NORWICH – The 18th Annual Chenango Blues Fest will kick off Friday night with a pair of free performances and Chenango Blues Association President Eric Larsen predicts a strong turnout following the unprecedented success of this year’s Summer Concert Series.
Approximately 3,000 people, hailing from all parts of the northeast, are expected to attend the annual event, which features performances by some of the genre’s biggest names, including Main Stage acts Marcia Ball – who previously headlined the festival in 2006 – Watermelon Slim, Guitar Shorty, John Nemeth and the Asamu Johnson Project.
Paul Rishell & Annie Raines, E.G. Kight and Dom Flemons – who will perform from 6 to 7 p.m. Friday, at Guernsey Memorial Library – will fill out the line-up with performances on the Acoustic Stage.
The festivities begin at 7:15 p.m. Friday however, with a free concert at the Chenango County Fairgrounds featuring Syracuse-based Los Blancos (they’ll also perform from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. at the Blarneystone Pub), and New Orleans’ own Honey Island Swamp Band, from 8:30 to 10 p.m.
“The Friday night shows are just great for the community,” stated Chenango Blues Fest Board of Directors Treasurer Steve Palmatier. “It’s a chance for people from all over to enjoy some great talent.”
Awarded the 2009 Best Emerging Artist award and Best Blues Album, for the bands first full-length release Wishing Well, by New Orleans’ Offbeat Magazine, the Honey Island Swamp Band features guitarist and mandolinist Aaron Wilkinson, guitarist Chris Mulé, bassist Sam Price and drummer Garland Paul.
“They’re great songwriters and great players, which isn’t that simple of a combination,” said Larsen. “They’re really talented and this is one of those bands people always enjoy, they bring something personal and unique to the stage.”..