2014 hot springs blues festivalSpa City Blues Society

The Spa City Blues Society is proud to announce the lineup for the 18th Hot Springs Blues Festival, slated for Labor Day weekend. The festival will be held in Hill Wheatley Plaza in downtown Hot Springs, August 29-31.

Tickets are no longer available for purchase online, but you can still get them at the gate!
Don't miss the fun!

If you're traveling from out of town, check out the discounted rates from our sponsoring hotel, The Austin Hotel! BE SURE TO ASK FOR BLUES FESTIVAL RATES WHEN YOU REGISTER!
Guitar Shorty
We have the Hump Night Blues Jam Wednesday the 27th at 8pm at the Ohio Club.

On Thursday the 28th Our special guest, Guitar Shorty, will kick off the festivities on Thursday, August 28, at the Ohio Club.

Here's the lineup for the remainder of the festival weekend:

Friday, August 29
Hot Springs Blues Festival @ Hill Wheatley Plaza
5:30 pm Gates open; Happy Hour
6:30 – 7:15 Heavy Suga & The Sweetones
7:30 – 8:15 Steve Hester & DeJaVooDoo
8:30 – 10:00 Hump Night Band w/ guests
9:00 After Parties in various venues

Saturday, August 30
Austin Hotel in the Mountain Tower/pageant Room

11:30-12:45 Make your own Diddley Bow
Limited to 15. Cost $25
Charles Ragsdell

12:30-1:30 Manage & Market your music career including representation & venue contracts
Steve Hester
No Cost!

1:45-2:45 Blues songwriting
Tim Williams solo/duo IBC winner
No Cost!

Hot Springs Blues Festival @ Hill Wheatley Plaza
2:30 Gates open; Happy Hour
3:30 – 4:00 Blues in the Schools Band
4:15 – 5:00 The Beckham Brothers
5:15 – 6:00 Tim Williams
6:15 – 7:15 Mr. Sipp
7:30 – 8:30 Barbara Blue
8:45 – 10:00 JP Soars & The Red Hots
9:00 After Parties in various venues

Sunday, August 31
Austin Hotel in the Mountain Tower/pageant Room
11:30-12:30 Blues gospel workshop
Rachel Fields
No Cost!

12:45-1:45 Keeping the Blues Alive- passing it on to the next generation
Sherree Hughes- SCBS - BITS Coordinator
No Cost!

1:45-2:45 Photography-telling the story in a digital format Jenn Ocken
No Cost!

Hot Springs Blues Festival @ Hill Wheatley Plaza
3:00 Gates open; Happy Hour
4:00 – 4:30 Little Roy Gene & Grayson Goff
4:45 – 5:30 Charlotte Taylor & Gypsy Rain
5:45 – 6:45 Brick Fields & The Chosen Ones
7:00 – 8:00 Ghost Town Blues Band
8:00 – 9:30 Larry Garner
9:00 After parties in various venues

Tickets are no longer available for purchase online, but you can still get them at the gate!
Don't miss the fun!

More Festival Info Below:

Headlining this year’s event will be Larry Garner, JP Soars & the Red Hots, Ghost Town Blues Band and Barbara Blue.

The festival, sponsored and produced by the SCBS, will include music related workshops, an artists alley for local artisans to share their wares, after parties in local venues and full line-up of local, regional and national acts.

Larry GarnerLarry Garner will be the headline act for the final evening of the festival. Garner, hailing from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the Boogaloo Band won the International Blues Challenge in 1988. Garner has also been nominated for several Blues Music Awards over the years including four nominations for time for Contemporary Blues Artist. He has received numerous other accolades through the years and was inducted into the Louisiana Blues Hall of Fame in 2002.

Garner left the 9 to 5 routine of a day job with Dow Chemicals to pursue his music career full time in the early 70’s. Since then, he has toured the United States and Europe extensively. “I’m on tour all the time,” he says. “I go to Europe and England a few times a year. Over there they really like my original stuff. They hear guys playing the blues, but when I come in, they come right up and say, ‘Thank God — a real blues band.’ We take it for granted here. They’re really appreciative there, and so am I.

“I’m also on the road here in the US all the time,” says Garner. “I have a 2000 Ford van. It’s got 365,000 miles on it, and I bought it new. You do the math.”

Opening for Garner on Sunday evening will, Ghost Town Blues Band from Memphis.Ghost Town Blues Band GTBB has become a staple in the Hot Springs area, playing gigs in the Spa City and Little Rock a couple times each month.

