused by his love of Freddie King and Elmore James.

Sue Foley is considered to be one of the finest blues and roots artists working today. Born to a working class family, Sue spent her early childhood moving from Canadian town to town with her mother. At sixteen, she embarked on her professional career. By twenty-one, she was living in Austin TX and recording for the legendary blues label, Antone's Records. Her first release, Young Girl Blues, quickly established her unique talents as a blues guitarist and songwriter. Throughout the '90s she took to the road with her paisley Telecaster and honed her craft, working and sharing the stage with such artists as BB King, Buddy Guy, Lucinda Williams and Tom Petty, and including a set at the 1993 Mississippi Valley Blues Festival.

The Mississippi Valley Blues Society presents guitar slinger Ryan McGarvey at the Muddy Waters (1708 State Street, Bettendorf IA) on Tuesday March 25.  The show begins at 7:00 p.m.  Admission is $10, $7 for Mississippi Valley Blues Society members.

Ryan McGarvey is an up-and-coming blues star.  Guitar Center named Ryan "Guitarmaggeddon:  Next King of the Blues" champion of New Mexico in 2006.  Then, Eric Clapton chose Ryan from over 4,000 international artists to perform at Clapton's 2010 Crossroads Guitar Festival in Chicago.  In 2011 Ryan and his band played the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival.  And just last year, Ryan was named Best New Talent in Guitar Player Magazine.

Ryan McGarvey has in a relatively short amount of time not only gained an international fan base, but admiration from his personal idols as well. In the past few years of Ryan's career he has  shared the bill with such top name acts as Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, B.B. King, Joe Bonamassa, Gov't Mule, and many, many more. His debut CD release, Forward In Reverse, reached the top 20 (out of over 200,000 artists' CDs) on the best sellers list on, the world's largest online independent distributor.

With rave reviews complimenting everything from his fiery guitar chops (which range from Delta blues slide to heavy rock chords) to his unique vocals or mature songwriting skills, Ryan McGarvey's live shows are legendary, leaving audiences breathless and wanting more.