NORWICH – Unlike legendary blues guitarist B.B. King, it’s not every day Chenango County gets the blues. That won’t be the case this weekend, however, when the gates open at 11 a.m. at the county fairgrounds for the 19th annual Chenango Blues Fest.
Featuring a veritable Who’s Who in regional and national blues talent, this year’s event will include main stage performances by up-and-coming blues crooner Gina Sicilia, guitar sensation Ana Popovic, the Honey Island Swamp Band (returning for a second straight year), blues harmonica legend James Cotton and headliners the North Mississippi All Star Duo.
According to the Chenango Blues Association’s Eric Larsen, it’s a lineup that’s sure to please even the most die-hard fan of the genre.
“The Blues Fest seems to get bigger and better every year and it’s great to have that kind of longevity,” stated Larsen. “It’s very satisfying. We have a great group of volunteers and donors, and it’s those people that make this event such a success every year.”
And while this year’s Sheffield Bio-Science main stage – and its all-star line-up – are certainly impressive, Larsen said he’s even more excited for the Nelson & Flanagan-Grouse Ridge Kennels acoustic stage performances. With artists such as local favorites the Suspicious Hats, Doug MacLeod, Super Chikan and John Hammond, festival-goers should share in that excitement, he added.
“It just jumps out to me, that acoustic stage,” stated Larsen. “Everybody in there is headliner quality and to hear those three national acts is just crazy.”
Larsen admitted that – as far as acoustic blues goes – it’s not something he’d usually pop into the CD player while cruising down the road. Hearing it live, however, is another story entirely.