The Ann Arbor Blues Festival is proud to announce its lineup for the 2018 edition of the iconic music festival, which is celebrating its 49th anniversary this year. The 2018 Ann Arbor Blues Festival will take place on Friday August 17th from 6 pm – 11 pm and Saturday, August 18th from 12 p.m. – 11 p.m. This edition of the iconic Blues Festival – first held in 1969 – will be held at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds.
“We’re incredibly excited about our lineup,” said James Partridge, Executive Producer of the Ann Arbor Blues Festival. “Since 1969, when Ann Arbor held the world’s first electric Blues Festival, we’ve built a reputation for bringing the best musicians to Ann Arbor, and this year is no different. Our artists have received innumerable accolades throughout their careers, and boast 20 Grammy nominations, dozens of Blues Music Awards, and have been nominated for hundreds of other prestigious industry and listener accolades. Our guests are going to be part of something really special this year.”
The acts slated to appear at the Festival will include Shemekia Copeland, Ana Popovic, Benny Turner, The Bob Margolin Trio, Janiva Magness, Carolyn Wonderland, John Sinclair and the Blues Scholars with special guest Don Was, Sue Foley, Scott Sharrard, Larry McCray, Pete Anderson, Beverly “Guitar” Watkins, Nora Jean Bruso, and Jake Kershaw.
In addition to attracting the best talent in the blues world, one the goals for the Ann Arbor Blues Festival is to honor its half-century old roots while bridging the musical generations. Like its predecessors, this year’s festival showcases artists who played at the original festivals and highlights up-and-coming blues musicians. Benny Turner, for example, performed with his brother Freddie King at the 1969 and 1970 Ann Arbor Blues Festival, and famously appears on the celebrated live recording of the 1972 Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival. And this year, the Festival will introduce its audience to Jake Kershaw – Albion Michigan’s 17-year old guitar prodigy – who has already performed alongside contemporary blues legends such as Tab Benoit, Larry McCray, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd.
Another nod to the Festival’s rich legacy is the inclusion of John Sinclair and the Blues Scholars, and their guest, Don Was. John Sinclair, famed American poet, writer, and political activist, was instrumental in the production of the Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festivals from 1972-1974. Don Was, a Detroit native attended the University of Michigan and was in the audience of the early Ann Arbor Blues Festival. He has since excelled at various roles in the music business, from playing bass for his band Was (Not Was), to producing multiple albums for the Rolling Stones, earning him three Grammy awards and eleven nominations.
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