After skipping 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the W.C. Handy Blues & Barbecue Festival is ready to make its return to downtown Henderson with four days full of great blues music and delicious barbecue Wednesday, June 16th through Saturday, June 19th.

This year's event will mark the 30th year of the festival which is named after the "Father of the Blues," William Christopher Handy who spent time in Henderson after meeting his wife there while travelling back to his home state of Alabama following a gig in Chicago. There's a bit more to William's story, I'm paraphrasing in the interest of brevity. You can read the full story on the event's website.

The lineup and current schedule are as follows, and of course, are subject to change.

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The Lineup

  • Walter Trout
  • Samantha Fish
  • Larkin Poe
  • Eric Gales
  • Joe Louis Walker
  • Christone "Kingfish" Ingram
  • Tommy Castro and the Painkillers
  • Rick Estrin & the Nightcats
  • Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band
  • Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers
  • Mr. Sipp
  • Mississippi Heat
  • Ghost Town Blues Band
  • Amanda Fish
  • Duwayne Burnside
  • Kara Grainger
  • Gough - Martin Blues Band & Tramp
  • Blues 4U

The Schedule

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 16TH

  • 3:00 p.m. - Blues 4U
  • 5:00 p.m. - Kara Grainger
  • 7:00 p.m. - Ghost Town Blues Band
  • 9:00 p.m. - Christone "Kingfish" Ingram

THURSDAY, JUNE 17TH

  • 5:30 p.m. - Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers
  • 8:00 p.m. Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band

FRIDAY, JUNE 18TH

  • 12:00 p.m. Gough - Martin Blues Band & Tramp
  • 2:00 p.m. - Mississippi Heat
  • 4:00 p.m. - Joe Louis Walker
  • 6:00 p.m. - Mr. Sipp
  • 8:00 p.m. - Larkin Poe
  • 10:00 p.m. - Eric Gales

SATURDAY, JUNE 19TH

  • 12:00 p.m. - Duwayne Burnside
  • 2:00 p.m. - Amanda Fish
  • 4:00 p.m. - Rick Estrin & the Nightcats
  • 6:00 p.m. - Tommy Castro and the Painkillers
  • 8:00 p.m. - Samantha Fish
  • 10:00 p.m. Walter Trout

As always there will be no tickets for the show because it's free to attend thanks to generous donations from local businesses who sponsor the event, as well as individuals who contribute with donations which can be made through the event's website. 100% of the proceeds raised each year, goes toward putting together the following year's festival.

As of this writing, no information has been provided regarding food and drink available on site.

Monday's lineup and schedule announcement is certainly a welcome sight and is another example of the Tri-State getting closer and closer to putting the pandemic behind us. With that said, COVID-19 still remains a threat in the area, and while organizers have not announced any special seating arrangements to keep everyone safely socially distanced, they are urging everyone who attends to be fully vaccinated.

[Source: W.C. Handy Blues & Barbecue Festival on Facebook]

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