Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Johnny Shines Blues Festival to be held Saturday

Johnny Shines Blues Festival to be held Saturday

The South has a culture of its own. Few Southerners would not proudly claim the gems of their region, whether it is barbeque, good music or hospitality. Many of these things have become symbols of the Southern culture and way of life.

This Saturday, the Tuscaloosa community has an opportunity to experience all three of those Southern traditions. The first-ever Johnny Shines Blues Festival will take place from noon to 7 p.m. on Johnny Shines Street in Tuscaloosa.

Johnny Shines Street, formally 11th Street, is located near Holt Elementary School. The street was renamed after the late blues singer last December and serves as the grounds to celebrate the artist and his music.

The festival will support the Johnny Shines Foundation, which strives to promote the blues in schools and gives scholarships to students studying the blues.

Carroline Shines, the late artist’s daughter, has been working with Tuscaloosa City, Tuscaloosa County and a team of friends to make this festival possible.

“When I put the idea out there, they were there from the ‘I wanna,’” Shines said.

The festival has come a long way since “I wanna.” Not only will Carroline Shines herself be performing, but other blues artists will be performing as well. Li’ Gee Weevil, Bobby Rush, Kent DuChaine, Die Dra and the Ruff Pro Band and others will be performing throughout the day on Saturday.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the gate. VIP passes are also available for $50. Tickets are available at Jim Myers Drug, Woodrow’s BBQ, Little Willie’s and Wilhagan’s.

Shines said they are “trying to establish this festival for Tuscaloosa,” in hopes that the blues can continue to grow in popularity and influence in the region.

The presence of the blues in Tuscaloosa may go unnoticed by some but is alive nonetheless. Little Willie’s, a bar in downtown Tuscaloosa, will host the Blues Festival pre-party tonight. Carroline Shines will perform there at 9:30 p.m. Cover is $5 for 21 and up.

“Carroline has an amazing presence on stage,” said Billa Bartlett, a bartender at Little Willie’s, where Shines has often played.

Little Willie’s is a rare venue because it offers one of the only blues scenes in Tuscaloosa, Bartlett said.

Little Willie’s is home to many blues artists throughout the year and will host the festival’s after party Saturday night. Tuscaloosa natives “The Hypsys” will be opening for “Listen 2 Three,” a rock/blues/acoustic band from Savannah, Ga.

“Come here after the festival,” said Bill Lloyd, owner of Little Willie’s. “These bands will be a nice finish to a day of the blues.”

The Johnny Shines Blues Festival will contain a day of Southern classics: barbeque, blues and good company.

“It’s gonna be awesome, baby,” Shines said. “When I say awesome… as you young people say, it’ll be ‘off the chain.’”

If You Go

What: Johnny Shines Blues Festival

Where: Johnny Shines Street (11th Street)

When: Noon to 7 p.m.

Cost: $20 in advance, $25 at the gate

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