(GRAPELAND, TX) – The inaugural Lone Star Blues and Heritage Festival Oct 25-27, brought attendees from The Netherlands, Canada and nine states to rural East Texas for a three-day celebration of the history, legacy and future of Texas blues. Held at beautiful Salmon Lake Park in Grapeland, Texas, many spent the entire weekend onsite, staying at the nostalgic cabins or in RVs throughout the park.
A diverse lineup of Texas talent contained performers ranging from veteran artists to rising young stars, providing a true taste of the roots and evolution of indigenous American music – the blues.
Veterans Milton Hopkins, Trudy Lynn and Benny Turner displayed their professional prowess in show-stopping performances throughout the weekend. Young artists such as Kelsie Kee and Reese Malone (Salvation From Sundown band), The Peterson Brothers and Mathias Lattin presented the promise of a powerful new generation to carry forth the tradition.
Sunday’s gospel brunch, led by the award-winning Keeshea Pratt Band was a religious experience in every sense. Held on October 27, the 80th birthday of East Texas native and festival honoree Mr. Benny Turner. It was an emotionally stirring performance concluding with a second line befitting of the occasion. Turner was presented with an official letter from Texas Governor Greg Abbott recognizing his esteemed musical career.
Future events and information will be updated on the festival website.
Photo by Tom Andrews
Caption: From left, Benny Turner, Trudy Lynn and Milton Hopkins at the inaugural Lone Star Blues and Heritage Festival in Grapeland, TX October 26, 27 and 28, 2019. 80-year-old Turner is the brother of Texas blues legend Freddie King and Hopkins is the cousin of another Texas blues legend, Sam “Lightnin’” Hopkins.