Beale Street’s latest success story and 2014 International Blues Challenge runner-up GTBB’s debut release Dust the Dust, (Inside Sounds) has received an impressive amount of airplay throughout the US and Europe. The recording won the European Independent Music Label Award for “Top Sound” in blues. Both Preston McEwen behind the drums and Alex Piazza on the bass guitar are a punishing rhythm section behind Matt Isbell with raunchy guitar licks and chainsaw rhythms. With the addition of horn players Coleman Garrett, Silky Smooth Suavo Jones and Jeremy Powell on keys, the grooves go from funky to funk-nasty as the band gains more notoriety in the international blues scene.

Ghost Town Blues Band is a modern blues band with an intimate knowledge of blues, rock and improvisational jams. At the same time, the band’s raw energy and intensity is reminiscent of some of the best blues that rock n' roll has ever offered. The band can turn on a dime from North Mississippi hill country grooves to classic electric urban blues and funk. This Memphis-based, gritty, six-piece has been touring the US since its inception in 2009, gaining a strong following within the blues and Jam Band circuit.

Rounding out Sunday’s line-up will be Brick Fields & The Chosen Ones and the SCBS’ representatives to the 2014 International Blues Challenge, Little Roy Gene & Grayson Goff and Charlotte Taylor & Gypsy Rain.

JP Soars & The Red HotsSaturday evening’s headline performer is 2008 International Blues Challenge winner JP Soars and the Red Hots. JP Soars is not a typical blues guitarist. He has a diverse musical background that encompasses a multitude of influences.

"I love T-bone Walker, Jesse May Hemphill, Wes Montgomery, Django Reinhardt, Muddy Waters, Johnny Guitar Watson, Guitar Slim and Louis Jordan,” says Soars. “But I also love Tito Puente, Miles Davis, Hank Williams, Black Sabbath and Slayer." Soars toured the globe and recorded several records with some of the most extreme metal bands in the world before finding his home in the blues. It is these attributes that are giving Soars an instantaneously recognizable style. Soars current band consists of long time drummer Chris Peet and new additions Pat Ward and Steve Laudicina.

Local fans should be familiar with Soars. He plays Hot Springs a couple of times a year and performed at the 2013 Hot Springs Blues Festival with roots & blues super group Southern Hospitality, which also features Damon Fowler and Victor Wainwright.

Opening for Soars will be the reigning queen of Beale Street, Barbara Blue. Born and raised in Pittsburgh,Barbara Blue Pennsylvania, Blue has had the blues since the day she was born. She has been performing on Beale Street five nights a week at the legendary Silky O’Sullivan’s since 1997.

She has performed alongside various top notch artists such as Taj Mahal & The Phantom Blues Band, Jeff Healey, Eugene "Hideaway" Bridges, Anthony Gomes, Marcia Ball, Delbert McClinton, Maceo Parker, Al Jackson, Pinetop Perkins, James Cotton, Steady Rollin’ Bob Margolin, Tab Benoit, and on The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise. Since forming her own band in 1989, Blue has been progressing right up blues alley. With the release of her debut CD "OUT OF THE BLUE", she has reached a wider audience of blues lovers worldwide.

Saturday’s line-up is rounded out with a performance by the SCBS’ Blues In The Schools students, Little Rock based Beckham Brothers Band, and the 2014 International Blues Challenge winners Tim Williams (solo/duo) and Mr. Sipp (band).

Williams hails from the Toronto, Canada, area and brings clever lyrics and solid guitar work to the Spa City. His songs are timely but also pay homage to great Delta blues pickers in their style and in the cleverness of the songwriting.
Mr. Sipp
Mr. Sipp, aka Castro Coleman, has been dubbed “Mississippi Blues Child”. Mr. Sipp, from McComb, Mississippi, began playing guitar at age 6. Due to hard work and perseverance he has become a critically acclaimed songwriter, musician, composer and producer. He is also a vocalist and performing artists.

With over 125 credits to his name, Mr. Sipp has played on over 50 national recording including several Grammy nominated projects. After winning the 2014 IBC, he was cast in an upcoming movie about James Brown. His performance at the 2014 IBC finals electrified the crowd. Mr. Sipp sums his musical journey up very succinctly…”I’m living to love the life I live…music!”Heavy Suga & The SweeTones

The festival will expand this year adding music on Friday evening. Friday’s lineup will feature Heavy Suga & The SweeTones, Steve Hester and DeJaVooDoo and the Hump Night Blues band with special guests.

Steve Hester and DeJaVooDoo

Start times and other details will be posted on this site as they become available. Check back regularly for up to date information. The festival is sponsored in part by Visit Hot Springs, Blues Festival Guide and Nightflying.