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Food Bank Announces 2012 Pittsburgh Blues Festival Line-Up


PITTSBURGH - Pittsburgh Community Food Bank announces the 2012 musical line-up for the Pittsburgh Blues Festival. The 18th Annual Festival, presented by Peoples Natural Gas, is scheduled for July 20-22, 2012, once again at Hartwood Acres.

Ron “Moondog” Esser, Chairman of the Blues Committee that organizes the Festival, announced the line-up this afternoon on WDVE FM with drive-time host Sean McDowell.

FREE Friday, presented by Giant Eagle, Fox 53, WDVE is once again mardi gras night, featuring Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience. For more than two decades Simien, a Grammy-winner and an 8th generation Louisiana Creole, has been shattering the myths about his indigenous Creole Zydeco music. Also on Friday will be Anthony Gomes. Nominated by Blueswax as Artist of the Year four times (winning once in 2003), Gomes has a brand new release out (Up 2 Zero) about which Blues Revue Magazine said, “Gomes’ authentic voice and formidable guitar chops put him in the forefront of modern blues.”

On Saturday, the Festival welcomes Canned Heat, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Jimmy Thackery & the Drivers, and Albert Cummings. Some people say that Canned Heat invented the “Blues ‘n Boogie” style that made them famous. Dozens of albums later they are still going strong with three of the four current band members from the original band that headlined at Woodstock. Dozens of blues and R&B influenced rock vocalists have credited Bobby “Blue” Bland as their main influence. At 17 years old, Bland began his career in Memphis working with a band called the Beale Streeters, along with B.B. King, Junior Parker and other blues artists that are all now household names. From that time to this, Bland has not lost his charisma. At 82, chances to see this living legend are diminishing – catch him while you can.

Jimmy Thackery became well-known when he co-founded the infamous Nighthawks, but 2012’s new release Jimmy Thackery & the Drivers As Live As It Gets is symbolic of his present life, live and kicking: “To say they captured Thackery at his best and live is the understatement of the year. This thing rips!” Of Albert Cummings it’s been said “his style is one that recognizes no boundaries.” A formidable guitarist who performs both his own work and some classic covers, Cummings’ most memorable trait is his haunting voice custom made for the blues.

On Sunday, the Blues Festival welcomes one of the first ladies of the blues, Mavis Staples, plus Bernard Allison and Barbara Blue. A 40+ year career hasn’t slowed Mavis Staples down; she scored the Blues Artist of the Year Award at the International Blues Challenge just last August with her recent release You Are Not Alone. Bernard Allison has not played the Blues Festival since 2007, when fans may remember him playing his guitar with his tongue. He has the gifts of his famous father, blues legend Luther Allison, but he has stretched those gifts into his own shapes and sounds and forged a 20+ year recording career including 2011’s Live at the Jazzhaus. And Barbara Blue, one of Pittsburgh’s own who has called Memphis home for more than fifteen years (where she regularly holds court at a Beale Street club), recently released Royal Blue, her 9th album.

Other familiar features of the Blues Festival are also planned. The KidZone returns, sponsored by UPMC Health Plan and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, with arts and crafts activities and healthy snacks. Merchandise and food vendors will have a wide variety of items from pottery to pulled pork, from hula hoops to Hawaiian ice.

The Blues Festival local line-up will be announced soon. Pittsburgh Blues Festival takes place July 20-22 at Hartwood Acres, and as always, all proceeds benefit Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Visit the Blues website at to purchase tickets, and for more information:

•          On Friday, July 20, sponsored by Giant Eagle, Fox 53 and WDVE, admission is free with a bag of nonperishable groceries for the Food Bank.

•          Saturday & Sunday (July 21 & 22) tickets are $30 each day ($25 in advance).

•          Weekend passes are available for $45.

•          Children under 12 enter free; parking is also free.

•          Parking is free

•          Visit the Blues website ( for information on student & military discounts.

Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank is grateful to all of the sponsors of the 2012 Pittsburgh Blues Festival: Peoples Natural Gas, Giant Eagle, Fox 53, WDVE, Comcast, WPXI-TV11, WYEP;

Bay Valley Foods, David A Tepper Family Charitable Foundation, Duquesne Light Company, AMCOM Office Systems, Keller Williams Realty, Hodgin Financial Group of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., Starkist, Coors, White Diamond Vodka, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Chemistry Communications, Moondogs, Pittsburgh East Nissan, the Aspinwall Fire Department, Armstrong Cable, and Print Management, Inc.