There are many reasons to attend the Eighth Annual Rogue Valley Blues Festival which takes place January 18-20, Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, with main events at the Historic Ashland Armory, 208 Oak St.
Reason 1. Friday evening’s headliner Corey Harris is the first Blues musician to win a MacArthur Fellow from the MacArthur Foundation. The MacArthur Fellow is given each year to 27 recipients in fields such as music, science, writing and choreography. Each recepient is given $500,000 over five years to do with anything they want. Harris, who has traveled many times to Africa to research the history of the Blues, will use the grant to lay the groundwork for further musical and cultural projects. Find out why Corey’s music has been dubbed the “Rasta Blues Experience.”
Reason 2. Come dance the night away Saturday evening beginning at 6 p.m. Three bands will have you up and moving that body of yours. Local favorite AnnieMac starts the evening, followed by the Ty Curtis Band from Portland. Headlining the dance is Sugar Pie DeSanto whose singing career started in 1955 when she recorded with Johnny Otis. She soon was signed by Chess Records and was James Brown opening act for 2 years. As she recalls, “if he did the splits, so could I. If he rolled, I can too. If he’d jump off the chair, I’d jump off the piano.” Come see Sugar Pie was named a Blues Legend by the California Music Awards Blues in 2003.
Reason 3 Sunday evening you’ll be up dancing again when the Rogue Valley Blues Festival presents the New Generation of the Blues. Headling the evening is the Ben Rice Blues Band making its third appearance at the festival. You’ll know why after their first song. Also appearing is the band Yesterday which won the Under 21 Band Contest at the festival last year and came in second at the Jackson County Fair’s band contest last summer.
Reason 4 Learn from the masters — Headliners give workshops Saturday and Sunday 11a.m-3:30 p.m. at the Armory
Reason 5 Free performances noon-4 p.m. at Alex’s and Standing Stone Restaurants in downtown Ashland and Avalon Bar and Grill in Talent
Ticket Prices:$55/weekend pass gets you into everything; $30/Friday evening; $30/Saturday evening; $10/adults & $5/17 & under Sunday evening; $20/each workshop without a weekend pass
Ticket outlets: Ashland Chamber Office and Music Coop in Ashland; Magic Man in Bear Creek Plaza in Medford; and Hear Song, 224 SW 6th St. in Grants Pass
Tickets and info on-line at www.stclairevents.com or call 541-535-3562