- The first edition will be held on the 29th, 30th and 31st of July in the Arenal, although it will be extended to other parts of the city through parades and small-format acoustic performances. The legendary singer and bass player Bob Stroger will receive recognition for his career and will perform alongside other blues legends such as Kim Johnson, Mike Avery, Kenny Smith, Billy Flynn, Piano Willie and Joey Saye.
- The Bilbao City Council is promoting this great event, which aims to boost the cultural offer and consolidate itself as one of the most outstanding events on the world music scene. The festival, which will be open-air, will feature more than fifteen concerts and activities, all of them free of charge. For the Mayor of Bilbao, Juan Mari Aburto, and the director of the Festival, Carlos Malles, it is “an exceptional opportunity for the city with a new format that joins the chain of events”.
- Children will be able to enjoy interactive pedagogical concerts to introduce them to this vocal and instrumental genre.
(Bilbao, 3 February 2022.-) Blues and summer will start to go hand in hand in Bilbao from this year onwards. The Biscayan capital, historically linked to good music, will add the first International Blues Festival to its annual “line-up” at the end of July. This is an important cultural event that was created by the Bilbao City Council with the aim of boosting the city’s dynamism and projecting this unique event in the Basque Country to the world. The heart of the city will beat to the rhythm of the most renowned blues bands, as well as several local groups that will be able to take advantage of this event as a launching pad.
The I Bilbao Blues Festival will take place from 29 to 31 July and will feature more than fifteen concerts and free activities. One of the star performances already confirmed will be that of the Chicago All Stars, in which legends of this musical genre from the American city will share the stage forming an ephemeral band. Its members will be the legendary Bob Stroger, Kim Johnson, Mike Avery, Kenny Smith, Billy Flynn, Piano Willie and Joey Saye.
This first edition, which will be held entirely outdoors, has also programmed educational concerts aimed at children, as well as a talk with a concert dedicated to women and the blues. Although the main stage of the event will be the Arenal, this musical genre will reach every corner of the city, in the purest New Orleans style, thanks to the parades of dixie bands.
JUAN MARI ABURTO: THE BLUES ALSO COMES TO BILBAO
For the Mayor of Bilbao, Juan Mari Aburto, “this is an exceptional opportunity to have an important musical event in the summer, such as the blues, which strengthens our position in the chain of this type of event. This first edition has great attractions: outstanding figures, in the open air, free of charge… and in the heart of Bilbao. A festival that we hope will be liked in the city and will attract many visitors”.
“It is a very well cared for, top quality festival that will bring great international figures of the genre to Bilbao. This first edition is presented with a format adjusted to the dimensions required by the times we live in. We aspire to consolidate this great event in the city in the coming years and that people come to feel it as their own,” explains Carlos Malles, director of Bilbao Blues Festival.
The aim of the I Bilbao Blues Festival is twofold: to allow blues fans to enjoy artists who do not usually participate in European tours and to discover this genre, the basis of others such as rock, pop, indie, soul…, to those who are not yet familiar with it. “We want people to get to know this musical style. Everyone likes a blues concert, even if you are not a regular consumer of the genre. Not only because of the music, but also because of the atmosphere that surrounds it”, says Malles.
BOB STROGER: BILBAO BLUES FESTIVAL AWARD WINNER
The blues legend Bob Stroger (Haity, Missouri,1939), bassist and singer, will receive the txapela that will accredit him as the Bilbao Blues Festival Award. In his long career, Stroger was part of some of the most important bands of the second half of the 20th century: Ottis Rush, Jimmy Rogers, Sunnyland Slim, Willie Mabon, Snooky Pryor, Eddie Taylor, Pinetop Perkins…
In the 70s and 80s he formed the rhythm section of the American Folk Blues Festival tours with Oddie Payne and accompanied figures such as Carey Bell, Lousianna Red and Jimmy Rogers. In the 1990s he went on to lead his own band and play gigs all over the world.
AN ORGANISATION WITH INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION
The promoters of the Festival have the highest international awards for the promotion of this musical genre: BBSA Award for best promoter (Blues Behind the Scenes Award) granted by the European Blues Union in Azores in 2019 and the K.B.A. Award for the best organisation of an international festival (Keeping the Blues Alive), the highest worldwide recognition, in 2015 granted by the Blues Foundation in Memphis.
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