FAYETTEVILLE — This Saturday will mark the 10th annual Blues in the Natural State Festival. Sponsored by the Ozark Blues Society, the festival is part of the organization’s mission to promote an appreciation of blues music within the community. Roger Plourde, president of the OBS, said promoting live music is one of the most basic and important ways to keep the rich tradition of blues music alive. “First and foremost, we help promote the music and the artists,” he said.
The Natural State is one of the birth places of the blues. With roots deep in the Mississippi River Delta, the town of Helena boasts the longest standing radio program in the country, and was the first to feature local blues musicians performing live. Saturday’s music festival is only one part of a comprehensive plan to promote blues music in Northwest Arkansas.
The Ozark Blues Society conducts a series of educational programs, teaching lyric writing, harmonica playing and a musical history of the genre. In the Fayetteville school district, students are given the opportunity to play blues music in a group environment. The OBS also sponsors contestants in the International Blues Challenge each year, in which talents compete from across the world for the first place prize.
“Blues is an original American art form,” Plourde said. “Most of the music that we listen to today has sort of sprung from the blues — including jazz, country, rock and roll, soul and R&B — just about anything you listen to, so there’s a rich heritage … in the music.”
To participate in the 10th Annual Blues in the Natural State Festival, mosey down to one of the establishments listed below and pick up an armband for $10.
Blues in the Natural State Event Schedule
3 p.m. Kyle Lee (3-3:50 p.m.)
4 p.m. Steve Jones (4-4:50 p.m.)
5 p.m. Kathy Cole & Buddy Shute (5-5:50 p.m.)
Smoke & Barrel Tavern
3 p.m. Isayah Warford–set 1 (4-4:45 p.m.), set 2 (5-5:45 p.m.)
6 p.m. Earnest “Guitar” Roy–set 1 (6-6:45 p.m.), set 2 (7-8 p.m.)
George’s Majestic Lounge
6 p.m. David Kimbrough (solo) (6–6:50 p.m.)
7 p.m. Mississippi Fever–set 1 (7–7:45 p.m.), set 2 (8–9 p.m.)
9 p.m. Chris Cameron Band-set 1 (9:15–10 p.m.), set 2 (10:15-11 p.m.)
7 p.m. Lucious Spiller (7-7:50 p.m.)
8 p.m. Oreo Blue–set 1 (8–9 p.m.), set 2 (9:15–10 p.m.)
10:15 p.m. Earl & Them–set 1 (10:15–11 p.m.), set 2 (11:15–midnight)
10 to midnight Ocie Fisher and the Heartstrings