jazz & blues music blog with news, reviews, concerts & more, with a Canadian focus

January 3, 2008

1st Annual Calgary Midwinter Bluesfest Announced

Written by
cindy mcleod

blues festivals, Canada


1st Annual
Calgary Midwinter Bluesfest
Feb. 25 – March 1

Inaugural Calgary Midwinter Bluesfest to Run Full Week

Calgarians will have the opportunity to chase away the winter blues and enjoy two festivals this year courtesy of the Calgary Blues Music Association (CBMA).

Organizers have announced the first annual Calgary Midwinter Bluesfest will run from February 25 to March 1, and in keeping with CBMA’s tradition, features the finest in regional and international blues in a range of workshops, concerts and special events.

Topping the bill is Chicago blues icon Hubert Sumlin, who will make two rare Calgary appearances as part of the festival. Sumlin is considered a living blues legend, and among his many credits the 74-year old bluesman has played with Pinetop Perkins, Willie Dixon, The Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry and countless others. He counts among his biggest fans Jimmy Page, Carlos Santana, and John Mayer as well as Keith Richards and Eric Clapton, both of whom play on About Them Shoes, his new album.

Fellow headliners announced to date include Canadian blues guitar greats Bill Johnson (Victoria), who’s fiery fingers have opened for the likes of Delbert McLinton and Otis Rush, Canada’s first lady of slide guitar, Ellen McIlwaine (Calgary) and Juno award-winning Jack Semple (Regina).

Signature events will include the Acoustic in the Round concert, slated for Thursday, Feb. 28, the concert offers an up-close and intimate view of festival artists. On Friday, Feb. 29, Guitarmania lX sees the return of the ever-popular event showcasing the best in blues guitar in a full roster of headline artists. On Saturday, March 1, the great Hubert Sumlin will be featured in the Calgary Midwinter Bluesfest Headline Concert, backed by a local band of blues veterans.

Wednesday, Feb. 27, the Twilight Blues Jam features some of Calgary’s finest players hosting a red-hot jam session. As part of the evening’s activities, the Calgary Blues Music Association will induct several local artists into the newly-founded Calgary Bluesfest Hall of Fame.

Kicking off the week is the Blues Vocal Camp, one of three workshops offered that week. The two-part camp is designed for aspiring blues singers, who will receive instruction from professional voice clinicians on Monday, Feb. 25 in preparation for performance with a band before a live audience on Tuesday, Feb. 26.

Wednesday afternoon’s Emerging Artist Workshop features John Rutherford, blues musician, former radio host, and founder of the Carma Acoustic Blues Series held annually at the Epcor Centre’s Engineered Air Theatre.

Friday afternoon’s Midwinter Guitar Workshop is hosted Jack Semple, who will share his music, guitar and industry expertise.



Blues Vocal Camp – Workshop
Ironwood Stage (1429 – 9 Ave SE)
8 pm


Blues Vocal Camp – Performances
Ironwood Stage (1429 – 9 Ave SE)
8 pm


Emerging Artist Workshop
Kits on 16th Downstairs (720 – 16 Ave NW)
3-6 pm

Twilight Blues Jam
Calgary Bluesfest Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
Kits on 16th (720 – 16 Ave NW)
8 pm


Acoustic in the Round
Ellen McIlwaine – Bill Johnson – Jack Semple
Mikey’s Juke Joint & Eatery (1901 – 10 Ave SW)
8 pm


Midwinter Guitar Workshop
Kits on 16th Downstairs (720 – 16 Ave NW)

Guitarmania lX
Bill Johnson – Ellen McIlwaine – Jack Semple – Hubert Sumlin
MacEwan Hall (University of Calgary)
8 pm


Mid-Winter Bluesfest Headline Concert Starring Hubert Sumlin
Kits on 16th (720 – 16 Ave NW)
8 pm

for more information visit www.calgarybluesfest.com

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