23rd Annual Billtown Blues Festival

The Billtown Blues Festival has been an institution in the Williamsport area for the past twenty-three years. Held at the Lycoming County Fairgrounds in Hughesville since 1994, the festival has continued to grow while maintaining its small-town appeal. The festival will be held on Sunday, June 10. Gates will open at 11 am, with the show running from noon to approximately 10 pm.

This year is what I like to call a “Guitar Lovers” line-up. Some of the world’s finest guitarists will be strutting their stuff for your listening pleasure. On the main stage the performers will include the Uptown Music Collective’s Young Blood Blues Band, local favorites Roy G. Blues (2012 Audition Concert band winner), 2011 Blues Music Awards winner Matt Hill & the Deep Fried Two, Australian blues guitarist and winner of the 2003 International Blues Challenge (IBC) Fiona Boyes & Band, 2009 IBC winner JP Soars & the Red Hots, the emotionally charged Bernard Allison Group, and the legendary guitar hero Johnny Winter. While the acts are predominantly guitar based, they vary so much in style that there is sure to be something there for everyone. In the acoustic tent will be a second performance by Fiona Boyes (regarded by Pinetop Perkins as the finest female guitarist since Memphis Minnie), “Circle of Drums” with Grammy Award winner Steve Mitchell, and Sean Farley (2012 Audition Concert solo/duo winner). While the acoustic tent might be considered a little more low key, some of our finest moments have taken place there. Longtime patrons of the Billtown Blues Festival may remember the unforgettably powerful, rain-drenched 1996 performance of Luther Allison, Bernard Allison’s father, on the main stage.

Food and drinks are available for sale, and patrons are permitted to bring a cooler. Craft vendors will have unique items for sale, and a shuttle bus will run regularly throughout the day from Williamsport to the festival and back. We want, most of all, for our friends and family to remain safe and happy. This event is more like a family reunion than a Blues Festival, as friends and blues fans from near and far gather for a day of music and reminiscing with old friends. There is room for the young to run and play without danger and more than enough space for all to put on their dancing shoes and kick up some dust. For ticket information, bus schedule, and more, visit www.billtownblues.org.

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