Springtime, with its sunshine and warm temperatures, is usually a time when area residents get pretty happy – however, one area group wants you to get the blues at least once this spring: On Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19, the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society is putting on the 33rd Annual Carolina Blues Festival at LeBauer Park at 208 N. Davie St. in downtown Greensboro.
That event – which is the longest-running blues festival in the Southeast – will be part of an entire week when Greensboro will be celebrating blues – a brand of music that’s been pivotal in defining American music and many other aspects of Americana. As part of that celebration of the history of Blues in the Piedmont region, Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan will proclaim the week of May 13 through May 19 as “Blues Week” in the City of Greensboro. Vaughan is scheduled to make that proclamation on Saturday, May 11, at 10 a.m. at the Corner Farmers Market at 2214 Walker Ave. in Greensboro.
Gates for the festival at LeBauer Park will first open at 2 p.m. on May 18 and, one hour later, the sound of blues will fill the air with music performed by a wide variety of local, national and international artists. Those include Grammy award-winning Dom Flemons, the co-founder of the Carolina Chocolate Drops; Jon Shain, a winner in the 2019 International Blues Challenge; Clark Stern and the Musical Rewards, and Melva Houston. The lineup also includes the House of Dues and other lively Blues acts.
This year, one focus of the festival will be the music and life of the late Blind Boy Fuller – a North Carolina Blues musician who’s a 2018 inductee into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame thanks to his contributions to the Piedmont style of Blues.
Also this year, the festival will pay tribute to the late Lorenzo “Logie” Meachum in order “to recognize his contribution to preserving the history of the Blues through his music and storytelling.”
There will, of course, be food trucks, as well as vendors selling everything from clothing to Blues paraphernalia including cigar-box guitars.
On Sunday, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. there will be free live Blues performances at the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society’s Blues and Food Market at Center City Park at 200 N. Elm St. in downtown Greensboro. That event, according to organizers, “celebrates the culinary legacy of the Blues.”
Tickets for the event are available at the door or online at www.carolinabluesfestival.com.
Each year, this festival helps raise funds for the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society – a non-profit organization that was founded in 1985 to help preserve “central North Carolina’s rich history of Blues music ” as well as to share that tradition with future generations “through education and outreach programs, including concerts, competitions, and workshops.”