A few years ago, James Partridge, a long-time FSHD Society member, decided to re-boot his career and pursue his passion for the blues. His home city of Ann Arbor, Michigan, had in decades past hosted a famed blues festival and he felt the call to resurrect it. Thus was born Ann Arbor Blues Festival version 2.0. This is the third year of the revived festival, which is scheduled for Friday, August 16, through Sunday, August 18th, at the Washtenaw Farm Council Fairgrounds. The festival is donating $1 of every ticket sold to the FSHD Society.
“The world’s first electric blues festival was held in Ann Arbor, Michigan in August 1969,” the festival website explains by way of background. “That’s when a small group of University of Michigan students gathered what may have been the greatest lineup of blues musicians who ever lived for a 3-day celebration of Chicago-style blues. B.B. King. Muddy Waters. Howlin’ Wolf. Freddie King. John Lee Hooker. Luther Allison. Big Mama Thornton. Charlie Musselwhite. Buddy Guy. T-Bone Walker.” The festival continued to attract top talents until its demise in 2006.
Partridge and a group of like-minded blues fans stepped up to revive the festival in 2017. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the original ABB with bands that celebrate the new generation of blues legends, starting with headliner The Allman Betts band, formed by Devon Allman (son of Gregg Allman) and Duane Betts (son of Dickey Betts) of the Allman Brothers Band. They are joined by dozens of outstanding acts. Check out the line-up here.
“The Ann Arbor Blues Festival is more than a music festival – it’s a celebration of Ann Arbor’s rich contribution not only to the blues, but to all the music that grew from it.” says Partridge, “We have been so grateful for the warm response from the community and our sponsors. And we couldn’t be prouder to see it thriving again and being embraced by so many fans, partners and sponsors, as well.”