The Chenango Blues Fest will feature new faces and old at the annual festival at the Chenango County fairgrounds on Aug. 16 and 17 in Norwich, presented by the Chenango Blues Association.
Returning after a long hiatus will be a festival favorite from the past: Larry McCray. In 1996, he was practically a kid, as he is considered now to be part of the new wave of talented blues rock players that crosses boundaries. He will return to the Sheffield Bio Science Infield Stage 17 years later.
After McCray will be 2012 Grammy nominee Shemekia Copeland, a returning festival headliner from 2003. Copeland has since opened for the Rolling Stones and played at the White House for the president. The reigning Queen of the Blues is a passionate performer with a blast furnace voice.
Also back, but after a much shorter hiatus, will be the Honey Island Swamp Band. The group’s music has been described as “Bayou Americana” because it draws influences from roots artists ranging from Johnny Cash to Taj Mahal. This is the group’s third appearance in five years.
New to the festival, will be show-closer Royal Southern Brotherhood, with Cyril Neville of the Neville Brothers and Devon Allman being joined by Mike Zito, Yonrico Scott and Charlie Wooten you have an all-star band of the first order.
Earlier in the day, will be Cris O’Leary Band and the California Honeydrops. O’Leary was lead singer for Levon Helms band and earning a Blues Music Award nomination as Best New Artist.
The Nelson and Flanagan/Grouse Ridge Tent Stage will be feature an opening acoustic set by Tas Cru, followed by Valerie June a multi-instrumentalist whose video “Workin Woman Blues” has been viewed more than a quarter-million times. Also featured will be Ben Prestage, who plays guitar, harmonica, banjo, lap steel, fiddle, foot-drums, and diddly bow and is a songwriter.
The festival is family friendly event that draws thousands of fans. Food and craft vendors will be on-site. Adult tickets for Saturday’s show are $20 in advance and $30 at the door for those 18 and older. Those younger than 17 are admitted free.