The blues are one of the most influential forms of American music. Arkansas has deep ties to this music art form, and blues legends like Robert Lockwood, Jr. and Sister Rosetta Tharpe are from here.
Hot Springs showcases the genre during the 16th annual Hot Springs Blues Festival August 30 through September 1. The family friendly event is held each Labor Day Weekend (Friday and Saturday) in Hill Wheatley Plaza in downtown Hot Springs.
“The atmosphere is laid back with lawn chairs scattered about, kids dancing to the music and blues lovers enjoying some down time,” said David Hughes, president of the Spa City Blues Society, which hosts the festival. “It’s an almost carnival style atmosphere. It’s definitely a good time.”
According to Hughes, the event is a solid mid-size festival that will run between 3,000 and 4,000 people through the gates over two days.
Hughes said some performers to watch out include headliners The Fabulous Thunderbirds. Along with the music lineup, there will be workshops on Friday and Saturday afternoon at Star Gallery, directly across the street from the festival. Workshops include sessions on slide guitar, harmonica, lap steel guitar, recording music using an i-Pad, blues history and the Blues Foundation’s efforts to build the Blues Hall of Fame. There will also be after parties for fans to access before and after the shows and an Artists Alley featuring local crafters selling their wares.
For those interested in the history of the blues in Arkansas, check out the Delta Cultural Center in Helena-West Helena sometime. The city is also home to the popular King Biscuit Festival each October.
More details on the Hot Springs Blues Festival can be found at www.spacityblues.org or by calling 501-815-2939. Admission is $10 per day or $15 for a weekend pass. Tickets can be purchases on-line through the website. Of note, weekend passes are not available at the gate and are pre-purchase only.
For more information about top events in Arkansas take a look at the Top Events USA selection of the annual main festivals and events in Arkansas.