by Madison V. Fisler
Aug. 26, 2013. This year will mark the 11th year of the New River Blues Festival, held on Sept. 1 at the River House Inn in beautiful scenic Grassy Creek. Over the past decade, a plethora of talented bands and artists have performed on the Blues Festival stage to cheering crowds, going on to become blues icons in their own right.
For the past ten years, the New River Blues festival has provided a venue for blues greats like Nappy Brown, Etta Baker, Carey Bell and more to play their hearts out. To ensure than these blues legends are never forgotten, at this year’s New River Blues Festival a CD compilation of artists who have played through the years at the festival will be offered to guests, so they can see what the legends sounded like when they graced the stage.
The CD, which is a collection of live recordings from past festivals, features The King Bees, Roy Roberts, Chick Willis, Etta Baker, Jerry McCain, Howard Colbert, Beverly “Guitar” Watkins, Chicago Bob Nelson, Carey Bell and Nappy Brown. Produced by The King Bees, this CD offers a blast from the past for festival goers that can remind those who were there of what they experienced, or show newcomers what they missed.
“These are not only people who have played at the festivals,” said Rob Baskerville, of The King Bees.
“These are our teachers, and we want to celebrate these artists that deserve to be heard. These people have a place in history that a lot of people don’t know about. Each song embodies a story of who the artist is and how we met them, how they took us on the road and how we were eventually able to bring them back to our home.”
Copies of the CD will be available to guests of the New River Blues Festival, which this year will feature acts like Ironing Board Sam, Doctor Dixon, Big Ron Hunter, The King Bees and much more.
On Sept. 1 from 1-6 p.m., the RiverHouse Inn in Grassy Creek will come alive with music and excitement for a day of blues.
“It’s such a beautiful setting,” Baskerville said. “It’s a party. People have this misconception about what blues festivals are, and really they’re a lot of fun. It’s just a day in the mountains in a meadow next to a river where you’ll hear great music with historical significance.”
Gates will open at noon with the first performers taking the stage at 1 p.m. and continuing on until 6 p.m. For $15 in advance or $18 at the gate, guests can enjoy the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains and the inspired talents of Gaye Adegbalola, Doctor Dixon, Ironing Board Sam, The King Bees & Friends and more.
Coolers and pets are prohibited, but food and beverages, both alcoholic and nonalcoholic, will be available for purchase. Festival goers are encouraged to bring chairs, blankets and umbrellas as the seating is lawn only and the event will go on rain or shine.
The New River Inn, the site of the performance, and the Hampton Inn in West Jefferson are highly recommended.