Put on your dancing shoes and get ready for the blues, because it’s almost time for the
9 here in Tuscaloosa! Don’t miss this day-long celebration of a uniquely American art form. th Annual Johnny Shines Blues Festival
When and Where
The Johnny Shines Blues Festival will be held at the Leroy McAbee Activity Center on Saturday, August 31. It will run from 9 in the morning to 10 that night. Tickets may be ordered in advance from the activity center for $10, or purchased at the event for $15. The Leroy McAbee Activity Center is located at 3801 Loop Road, Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35404.
There is a deep, rich history of blues music in Alabama, and you can hear it come alive at the festival with an amazing lineup of great musicians. This year, the festival stage will host the following acts:
Earl “Guitar” Williams
Lil Jimmy Reed
Carroline Shines and the Impulse Band
In addition to the blues music in the air, the festival will feature other events like the Little Miss Johnny Shines beauty pageant and a motorcycle contest. Children can participate in the fun and games prepared for the occasion, and they can also have their faces painted. If you work up an appetite while dancing to the music, you can visit one of the food trucks or other vendors for some good eating.
The artists who pioneered the blues each had their own share of challenges and adventures, and the career of the legendary Johnny Shines was no exception. Raised in Memphis, Shines learned to play guitar thanks to his mother’s instruction, and he spent much of his youth soaking up the blues in juke joints. As a young man, he encountered Robert Jonson and traveled the country with him, playing wherever they could. While living in Chicago in the 1940s, Shines performed in local bars and was eventually approached to record his music. However, both Columbia Records and Chess Records failed to release his recordings.
It wasn’t until 1952 that J.O.B. Records released an album of his music, although sales were underwhelming. In 1966, his Vanguard record,
Chicago/The Blues/Today found widespread success. The musician moved to Holt, Alabama a few years later, and was known to perform at UA’s coffee house with another lauded artist, Mississippi Fred McDowell. Shines would live the rest of his days here in Alabama, and he was instrumental in the founding of the Alabama Blues Project, which preserves the music as a culturally significant art form through educational programs. You might also like: Druid City Music Festival Tuscaloosa Hyundai
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