Canton Blues Festival Brings Established Performers & Up-and-Comers

Tinsley Ellis

Fri 6/7-Sat 6/8

The Canton Blues Festival, presented by the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, returns for the 18th year with a combination of national headliners and local/regional/up-and-coming acts performing at Market Square in downtown Canton.

On Friday at 8:30 southern blues-rock guitarist/singer and songwriter Tinsley Ellis will perform songs from his 30-plus-year recording career with Alligator, Capricorn and Telarc records, and his own Heartfix label, including last year’s Winning Hand. At 8:30 on Saturday, Louisiana bluesman Kenny Neal headlines. Now 61, Neal got his start playing with his dad’s band at the age of 13 and playing bass for the legendary Buddy Guy at 17. He released his own debut CD in 1987 — only a year after Ellis — and since then his vocals, guitar and harp have been embraced on the blues concert and festival circuit around the world.

Music starts at noon each day on the main stage; there’s also a “Back Porch” stage with music starting at 4pm on Friday and 2pm on Saturday. Come early and catch some future blues stars in the making. Find a schedule of performances here. One big plus: out of the 18 acts, at least five feature women.

The festival is free, although VIP passes are available for $50 per day, $80 for the entire event.


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