Momentum is building for the 14th annual Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival. Delbert McClinton will headline Saturday's show, and according to festival organizers, more people have bought tickets this year than in any previous year.
"Pre-sales have been running ahead of last year, and it's probably directly attributable to Delbert McClinton as a headliner," said Don Powers, a member of the Activities Council of Thomson.
"That's exactly what we wanted to happen. Not only will McClinton be a great headliner, the rest of the lineup is diverse and top-notch. And again, we've put together an afternoon of very high-quality music that very few events offer," he said.
Other acts performing at the festival include:
- Francine Reed, a featured vocalist with alt-country singer Lyle Lovett and his Large Band, is making her return to the festival.
- Solo country blues act Rory Block.
- West Coast vocalist and harmonica player John Nemeth.
- New York City traditional string band The Wiyos.
- The Atlanta area's Breeze Kings.
Powers said the lineup, coupled with the chatter about the event, have the festival poised to be something huge this year.
"The last few years have been great building years with regard to fan base, attendance and a buzz around the state that the festival is a great event," he said. "With a little luck and some nice weather, May 12 should be a great day to come out and enjoy some great music, food and great afternoon for the whole family."
The concert will be held at the regular festival site, on Stagecoach Road, just east of Washington Highway. The event pays tribute to country blues legend Blind Willie McTell, a McDuffie County native born and buried in the Happy Valley area.
In addition to the music, vendors will be serving plenty of traditional Southern food and beverages. Carry-in food and drink are not allowed.
Advance tickets for the Saturday afternoon show are $20. Tickets are available at the Depot office and online at www.blindwillie.com. Children 12 and under are admitted free.
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