We are pleased to announce the lineup of the 23rd Annual Western Maryland Blues Fest, taking place June 1-2 in downtown Hagerstown’s Arts and Entertainment District. The power-packed two-day event features a wide variety of blues styles and features several internationally-touring artists. This acclaimed festival is the kick-off event of the summer season, and a good time is guaranteed to be had by all! Cost of admission ranges from free to $35.

Friday, June 1 will be a free event, open to all, with gates opening at 5 pm. Family activities, a parade band, and a variety of food vendors will complement the evening’s main entertainment. Low Society plays from 6:00-7:15 pm. This band, headed up by Sturgis Nikides and Mandy Lemon, tours throughout the U.S. and Europe with a trailblazing combination of Texas blues, Memphis rock’n soul and Americana music. Doug Deming & The Jewel Tones play from 7:30-8:45 pm.  Deming, known for his deft guitar work and memorable songwriting, plays traditional blues, West Coast and Texas swing, and early 50’s roots rock with The Jewel Tones. No tickets are required for admission to the festival on Friday evening.

Saturday, June 2 will feature a full afternoon and evening of back-to-back music, from 12:00 – 8:00 pm. The Ghost Town Blues Band kicks off the day at 12:00, setting the bar high with their exciting and high energy, Memphis-style show. Their horns, harmonies, and homegrown instruments along with their energetic style has made them a “must see band” on the festival circuit. At 1:15, Albert Castiglia returns to the Blues Fest stage from Florida with his rock edge style of Blues. They say that “nobody sleeps when this man is in town!”  Chicago-based Joanna Connor plays from 2:30-3:30, showing off her virtuosic and scorching guitar playing and gutsy vocals. The one and only Popa Chubby, out of New York, plays from 3:45-5:00 pm, bringing his fierce and soulful artistry to the stage. Biscuit Miller & The Mix play from 5:15-6:30 pm. Miller, a born entertainer and award-winning bassist, puts funk and soul into the Blues. Last but not least is Billy Branch and the Sons of Blues. Branch, a 3-time Grammy nominee harmonica player and singer, is an ambassador of authentic Chicago blues, with over 70 international tours under his belt. After Billy Branch, Blues promoter Paul Benjamin, who booked the Saturday lineup this year, says, “well, you’ll have to stay to the end to see what might happen.” Ticket prices for Saturday are $25 if purchased prior to April 1; $30 if purchased before June 2; and $35 at the gate.

Benjamin, a board member of The Blues Foundation and an organizer of Blues festivals in Maine, Massachusetts, and Florida, notes that the Western Maryland Blues Fest is “well-known around the country to Blues fans as well as to the Blues artists who have played it in the past.” He further stated, “Nobody in the Blues community ever wants to see a club close or a festival go away. So here we are for another year with a very exciting line up of great artists.”

Tickets can be purchased directly at www.blues-fest.org through a secure connection to Eventbrite ticketing. For more information, visit www.blues-fest.org or call 301-739-8577, x. 116.

The 23rd Annual Western Maryland Blues Fest is supported in part by grants from the Maryland State Arts Council and the Washington County Arts Council. Major sponsors include Antietam Broadband, B.P. Lesky Distributing, Citi, Herald-Mail Media, M&T Bank, and Synergy Management Services.

(Look for these beautiful little rack cards on your travels!)