Celebrating both St. Louis' blues legacy and the refreshed cobblestone streets of Laclede's Landing, the Big Muddy Blues Festival is expanding its variety of blues music for 2014, with influential artist Guitar Shorty and blues-rocker Samantha Fish headlining this year's event.
Slated for Saturday and Sunday, August 30 and 31, the two-day festival promises more noteworthy national and regional artists that showcase different blues styles and sub-genres. Plenty of local acts, to be announced later this month, will round out the family-friendly event, and the festival's website promises that 30 acts will perform 20 hours of music on three stages
"We have lined up some major talent from across the blues spectrum, and we think this will be the most vibrant Big Muddy yet," says John Clark, president of the Laclede's Landing Community Improvement District.
Kansas City guitarist Samantha Fish is set to headline the August 30 date for Big Muddy. A 2012 Blues Music Award winner for best new artist, Fish combines the precision and soul of blues forerunners Skip James and Son House with the flair of more contemporary rockers like the Rolling Stones, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Sheryl Crow. Fish is supporting her 2013 album Black Wind Howlin', released to critical acclaim.
Guitar Shorty, a formerly nomadic artist now based out of Houston, Texas, will headline the festival's August 31 lineup. Born David William Kearney, Shorty has garnered accolades over many decades for his modern guitar work and his showmanship. Having performed with Ray Charles, Little Richard, Sam Cooke and T-Bone Walker, Shorty is widely credited with influencing Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Guy.
Learn more about the festival lineup and Laclede's Landing improvements.
Other notable artists on deck for the 2014 Big Muddy Blues Festival include Tinsley Ellis of Atlanta, Goodbye June of Nashville, Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials of Chicago, Kenny Neal of Baton Rouge, LA, and the Homemade Jamz Blues Band, a young Tupelo, MS, trio that prompted B.B. King to say, "These young kids have got energy, talent and do the blues proud with their own flavor. I believe they've got a GREAT future ahead."
The festival will be on solid ground this year, now that the months-long reconstruction of the famous Laclede's Landing cobblestone streets is complete. This spring, travel along Second Street between Washington Avenue and Morgan Street had been particularly bumpy from previous utility repairs, so crews ripped out the cobblestones, performed work below the surface and re-layed the original stones on a sturdier crust. New curb ramps should make the area a bit easier to navigate for all.
Big Muddy's main stage will be located at 1st & Lucas, with supporting stages at 2nd & Lucas and 2nd & Morgan. Admission is free for the supporting stages, $10 for general admission to the main stage, $50 for single-day VIP and $90 for two-day VIP. For more information, visit the Big Muddy Blues Festival website.