Blues Weekend begins May 29 and runs through June 1. Major acts are also scheduled for the Barefoot Ballroom and Ozark Room in the Basin Park Hotel. Blues diva LZ Love and Baton Rouge bluesman Larry Garner perform on Friday. On Saturday, the venue features Ruf Records artist Deborah Coleman, and Arkansas' own Michael Burks.
Blues concerts are also planned at numerous clubs around town. Venues include the Cat House Pub, Center Street, Chelsea's, Eureka Live, Henri's, Jack's Place, Lumberyard, Pied Piper, Rowdy Beaver, Shawbee's, and Tiki Torch.
The city's lineup of free Blues Weekend shows is the most extensive in recent years. Eighteen free shows are scheduled at Basin Park. They run hourly from noon to 5 p.m. on Friday; from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday; and from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday.
Organizers consider this one of the most ambitious schedules ever, and blues fans will have many quality choices.
Acts appearing at the various clubs around town and in Basin Park are The Ariels, Rich Berry, Gera 'Black and Blues,' Delta Highway, The Eureka Street Buskers, Full House, Joe Giles and The Homewreckers, Michael "Hawkeye" Herman, Scott Holt, Anna Horton, Gary Hutchinson Duo, Jones Van Jones, The Jug Band, Karian, Kosmik Debris, Jeff Lee, Brian Martin, Oreo Blue, Oysters Rockefeller, Joe Pitts Band, Patrick Sweany Band, Penelope and The Unusual Suspects, Pope County Bootleggers, Rockin' Jake, Spent, Stella Blue & Maddog, The Tablerockers, Lil' Dave Thompson, Underground Mafia, Vance Orange Project, and Dayton Waters. Other acts are still to be announced.
Trampled Under Foot, 2008 International Blues Challenge (IBC) winners, will open for Koko Taylor on Thursday night. Featuring siblings Danielle, Nick and Kris Schnebelen, the group bested some 100 bands from around the world at The Blues Foundation's annual battle of blues bands in Memphis in February. Danielle was the talk of Beale Street, wowing people with both her bass playing and her amazing vocals, and Nick won a new Gibson guitar and Category 5 amp for the Albert King Award for Most Promising Guitarist.
Opening for Indigenous Friday night will be acoustic guitar virtuoso Rory Block. Her most recent album was a much-lauded tribute to blues granddaddy Robert Johnson. As the second act on the bill that night, Phil Berkowitz and The Sean Carney Band will perform a 100th birthday tribute to Arkansas' own "Jukebox King," Louis Jordan. The Sean Carney Band was the 2007 IBC winner. Louis Jordan was born in Brinkley, Arkansas in 1908, and went on to chart 57 Top-40 hits (54 Top-10), including Let The Good Times Roll, Caledonia, Saturday Night Fish Fry, and Choo Choo Ch' Boogie.
To help blues patrons reach the shows, the Eureka Springs Transit Department will keep the trolleys running Thursday through Saturday nights until 8 p.m. And rides home to any Eureka Springs area lodging will be available for $5 per person through Eureka Springs Limousines at (479) 244-6320.
VIP ticketing will be available for rows in the front center at both the Auditorium and Basin Park Barefoot Ballroom shows. Tickets and information for the 2008 Eureka Springs Blues Weekend are available by calling (888) 855-7823 or online at eurekaspringsblues.com.