Beale Street Blues Music Festival 

It only makes sense. If you've got a ton of top musicians descending on Memphis for a weekend, why not have a festival? On Friday, May 10th, the Blues Foundation's Blues Music Awards celebrates 40 years of calling its finest artists home to Beale Street, to honor the pickers, players, and belters who keep the party going through the best and worst of times.

"So blues musicians from around the world are coming here for this event," festival promoter Jim LoSapio says. Now in its fourth year, the Beale Street Blues Festival brings some of the most exciting nominees to Beale's stages for solo sets and jams with local favorites. On Friday, May 10th, a $10 wristband gets festival goers into 14 venues. Blues music award nominees will appear on nine, with local acts holding down the rest.

click to enlarge F11PHOTO | DREAMSTIME.COM
  • F11photo | Dreamstime.com

Festival highlights include appearances by Ben Rice, who's nominated for three awards, including best emerging artist, best acoustic artist, and acoustic album of the year. At Silky's, Memphis' own Barbara Blue hosts a jam showcasing soul blues nominee Johnny Rawls and drummer Bernard Purdie.

Fans of Bobby Blue Bland's gospel-fueled R&B will want to catch Rawls when he guests with Rod Bland, who'll be hosting a Bobby Blue Bland tribute and jam at B.B. King's

"We've partnered with the Blues Foundation to pull this off," LoSapio says.

"All the festival stages are inside," LoSapio says, acknowledging a fact the blues artists and May festival goers know all too well. "Sometimes it rains."

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