2021 Performers

  THUR SEPTEMBER 16  

Festival Kick Off Fundraiser Concert

$25 •  FEATURING 

Charlie Ballantine Trio

Doors open at 5:00pm

7:00pm | UrbanBeat 1213 Turner

Charlie Ballantine is acclaimed as one of the finest and most versatile  young guitarists on the scene today. JAZZ TIMES MAGAZINE hails his playing as “teeming with intricate grooves and maniacal precision his guitar work is both beautiful and complex” and VINTAGE GUITAR MAGAZINE described his style by stating “Jazz, rock, and folk music peacefully coexist in Charlie Ballantine’s world”. Although primarily a front man for his own projects with tours and frequent appearances throughout the US and Canada, Ballantine also has an extensive list of side man credits having performed with names like Rob Dixon, Emmett Cohen, and Amanda Gardier helping to further solidify him as a creative force and  put him in the highest of ranks as a performer.

Followed by a Blues Jam with guest artists

  FRI SEPTEMBER 17  

Tom Duffield

5:00-9:00pm | UrbanBeat 1213 Turner

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Tom Duffield’s piano work has been a part of the jazz and blues scene for decades. His repertoire includes interpretations of the standards as well as some surprises. A regular at music festivals on the west side of the state, we are glad to have him at the Michigan BluesFest.

Chris Canas

6:00pm | Turner Stage

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Detroit’s Prince of The Blues brings the full force with his band. Featuring hits from his latest album “Would You Mind” and his intoxicating High-Energy original takes on classic covers. Chris has won 7 Regional Blues Challenges total and has made 6 appearances at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis Tennessee. He was a semi-finalist 5 times at the IBC and a finalist at the 2020 IBC. You won’t want to miss your chance to see the Chris Canas Band while you can.

Kathleen & the bridge st band

7:00pm | River Stage

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Lansing’s own Queen of the Blues. Kathleen & the Bridge St Band were winners of the 2019 West Michigan Blues Society International Blues Challenge (WMBS IBC), with Steve Dely on slide guitar, Doug Fritch on guitar, Tim Brouhard on bass and harmonica and Eric Payne on drums.

Grady Hall & the Disciples of Funk

8:00pm | Turner Stage

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Grady Hall & The Disciples of Funk, known to get the dance floor moving with our roots in old school funk, blues, soul and a unique touch of Latin grooves. This is a band that knows how to entertain with their captivating, high-energy performances transporting audiences back in time with a blend of musical styles, creativity and good times. The Disciples of Funk won the Viewer’s Choice Award in the 2018 Capitol Area Blues Brawl, every performer in the band exudes a love of music and performance. You can catch The Disciples of Funk on a regular basis in Lansing at The Green Door Lounge or Urbanbeat.

Lady Sunshine & the X Band

9:00pm | River Stage

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Lady Sunshine was born to sing the blues. Born on a plantation near the Mississippi Delta in West Helena Arkansas, Lady Sunshine grew up singing gospel music as a little girl and is definitely the ‘real deal’! Sunshine is the consummate entertainer and that deep soulful southern hunger that drives her is apparent both on and off the stage through her heartfelt originals and down-to-earth demeanor.

Planet Express

10:00pm | Turner Stage

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Planet Express brings together your favorite, classic tracks from jam bands like Phish and the Grateful Dead with tasty surprises from Frank Zappa, the Allman Brothers, and the Aquarium Rescue Unit. The band members include Steve “Frog” Forgey (guitar and vocals), Clif Metcalf (keyboards), Sam Corey (saxophones and stunt guitar), Chas Millican (bass and vocals) and Jeff Shoup (drums).

Josh boyd & the VIP band

11:00pm | UrbanBeat (1213 Turner)

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Known for their unique rock, funk, soul and blues sound, this Ohio-based band has garnered regional and national recognition, playing at venues and festivals around the country. With sounds ranging from down-home blues to super funky dance.

  SAT SEPTEMBER 18  

KidzBeat dance

2:00pm | Turner Stage
Dance Performance

2:30pm | UrbanBeat (1213 Turner)

MUSIC WORKSHOP I - Community Music School

3:15pm | UrbanBeat (1213 Turner)

MUSIC WORKSHOP II - Community Music School 

Deacon Earl & Kid Cincinnati

3:00pm | River Stage

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3:00-5:00pm

Live-streamed at MichArts.org

Sérgio Passos (Brazil)

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The “Hitmaker” Sérgio Passos is the author of songs recorded by many stars of Brazilian music. In Bahia, several artists and bands have already recorded their songs such as Ivete Sangalo, Ricardo Chaves, Asa de Águia, Banda Eva, Chiclete com Banana, Timbalada, Cheiro de Amor and many others. For the BluesFest fo 2021 Sergio Passos will present the best of Brazilian Blues, including Tim Maia, Raul Seixas e Rita Lee.

Tony Caster & Black Mouth Dogs

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From Curitiba - Brazil: Tony Caster (guitar and vocal), Elton Rufino (acoustic bass), Ricardo Simões (drums) and Pedro Coelho (piano).From Curitiba - Brazil: Tony Caster (guitar and vocal), Elton Rufino (acoustic bass), Ricardo Simões (drums) and Pedro Coelho (piano).

Andrea Curbelo & Santiago Cutinella

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Guitarist and blues singer, Andrea Curbelohas developed her career in the United States, Europe and South America. Mainly focused on louisiana blues style. Santiago Cutinella guitarist and singer of Blues and Rock from Uruguay. He was part of several groups of the style and has played in several festivals of the genre in Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina. He is currently integrating his solo project “Cutinella y Convivientes” and also other projects in parallel. Andrea and Santiago meet especially to share their music at the “Michigan Blues Fest”.

