Wiregrass Blues Festival to Highlight Area’s Blues Heritage

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Wiregrass Blues Festival

By Michele Forehand/Dothaneagle.com

The Wiregrass Blues Society is gearing up to host its annual Wiregrass Blues Festival, which will pay tribute to the history of the blues and its connection in the Wiregrass.

The schedule for the 2017 Wiregrass Blue Fest was released Wednesday.

The event will begin Friday, April 21, at 6 p.m., with a pre-party and meet and greet at the Clarion Inn Ballroom. The pre-party is open to all ticket holders. Entertainment will be provided by King Bee, who will perform an acoustic set. Individuals in attendance will also have a chance to meet Tas Cru and his band Of Tortured Souls. Artist Kevin Hargrave will also display and sell his blues drawings and painting. Jenn Ocken, a world-known photographer will display her blues photography and sell and personalize her book of blues photography, Blues on Beale Street.

On Saturday, April 22, events will be held at the Wiregrass Museum of Art. Ticket holders can enjoy a free harmonica workshop with Gary Loftin at 1 p.m. Individuals planning to participate in the workshop should bring a C Harmonica. Gates will open at 2 p.m., with Lenny Trawick, Jim Carr, Ed Esposito and Lamar Millar kicking off the festival. Additional entertainment will be provided by Oddly Enough, Bluz Atcha with a classic horn section, King Bee, Tas Cru and his band of Tortured Souls, and Annika Chambers. The finale will begin at 9:30 p.m. with a jam session by all performers. The evening will conclude with an after party at McLeods Publick House, on U.S. Highway 84 West.

Tickets will be available at the gate for $30 or pre-order for $20. Tickets are available at Scenic Cable, or by calling 793-2722.

“This is a great event,” Wiregrass Blues Society President Anna Hurlbutt said Wednesday. “It is a great way for us to show the history of the blues in our community.”

The Wiregrass Blues Fest Chairperson Terry Duffie said the blue fest has a mission.

“Not only does this event help educate everyone on the roots that the blues have in our community,” he said, “it also gives us the opportunity to help assist seventh-grade students who are in a school band, who otherwise could not afford to purchase a band instrument. With assistance from the band teacher, identifying the talent and the student’s need for assistance, we can help purchase the equipment. This is a very special program that I feel strongly about. I can remember wanting to play an instrument in school, but my parents could not afford the extra expense of purchasing the instrument. This is truly a great program to help students accomplish their musical dreams. Also, we are placing funds into an account that will be awarded as a scholarship to a senior who is wishing to study music.”

Dr. Jeneve Brooks, with Troy University, said the educational components of Blues in Schools is an important part of the overall event.

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