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Lineup Announced for 2008 IH Mississippi Valley Blues Festival

SOURCE: Published: 2008-05-15
Koko Taylor DAVENPORT, Iowa - Grammy-award winner Koko Taylor, dubbed “The Queen of Blues" for having won more Blues Awards than any other blues artist-male or female, returns to the 2008 IH Mississippi Valley Blues Festival.

The Mississippi Valley Blues Society (MVBS) today announced the festival lineup of 28 acts performing on two stages, July 3 - 5, in Davenport, Iowa. Produced by MVBS and presented by IH Mississippi Valley Credit Union, the event draws nearly 15,000 to LeClaire Park-a blues-inspiring outdoor venue located at the crossroads of U.S. Route 61, known as the Blues Highway, and the Mississippi River-for three days of music, food, fun and friends.

“People loved having blues legend Koko Taylor play our festival in 2001, and we're certain this firecracker of a performer will light up the bandshell stage again this Fourth of July," said Karen McFarland, co-chair of the MVBS Entertainment Committee, which books the acts for the Festival. “And no matter what day, time or stage you find yourself at during our three-day fest, you will be entertained by very talented musicians - from Grammy-award-winning headliners like Koko to opening acts like Kilborn Alley Blues Band, who was nominated for their first Blues Award this year."

In addition to Taylor, other headliners include Elvin Bishop, Otis Taylor and the Black Banjo Project, Billy Boy Arnold with Jody Williams, The Holmes Brothers and Denise LaSalle.

Former Iowa farm boy Elvin Bishop, known to the mainstream for his one-hit wonder, “Fooled Around and Fell in Love," is known to blues fans as a founding member of the legendary Paul Butterfield Blues Band and his “Booty Bumpin" resurgence in the blues scene after his daughter's murder.

“Bishop always seems to engage the audience with his performance, and he's not the only crossover artist playing our festival this year," continues McFarland. “Donald Kinsey has crossed over from blues to heavy metal to reggae and back to blues again." Donald Kinsey, the front man for The Kinsey Report, started his blues career with Big Daddy Kinsey and Albert King. In the '70s he formed the heavy metal band White Lighting before switching genres again to tour and record with reggae legends Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, and then returning to the blues in 1984 to form the Kinsey Report.

“We're really excited about our daylong focus on 'Roots of the Blues' on Thursday's tent stage," said McFarland. “The use of blue notes, call-and-response format and primitive instruments - such as the banjo and diddley-bow - will be featured in performances by artists specializing in the origin of blues music and its subgenres."

Ben Prestage opens this special daylong tribute to the “Roots of the Blues" performing on the diddley-bow. Steve James and Del Rey will play a hillbilly, smarty-pants style of old country blues, and the Carolina Chocolate Drops, an African-American string band, will play the rich tradition of fiddle and banjo music from Carolinas' Piedmont. Otis Taylor and the Black Banjo Project, featuring Guy Davis, close the day by tracing the banjo's history back four centuries to the African xalam.

Other artists playing at this year's festival include: Kal David; Little Bobby and the Storm; Phil Guy; Teresa James; Jimmy Thackery and the Drivers; Kent Burnside and New Generation; Paul Geremia; Big Pete Pearson and the Rhythm Room Allstars; Great Black Music Ensemble; Alexis P. Suter; John Nemeth with Junior Watson; Tinsley Ellis; Boo Hanks; Doug MacLeod; Marie Knight; and Big George Brock.

“Kids will have a special treat at this year's BlueSKool," says McFarland. “Kids who received lessons and tips at the River Music Experience's Winter Blues Academy will assist blues artists Hal Reed and Ellis Kell teach other kids the blues at this year's festival, and then they're going to jam together."

The mission of the Mississippi Valley Blues Society is to educate the public about the native art form of blues-related music and to keep the blues alive. The IH Mississippi Valley Blues Festival offers adults free workshops and children BlueSKool to get hands-on instruction from blues artists. The festival also includes a free photo exhibit of blues artists and past festivals at Union Station across the street from the festival.

RiverRoad Lifetime Achievement Awards will be presented this year to soul blues artist and businesswoman Denise LaSalle and Chicago harp-master Billy Boy Arnold. The Mississippi Valley Blues Society annually presents this award to recognize artists who have devoted their lives to bringing river blues, music that runs deep with soul, to anyone they meet on life's highway. The artists may not have been as recognized as the 'stars,' but they are the true legends of the blues and the art form's living history.

Now in its 24th year, this blues festival is one of the longest-running in the country and is operated by an all-volunteer nonprofit group dedicated to providing top-notch entertainment at a reasonable price. According to the Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau, the festival's economic benefit to the area is $2.5 million.

Sponsors for this year's festival include presenting sponsor IH Mississippi Valley Credit Union, and blues supporters River Cities' Reader, the Illinois Arts Council, Scott County Regional Authority, Sam's Club, National Reso-Phonic Guitars, The City of Davenport, KALA 88.5 & 105.5, The Lodge Hotel & Conference Center, AAA Rents and ME&V Advertising & Consulting.

“For the fourth straight year, we are proud to partner with the Mississippi Valley Blues Society as the festival's presenting sponsor," says Dennis Hall, president, IH Mississippi Valley Credit Union. “We believe in supporting organizations and events that make the Quad Cities a great place to live and work. This family event over the fourth of July is a great addition to our community."

Advance three-day passes are available for $40 and must be purchased before June 30. Advance one-day passes are $15 per day for MVBS and IH Mississippi Valley Credit Union members. Children ages 14 and under will be admitted free if accompanied by an adult with a ticket. Advance tickets may be purchased at all IH Mississippi Valley Credit Union branches, at the River Center/Adler Theatre box office in Davenport, or through Ticketmaster. One-day tickets will be sold at the gate for $18.

About IH Mississippi Valley Blues Festival
For 24 years, the IH Mississippi Blues Festival has attracted local, regional and national legendary blues acts, making it one of the most highly regarded blues festivals in the nation. Musicians performing at past festivals include Buddy Guy, Dr. John, James Cotton, Clarence “Gatemouth" Brown and John Lee Hooker. For more information about the festival, artists and lodging, please visit www.mvbs.org or call 563-32-BLUES.


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