Friday September 16 and Saturday September 17
LeClaire Park, 400 Beiderbecke Drive, Davenport IA
With award-winning Billboard-mapping Grammy-nominated artists performing on the banks of a mighty river, the Mississippi Valley Blues Fest returns to Davenport for its 36th incarnation on September 16-17, the LeClaire Park event – hosted by the Mississippi Valley Blues Society – featuring nine concert bands on the main stage, nine more incendiary bands in the neighboring Tent State, and the return of MBVS’ grassroots blues education and appreciation initiative, Blueskool.
Four hot bands are scheduled to take to the Blues Fest main stage on Friday, September 16: Kevin Burt & Big Medicine (5 p.m.), the recent album by its leader mad stone praised by The blues matter! as “vocally exquisite, musically phenomenal” and “a blues album to treasure”; Billy Branch & Sons of the Blues (6:45 p.m.), the harmonica-led ensemble that’s also Grammy-nominated, Emmy-winning, and multiple Blues Music Award winner; Joe Louis Walker (8:30 p.m.), the electric blues guitarist and singer-songwriter whom NPR Music has described as “powerful, soulful, fierce and gritty…a legendary modern blues icon who pushes the boundaries”; and singer/guitarist Sue Foley (10:15 p.m.), a Canadian-born Juno winner for her album The love that descends, has won 17 Maple Blues Awards and three Trophées de Blues de France. She has also earned multiple Blues Music Award nominations and won a 2020 Blues Music Award in the “Koko Taylor Award (Traditional Blues Female)” category.
Five more scorching sets will grace the main stage on Saturday, September 17: Ivan Singh (2 p.m.), the 28-year-old Argentinian hailed by Chicago’s WGN radio as “one of his country’s best-known blues guitarists who has a unique can-box guitar and a particular way of playing it”; the Altered 5 Blues Band quintet based in Milwaukee (3:30 p.m.), with leader Jeff Taylor hailed by The Blues for his “sweet, warm voice as monumental and unmistakable as Howlin’ Wolf with the finish and flourish of BB King”; Rick Estrin & the Nightcats (5:15 p.m.), the touring electric blues band whose frontman was described by the Philadelphia plaintiff as “one of the great characters of the blues – a sharp-dressed, soft-spoken, harmonica-playing hep-cat”; saxophonist Vanessa Collier (7:15 p.m.), who has so far won two Blues Music Awards for “Horn Player of the Year” and the 2022 Blues Music Award for “Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year”; and Parisian guitarist Bernard Allison (9:15 p.m.), who was invited to join Koko Taylor’s touring band a week after graduating, and who furthered his skills under the tutelage of artists such as Johnny Winter and Stevie Ray Vaughan. The newest of Allison’s 16 recordings to date, Highs & Lows, debuted atop Billboardfrom the US Blues Albums chart from earlier this year.
In addition to the Blues Fest headliners on the main stage, LeClaire Park’s Tent Stage will feature performances by several local and national talents: The Band Avey Grows (Fridays, 4 and 6:15 p.m.); Molly Nova & the Hawk (Friday, 8 p.m. & 9:45 p.m.); Kent Burnside (Saturday, 1 p.m.); the Soul Searchers (Saturday, 3 p.m. & 4:45 p.m.); and the Matt Woods Band (Saturday, 6:45 p.m. and 8:45 p.m.).
Blues Fest 2022 will also bring the return of Blueskool, the popular interactive and informal educational workshop for music fans of all ages, and designed for them to learn the history of blues music, listen to the blues and learn to play the blues . This year’s Blueskool workshops will be led on Saturday by award-winning, nationally touring blues artist and educator Kevin Burt (3 p.m.); musician and founder of the Healing with the Blues website Tanya English (4 p.m.); and Blues Fest favorite Billy Branch (5 p.m.), with free harmonicas provided to all participating children thanks to the generosity of longtime Blues Society supporter David Berntson.
Admission to Mississippi Valley Blues Fest 2022 is $20 for the Friday one-day pass, $30 for the Saturday one-day pass, and $45 for the weekend two-day pass. For more information and tickets, contact the Mississippi Valley Blues Society at (563) 322-5837 and MVBS.org/blues-fest.