Celebrating 24 years of Blues in the Poconos, the Pennsylvania Blues Festival takes place at Split Rock Resort, Friday July 24 through Sunday July 26. It moves to Split Rock in Lake Harmony, Pennsylvania after 4 years at the Blue Mountain Resort. The new location is close to the original Festival location on Big Boulder Mountain. "The Blues Lovers Blues Festival," as it calls itself will be headlined by Shemekia Copeland on Saturday the 25th and Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials. There will be zydeco from Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hell-raisers as well as gospel from the Highway QCs,and such notable performers as Walter 'Wolfman' Washington; John Nemeth and Alvin 'Youngblood' Hart.
Friday night, June 24, the Festival opens with an Indoor Showcase with Mikey Junior's Blues Review, featuring the fine harmonica player and vocalist. It takes place inside the Galleria at Split Rock.
|Monster Mike Welch and Sugar Ray|
|Walter 'Wolfman' Washington|
In addition to the Main Stage, others acts will be presented in the Tent Stage. Electro-Fi Recording Artist Harmonica Shah & Carlton Washington will open the tent stage and play a second set later. Also in the tent performing two sets is John Mooney. Mooney mixes Delta Blues with the New orleans second-line. Growing up in Rochester NY, Mooney was mentored by legendary Son House and his most recent recording is a tribute to the Delta Blues Icon. Dwayne Dopsie closes out the tent Stage after Mooney's second set. Later Saturday evening, Bobby Kyle will lead a Tribute to Johnny Copeland in the Galleria Governor's Ballroom.
Blues on Sunday July 26 starts with a Blues Brunch in the Governor's Ballroom featuring Slam Allen, a dynamic singer and guitarist who spent several years fronting James Cotton's Band. Sunday on the Main Stage opens with the legendary gospel group, The Highway QCs. This Gospel Quartet was sort of the junior Soul Stirrers and members years ago included Sam Cooke, Johnny Taylor and Low Rawls. Up next on the main stage is Vanesse Thomas, who is the terrific blues and rhythm singing daughter of Rufus Thomas. Victor Wainright and the Wild Roots brings this rocking keyboard wizard to the main stage and he is followed by the terrific soul-blues Blues Music Award winning vocalist John Nemeth. Closing the Main stage will be Alligator recording artists, Lil Ed & the Blues Imperials, who will bring their exuberant house rocking slide-guitar blues.
|Lil Ed Williams|
Once again, the festival sports a superb line-up of blues. Split Rock offers lodging as well as serves as the Festival site. there are a number of other accommodations available near the Festival site. Information on tickets and lodging can be accessed at the Festival's website, http://www.pennsylvaniabluesfestival.com/. (all photos by and © Ron Weinstock).