COLUMBIA, SC – Columbia’s 20th Blues Festival (Saturday, Oct. 24), hosted by Word of Mouth Productions, is a delightful multi-cultural event held in the green space of Dr. MLK, Jr. Memorial Park in Five Points, at the heart of Columbia. As the region’s preeminent “free concert,” timing has never been better to announce its headliners. Drink Small, SC’s legendary “Blues Doctor,” has just been honored as a 2015 National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellow – the nation’s highest folk artist award. He is just one of six SC natives to receive this recognition.
WOMP is also pleased to feature Jazz, with the immensely talented saxophonist, SC’s Jazz Ambassador Skipp Pearson. Back by popular demand, is Denver’s Eddie Turner, the scintillating firebrand that gave Otis Taylor’s trance tunes such an appealing edge. Joining Eddie as a multiple invitee, is Freddie Vanderford, who took some special early training at the feet of an upstate hokum / medicine-show phenom, Peg Leg Sam. His blistering harmonica is joined by incredibly tasty in-state stars, Brandon Turner and Spartanburg’s Rickey Godfrey.
This year the midday crowd will get turned onto WOMP’s diverse tastes with Austin’s Carolyn Wonderland and her genre-bending guitar and powerful voice. Power will also be on display with that Big Damn Band from Indiana led by The Reverend Peyton. As a testament to the fine musical tastes of the transplants at the core of our non-profit effort, they have been fondly referred to as “folk music freedom fighters.” Never could this be more evident than with our discovery of a special Lumbee/Oglala Sioux family, Lakota John and Kin, who lead off the day with their traditional sounds of the acoustic Piedmont and electric “country blues” reflective of their Native American heritage.