Navasota Blues Fest 2015

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blues+fest+2By: Logan Kroll

The Navasota Blues Fest will be celebrating 20 years of preserving the blues on August 14–15. This year’s fest will include new and returning artists, such as Orange Jefferson, John DelToro Richardson, Michael Birnbaum, and the Betty Fox Band. Two-time Grammy Nominee Ruthie Foster will return to the festival performing her famous blend of soul, blues, rock, folk, and gospel.

The festival, which officially kicks off the evening of Friday, August 14, with the E-Flat Porch band, will include a free cigar box guitar workshop with Justin Johnson at 4:00pm. Michael Birnbaum will host a free guitar session on Saturday at 11:00am before going on stage at 1:00pm. Performances by Justin Johnson, Doug MacLeod, Betty Fox Band, Sonny Boy Terry, and Christian Dozzler will fill the afternoon, with Ruthie Foster closing out the fest at 10:30pm. Along with all the great music, there will be food vendors, a beer booth, promo booths, a silent auction, and raffle.

Early arrivals for the Blues Fest are invited to attend a free showing of the documentary, “This Ain’t No Mouse Music!” at Miller’s Theater in Downtown Navasota, Thursday, August 13, at 7:00pm. The documentary tells the story of record producer Chris Strachwitz of Arhoolie Records and his travels to find American artists, including his stop in Texas to record local blues musician Mance Lipscomb. The festival is held in memory of Lipscomb each year.

“Mance felt very strongly about kids getting educated,” says Fest Coordinator Jo Crawford. Having only received a third-grade education, the Navasota Blues Fest benefits a scholarship program in Lipscomb’s honor. Every year, the scholarship is given to a local high school graduate. Scholarships will be presented Saturday, August 15.

All performances will be held at the Grimes County Expo Center, which is an air-conditioned, non-smoking facility. Tickets are $15 for Friday and $25 for Saturday, or $30 for both days if bought before the festival or at the door on Friday, August 14. For more information about times, pre-purchasing tickets, and a full list of performers and vendors, visit www.navasotabluesfest.org or contact the Navasota Chamber of Commerce at (936) 825-6600.

Don’t forget to stop and take a picture with the Mance Lipscomb statue and post your picture to the statue’s very own Facebook page: www.facebook.com/mance.statue.