Gina Garner & the All Night Long Band

4:00pm | Turner Stage

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Gina Garner’s soulful, sultry vocals cross multiple genres and generations. Garner is backed by the All Night Long Band, a venerable all-star band from Lansing’s blues and rock scene, including drummer Mike Daniels, bassist Mike Smalley, and the unforgettable Frog. Together they are a powerhouse of vocal harmony, dazzling guitar solos, and irresistible rhythm.

Tom Duffield

5:00-9:00pm | UrbanBeat 1213 Turner

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Tom Duffield’s piano work has been a part of the jazz and blues scene for decades. His repertoire includes interpretations of the standards as well as some surprises. A regular at music festivals on the west side of the state, we are glad to have him at the Michigan BluesFest.

Darin Larner Band

5:00pm | River Stage

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Darin is a singer/songwriter who plays both acoustic and electric guitar. He began playing to crowds when he was nine and started playing gigs when he was seventheen.

TICKETS

THUR SEPT 16

Festival Kick Off Fundraiser Concert

$25 •  FEATURING 

Charlie Ballantine Trio

Premium Seats

$20 per day

Includes both Turner

& River stages

General admission

$10 per day

Includes both Turner

& River stages

FRI SEPT 17  •  SAT SEPT 18

Purchase online at

bit.ly/MIBluesFest21

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or pick up at UrbanBeat in "Old Town" Lansing, on 1213 Turner St. Lansing, MI 48906. 

Rib Joint Jokers

6:00pm | River Stage

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Mike Daniels (drums/vocals), Harry Oman (bass), Scott Allman (guitar), Steve ‘Doc’ Yankee (keyboards/vocals), Gary “Blind Dog” Day (harmonicas/vocals).

Nicky T & the Snake Charmers

7:00pm  | River Stage

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Nicky T and The Snake Charmers are a stone cold blues band with a contemporary edge. The band consists of all former members of one of Detroit’s premier blues bands and Lifetime Achievement Award Winners, The Alligators.

On vocals is David Krammer. David was the founding member and leader of The Alligators for 34 years. His powerful voice and stage presence has made him a highly respected member of the Detroit blues community.

The rhythm section of The Snake Charmers consists of Frankie Lee on bass and Pete Berg on drums. Frankie was a member of The Alligators for 12 years. He is also a member of Blue Cat and the Zydeco Hepcats and is one of the go to bass players in the Detroit area. Pete Berg has a long, illustrious career as a blues drummer going back to his early days with Red, White, and Blues Band, Progressive Blues Band, The AlligatorsThe Boa ConstrictorsHarmonica Shah and Rock-n-Roll Hall of Famer Billy Davis.

Andy Szymanski is a consummate blues keyboardist who plays in the style of Otis Spann and Pinetop Perkins. Andy has worked with The Butler Twins, Front Street Blues Band, and has shared the stage with The Alligators as well a number of well known blues artists in Detroit.

Nicholas Tabarias AKA Nicky T, who is the namesake of the band, is the protege of Ronnie Earl and has recorded on his last 5 albums as well as performing with The Broadcasters. Nick has spent the last 7 years as the guitarist for The Alligators and is a devout traditional blue

Root Doctor

8:00pm | Turner Stage

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Root Doctor, born of the fertile Lansing, Michigan music community, had its humble beginnings in the open mic scene of the late 1980s. The deeply rooted, soulful connection shared by founding members Freddie Cunningham (lead vocals) and James Williams (bass guitar & vocals) anchors the band’s sound. Root Doctor has kept one other constant over the years: a powerful soul-blues sound with precious few peers. 

Root Doctor plays a diverse mix of classic soul and R&B alongside traditional blues and inspired original material. Along with over 30 years of club, concert and festival performances, they have released six recordings to local and national acclaim. 

The Root Doctor resume' includes appearances with Tab Benoit, Ray Charles, Macy Gray , Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, Little Richard, Otis Clay, Bobby Rush, James Cotton, Taj Mahal and many more. Their performances have electrified audiences at numerous nightclubs and festivals including the prestigious Poconos Blues festival, the Detroit Jazz Festival and The Great Woods Music Festival in Beausejour, Manitoba, Canada. 

BluesFest’s lineup includes Freddie Cunningham on vocals, James Williams on Bass, Bill Malone on guitar, Mike Lynch on keys, Austin Howard on Drums and Dave Huber on the saxophone.

Josh boyd & the VIP band

9:00pm  | River Stage

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Known for their unique rock, funk, soul and blues sound, this Ohio-based band has garnered regional and national recognition, playing at venues and festivals around the country. With sounds ranging from down-home blues to super funky dance. 

Lady Champagne & The Motor City Blues Connection

10:00pm | Turner Stage

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Born in Louisiana, Lady Champagne is an expressive blues singer with a crisp, clear and powerful alto voice that delivers lyrics you’ll feel deep down in your soul. In 2014 she was recognized as the best blues artist by the Detroit Black Music Awards Association. In 2017 she received the Diamond award for Best Blues singer of the year from the City of Pineville Louisiana and the MVMA Midwest Video Music Award for best blues performance. In 2019 she was recognized as the best blues artist at the Detroit Music Awards and was inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame. Her band includes Benson Wheeler (piano), Lester Hambone (guitar) Brown, Lorrell Holton (drums), Alonzo Harrison (trumpet), John Calhoun (trombone) and John Bass (bass).

11:00pm | Open Blues Jam • UrbanBeat (1213 Turner)

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