The 50th Ann Arbor Blues Festival Line-up Announced!

Duane Betts and Devon Allman

The original Ann Arbor Blues Festival is widely recognized as the first “electric” blues festival in North America, which, in its early years, featured perhaps the greatest lineup of blues musicians ever assembled including B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Freddie King, Big Mama Thornton, Luther Allison and many others.

Expanded in 1972 and renamed the Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival, it quickly became one of the country’s most popular music festivals, playing host to superstars like Ray Charles, Al Green, Miles Davis, Bonnie Raitt, Dr. John, Koko Taylor, Etta James and more.

The legendary Ann Arbor Blues Festival is proud to announce its lineup for the 2019 edition of the iconic music festival, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The Ann Arbor Blues Festival will take place from Friday August 16th through Sunday, August 18th, Special pre-sale discount tickets will be on sale for one week, beginning Friday May 17 through Friday May 24th. Complete info and tickets at

The last Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival was held in 2006, but never forgotten. A group of blues community stalwarts, led by Executive Producer James Partridge, revived the Ann Arbor Blues Festival in 2017 under its original name, with the goal of staging a 50th anniversary festival worthy of the original event’s legacy. “The Ann Arbor Blues Festival is more than a music festival – it’s a celebration of Ann Arbor’s rich contribution not only to the blues, but to all the music that grew from it.” says Partridge, “We have been so grateful for the warm response from the community and our sponsors. And we couldn’t be prouder to see it thriving again and being embraced by so many fans, partners and sponsors, as well.”

The Ann Arbor Blues Festival experience has always transcended any particular headliner, and attracted fans through the fantastic vibe of the overall event. It is always just all about the music. That same ethos informs the current incarnation of the festival.

In addition to attracting the best talent in the blues world, a core mission of the Ann Arbor Blues Festival is to honor the Chicago-style blues roots of the original fest, while keeping a keen eye toward the future of the genre. To that end, this year’s festival features a diverse mix of blues musicians, including the best contemporary blues artists, artists who performed at the original festivals, such as the great Sam Lay, plus up-and-coming musicians that are generating huge buzz. In addition, there is also the legacy of the “next generation” offspring of legendary blues giants, including Bernard Allison, son of the mighty Luther Allison, who became the first blues musician to sign with Motown Records, thanks in no small part to his groundbreaking performances at the 1969 and 1970 Ann Arbor Blues Festivals.

1969 was also the first year that the seminal Blues Rock Jam outfit the Allman Brothers Band came together, which also makes 2019 the 50th Anniversary of the ABB! In celebration, the Ann Arbor Blues Fest is delighted to welcome the Allman Betts Band, headlining on Friday, August 16! After a successful year touring as “The Devon Allman Project with special guest Duane Betts” The sons of Gregg Allman (Devon Allman) and Dickey Betts (Duane Betts) have joined forces to form The Allman Betts Band. They kicked off their World Tour on March 27, 2019 and sold out twelve of their first eighteen shows. The show features new music, songs from their solo projects and classic Allman Brothers and Gregg Allman tunes in honor of the 50th Anniversary of The Allman Brothers Band.

The new album, slated for release on June 28, 2019, was recorded at the legendary Muscle Shoals Sound Studios and produced by Matt Ross-Spang (Jason Isbell, Margo Price, John Prine and Elvis Presley). Former Allman Brothers Band keyboardist and current Rolling Stones keyboardist, Chuck Leveall, and former Greg Allman Band Hammond B3 player, Peter Levin, both guested on the record.

The Allman Betts Band includes Devon Allman, Duane Betts, Berry Oakley Jr. on bass (son of original Allman Brothers Band bassist Berry Oakley), Johnny Stachela on slide guitar, John Ginty on Hammond B3 (Robert Randolph/Dixie Chicks) and Devon Allman Project percussionists R. Scott Bryan (Sheryl Crow) and John Lum. Additionally, Brotherhood of Light, the "original San Francisco psychedelic show" is providing visuals and lighting for the evening. Brotherhood of Light has worked with The Allman Brothers, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Led Zeppelin and The Who among others.

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