Ann Arbor Blues Festival set for Aug 16-18 at Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds

Celebrating 50 years of blues, unity

Photo | Bryan Mitchel
Photo | Bryan Mitchel

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Celebrating 50 years of the blues in Ann Arbor, the Ann Arbor Blues Festival will kick off Aug. 16 at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds. 

Following the theme of “Make Ann Arbor Gyrate Again” the festival will celebrate the power of music to unite audiences and musicians from Aug. 16 to Aug.18. The 50th anniversary of the festival reinvigorates the spirit created during the first festival in 1969: to act as a musical platform for unity, justice and equality.

Here’s the latest lineup:

Aug. 16

  • The Allman Betts Band
  • Bernard Allison
  • Thornetta Davis
  • Alex Johnson

Aug. 18

  • Laith al-Saadi
  • Danielle Nicole
  • Vanessa Collier
  • Harper & Midwest Kind
  • The Altered Five Blues Band
  • The Ann Arbor Music Center All-Stars

Aug. 17

  • Benny Turner
  • John Primer
  • Mindi Abair and the Boneshakers
  • Lindsay Beaver
  • The Sam Lay Band
  • Eliza Neals and the Narcotics
  • Kara Grainger
  • Doug Deming & the Jewel Tones

General admission passes can be bought in advance here for one, two or all three days of the festival for $40, $75 and $110 respectively. Prices will increase the day of the event. VIP packages start at $115 and include access to a VIP area, refreshments and hors d’oeurves, festival swag, and meet-and-greet opportunities. Children 12 years and under will be admitted free.  

Considered as one of the first electric blues festivals, the Ann Arbor Blues Festival has regularly assembled performances by talented and world-renowned musicians including B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, Big Mama Thornton, Ray Charles, Miles Davis and Etta James, among many others. 

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Revived in 2017, after an 11-year hiatus, the Ann Arbor Blues Festival has been brought back to life due to blues supporters and community members within the area. 

“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.” said executive producer James 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.”

Read Meredith’s interview with Partridge before the 2018 festival here. 

For more information about the history of the Ann Arbor Blues Festival or to follow festival updates, visit its website

The Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds are at 5055 Ann Arbor-Saline Road.

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