This weekend, August 9, 10, and 11 will be the Heritage Music Blues Fest in Wheeling, West Virginia. This is always a great blues festival but it’s special this year for the Tampa Bay area. Not only one, but two of our own great blues bands will be playing the festival. Selwyn Birchwood and Damon Fowler’s Southern Hospitality will both be playing the festival this year.
Headlining the Festival are Joan Osbourne on Friday, Dr. John on Saturday, and JJ Grey and MoFro on Sunday. Also along for a great ride are Ruthie Foster, Joe Louis Walker, Monkey Junk, and The Golden State-Lone Star Blues Revue with Anson Funderburgh, Little Charlie Baty, and Mark Hummel. Some other great bands round out the three days of serious blues. Learn more on their website.
Our own International Blues Challenge winner Selwyn Birchwood will open the Sunday shows. Selwyn is on a roll and touring the country at the moment after his well-deserved win in Memphis at the annual Blues Foundation extravaganza that included the Blues Music Awards as well as the IBC where local blues bands from around the nation, sponsored by their local blues societies, compete for the coveted award. Learn more about the competition here.
Blind Pig recording artist Damon Fowler is from Brandon Florida and has been a Tampa Bay blues treasure since he was in his teens. He fronts his own band, The Damon Fowler Band and recently hooked up with J.P. Soars and Victor Wainwright to form Southern Hospitality, one of the top new bands on the blues scene and likely to snag the Best New Artist award at next years Blues Music Awards competition.
The Heritage Music Blues Fest is a relatively new festival having started in 2010, but it is the highlight of any blues lover’s summer schedule. It always attracts great blues artists and the venue, beautiful Wheeling West Virginia, is a great place to visit on it’s own terms.
As it says on its website…
“Wheeling’s scenic riverfront location, century-spanning historical sites and award-winning events solidify the area’s reputation as a memorable and affordable vacation experience. Wheeling, West Virginia, is nestled cozily along the banks of the Ohio River and has a great deal to offer both residents and tourists alike. Established with a solid reputation for friendliness and good service, any visit to this charming city is certain to be the first of many– steeped in rich history and bursting with activities for the young and old.”
It’s a lovely town and they pull out all the stops during the Heritage Music Blues Fest. There’s plenty to do besides enjoy the blues as you can see on their website here.
It’s still not too late to get tickets. And if you jump in your car you can easily be there before the first act on Friday night.