Saturday, May 10, some of the best musicians around will be converging on the small town of Leslie, home of the Buffalo River Blues Society.
This year, the blues festival, scheduled to run from 11 a.m.-11 p.m., will be a fundraiser for Blues In The Schools programs in area schools and North Central Career Center Adult Education.
The Eric Ellis Memorial Blues in the Schools programs will have demonstrations May 9 in several area schools. The career center serves Searcy and Van Buren counties. It provides services of GED/high school diploma, basic skills remediation, college and career readiness, and computer literacy. All of the services provided by NCCCAE are free with only a small fee ($16) for the GED exam.
In addition, 5 percent of the net profits will go to help the April 27 tornado victims in Arkansas.
There will be two music venues this year, on the Outdoor Stage in the City Park and in "the VIP Room" (The Drop Zone), with 12 bands, playing 12 hours of music. Bring your lawn chairs and head to Leslie.
There also will be arts and crafts vendors and barbecue.
Scheduled performers include:
• The Groove Injectors, a veteran local band. Name it and they can play it.
• JD & the Mudhounds, whose music is described as authentic, fresh and new with a cool retro vibe.
• The Gil Franklin Band, a fixture in the Arkansas music scene for over three decades.
• Low Society; they’re not your grandpa’s blues band. This band won the Buffalo River Blues Society competition last year.
• Zakk & Big Papa Binns, a father/son duo with dueling slide guitar, one-man-band style drums and a raw hypnotic delta blues sound.
• Lucy Hammond & Ben Rice, from Portland, Ore., coming to Arkansas on their Double Strength Tour. Lucy Hammond has been "livin’ the blues" for over 30 years. Ben Rice, at 25, is a growing force ont he scene, playing vintage blues in the modern era.
• Brick Fields & The Chosen Ones; Arkansas natives Larry Brick and Rachel Fields-Brick come together with their natural approach to their own genre of music which has recently been called Ozark Gospel Blues.
• Tas Cru & the Tortured Souls, blues poetry - telltale life lessons crafted with rare verbal flair and delivered with power and passion.
• Jason Vivone & The Billy Bats; Vivone has been called the Orson Welles of Roots and Blues music.
• The Jeff Jensen Band, formed May 2004, the band has performed hundreds of gigs.
• The Ori Naftaly Band, the first Israeli band to ever reach the finals of the International Blues Competition.