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Camden’s got the Blues

Posted: September 27, 2011 4:14 p.m.
Updated: September 28, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Get ready for one of South Carolina’s favorite festivals -- the 15th Annual Carolina Downhome Blues Festival. With 44 performances, featuring 21 performers in 15 different venues, music lovers will enjoy this annual festival. Scheduled for Oct. 6-8, the Carolina Downhome Blues Festival is an award-winning event recognized for featuring legendary blues artists from around the globe.

Produced and presented by the Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County (FAC), this year’s Blues Festival will follow the tradition of presenting a slate of new musicians as well as some old favorites. Now in its 15th year, the Carolina Downhome Blues Festival continues to be a must-do weekend in Camden, drawing music fans from around the southeast. There will be blues for all tastes, from Carolina Lowcountry blues to “roadhouse” blues rock, to the best of acoustic blues and folk...and all points in between.

In addition to a great opening night event at TenEleven Galleria and the Blues In the Schools shows, this year’s performances will fill 14 intimate sites including The Venue on Broad, Old Towne Tavern, the Kershaw County Farmers’ Market, Food for the Soul, and Camden’s new Town Green.  In addition, there will be live performances at many local dining establishments including Sam Kendall’s, Carolina Café, Old Armory Steak & Seafood House, La Fiesta, Gadgets of Camden, Indigo Jones, and Salud!

In addition to winning the Department of South Carolina Parks, Recreation and Tourism award for festival of the year in 2003, The Carolina Downhome Blues Festival has gained recognition on a national level, and appeared in the 2010 October issue of Southern Living magazine.

“The Carolina Downhome Blues Festival has earned a great reputation among musicians and blues fans for presenting a full spectrum of blues and roots music,” said Danny Riddick, festival technical director. “Over the years we have been proud to present blues legends while also keeping an eye on the future of the blues with up and coming artists.”

Along with annual crowd-pleasers Shrimp City Slim and the legendary Drink Small, highlights will include performances by Eddie C. Cambell, Frankie’s Blues Mission, Biscuit Miller & the Mix, Robert Lighthouse, and Lightnin’ Wells.

This year’s lineup will include female artists such as the rockin’, guitar slinging  sound of Skyla Burrell, pianist/singer Gail Storm, and the soulful Wanda Johnson, a festival favorite. Other artists on the schedule include Marshall Ballew, Luckyman Beall, Floyd Callen, Christopher Dean, Dr. Pickup, The King Bees, Rockin’ Jake, and local favorite Rusty Davis.

Premier sponsorship for the 15th Carolina Downhome Blues Festival is provided by First Citizens Bank and Heritage Chevrolet Buick GMC. Additional sponsorship support is provided by Alpine Agency, SC ENT Allergy & Sleep Medicine, TruVista, the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, Colony Inn, TenEleven Galleria, Free Times, WACH Fox 57, The State newspaper, CBS Outdoor, KOOL 102.7 and Budweiser of Columbia.

Tickets

Wristband tickets for the Blues Festival are $10 for Thursday night, and $15 for Friday or Saturday night, which will admit blues lovers into all venues as well as the Opening Night Party at TenEleven Galleria Upstairs.  Three-day weekend passes are $35.  Armbands may be purchased in the FAC box office, or by phone using Visa or MasterCard at 425-7676, ext. 300, or on the FAC web site at www.fineartscenter.org. Armbands will also be available during the festival at most performance sites and the downtown Blues Kiosk in the Town Green  The Fine Arts Center will be open Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. for ticket sales and information.

Opening night party

The FAC will jump-start the three-day fest with an opening night party on Thursday, Oct. 6, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. upstairs at TenEleven Galleria, located at 1011 Broad Street in downtown Camden.  Entertainment will be provided by festival favorites Wanda Johnson, Shrimp City Slim and Dr. Pickup.  Light refreshments will be provided along with complimentary beer courtesy of Budweiser-Stella Artois. Afterwards, patrons will be encouraged to “hit the town” for dinner and more great entertainment at area sites.

The FAC is a not-for-profit organization which serves as a county-wide center for the arts.  The FAC Campus is located at 810 Lyttleton Street in Camden, with office hours Monday through Wednesday and Friday, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., and Thursday 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. More information is available at www.fineartscenter.org or www.bluesbash.com/camden.
The FAC is funded in part by the Frederick S. Upton Foundation and the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding provided by the city of Camden, Kershaw County, and BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina along with donations from businesses and individuals.

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