Fernandina Beach, FL – On September 14, 15 and 16, Amelia Island gets the blues! Amelia Island Blues Festival, that is, celebrating its second year of smokin’ good music, held at Main Beach Park in Fernandina Beach, Florida. With the Atlantic Ocean as its backdrop, the festival is offering up an end-of-summer party that rivals last year’s event, expanding the blues from two to three days, and featuring a line-up of spectacular local and nationally acclaimed artists.
The festival kicks off on Friday night, September 14th at 5 p.m., with Mojo Chillen from Jacksonville, and Fernandina Beach’s own Beech Street Blues Band, followed by headliners Flannel Church with Duane Trucks, and headliner Shane Dwight.
On Saturday, concerts begin at Noon, featuring an array of spectacular musicians, with headliners Sean Chambers, Albert Castiglia, and “Queen of the Blues” Shemekia Copeland. Chambers’ brand of blues is a no-frills blend of Chicago, Texas, and Delta styles, played with an understated sense of ferocity. Castiglia, whose latest album, Living the Dream, was released this summer, is a favorite high-energy performer at blues festivals across the country. Copeland’s passion for singing, matched with her huge, blast-furnace voice, gives her music a timeless power and a heart-pounding urgency. Aptly named “Queen of the Blues,” Copeland began her career singing at Harlem’s famed Cotton Club when she was just eight years old.
Sunday’s concerts kick off with Kim Reteguiz and the Black Cat Bones, from Jacksonville, winner of the Battle of the Blues competition, held earlier in the year during the Last Leg Rally. Reteguiz is known regionally as a vocal powerhouse with a dynamic vocal range and stage performance. Detroit’s David Gerald returns to the Amelia Island Blues Festival this year as the Sunday headliner, after last year’s eye-popping performance. Gerald’s blues have been receiving widespread radio play, along with recognition in the blues community, and was listed as Number One on the ReverbNation blues charts for Michigan Blues artists.
Other talented artists that concert-goers can expect to enjoy during the three days of blues on the beach include young super star Alex Ivanov, Roger “Hurricane” Wilson, The Nouveaux Honkies, J.P Soars and the Red Hots, Bill Sheffield, Blistur, Beth McKee, and the local Blues in Schools Band.
In addition to the music, The Amelia Island Museum of History has launched a new exhibit, “History of the Blues,” that features a tribute to the famed “Chitlin’ Circuit,” a collective name for venues throughout the Southern and Eastern United States that allowed African-American musicians and entertainers to perform during segregation. The exhibit will be on display until September 30, 2012.
The Amelia Island Blues Festival Committee and Board of Directors have worked all year promoting the festival and enlisting volunteers and sponsors. Jeff Malone, president of the festival and Amelia Island Blues Society, encourages concert-goers to take advantage of the many packages that the three day festival has to offer. “One thing we try to do is to keep the prices low, so everyone has an opportunity to come to the festival,” says Malone. “We offer a three day pass, daily passes, and a VIP special seating pass. Our fantastic vendors are offering food, drinks, and shopping, to make your Blues Festival experience the best. With a little sand and surf, and a collection of the some of the best blues around, it’s sure to be a great weekend!”
This year the festival is sponsored by RockTenn, our Number One supporter. So far, the festival has raised enough proceeds to purchase a six-passenger shuttle for Baptist Medical Center Nassau, used to assist and transport individuals on their fast-growing hospital campus in Fernandina Beach. The festival organizers will also be donating music instruments to local middle school children.
For more information about artists or to purchase tickets, visit our website at www.ameliaislandbluesfest.com.