27th W.C. Handy Blues & Barbecue Festival June 14-17

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W.C. Handy Blues & Barbecue Festival

(Henderson, KY) – The Henderson Music Preservation Society announces the W.C. Handy Blues & Barbecue Festival will return for its 27th year June 14-17 in Audubon Mill Park along the Henderson riverfront.

The four-day, free music festival offers blues and Zydeco bands from across the U.S., a “street strut” showcasing attendees’ best Dixieland Jazz attire, kids’ activities, and a number of related events hosted by local businesses and organizations. This year’s headliner acts include Coco Montoya, Tab Benoit, Wet Willie and Samantha Fish. The event features nationally known acts that celebrate the life and legacy of former Henderson resident and ‘Father of the Blues’ W.C. Handy. This year’s lineup, according to Perkins, includes a number of bands appearing for the first time on the Handy stage, including Jason Ricci & the Bad Kind and the Dawn Tyler Watson Trio, as well as a number of fan favorites such as Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials and Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band, which are set for return performances.

The W.C. Handy Blues & Barbecue Festival has become one of the largest free music festivals in the nation, drawing attendees from just about every state and many countries.

Lunch events and happy hours kick off the festival week with events planned on Monday-Thursday. A juried art exhibit featuring artwork inspired by the festival will be unveiled on June 1 and remain on display during the festival in the lobby of Field & Main Bank. The main stage opens at 5pm. Wednesday with Albert Castiglia, Jason Ricci & the Bad Kind, and Lil Ed & the Blues Imperials playing that night.

Thursday is Zydeco Night featuring Waylon Thibodeaux and Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band. Music begins at 5pm. A “Red Beans & Rice” dinner, which serves as the festival’s primary fundraiser, also will be offered. A Handy tennis tournament at the Henderson Tennis Club also kicks off Thursday and continues Friday and Saturday. A portion of proceeds from the event benefits the festival.

The action launches into high gear on Friday with bands starting at noon. Blues 4U, The Gough-Martin Blues Band, The Beat Daddys, and Walter Wolfman Washington & the Roadmasters play at noon, 2pm, 4pm and 6pm. Headliners Samantha Fish and Tab Benoit wrap up the day with shows at 8pm and 10pm.

Saturday morning features the festival’s annual Street Strut parade and prizes, as well as a number of affiliated events including a 5K race sponsored by Henderson Rotaract and the Poker Run motorcycle ride. A portion of proceeds from these events will go to support the festival. By noon, the music will be in full swing on the main stage. Markus James, Dawn Tyler Watson Trio, Alvin “Youngblood” Hart’s Muscle Theory, and Billy Branch & the Sons of the Blues play at noon, 2pm, 4pm and 6pm. Headliners Wet Willie and Coco Montoya close out the festival with shows at 8pm and 10pm.

More info and a full schedule of events is on the Handy Festival website

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