Sunday, July 26, 2015

Ship and Shore Blues Festival to showcase blues and more


Those wanting to attend a blues festival this summer with ties to blues royalty need look no further than the Ship and Shore Blues Festival, which will take place Aug. 8 at Lions Beachfront Park in New Buffalo, Mich.

As part of the festival, Precious Jewel Taylor will perform a tribute to her aunt, the late Koko Taylor, Queen of the Blues. In addition, Shirley King will be part of a tribute to her father, the late B.B. King.

The festival will take place from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and tickets will be sold at the gate. A full schedule of performers is available at the festival's website,

I had the chance to talk to festival producer John Moultrie, who also is publisher of iRock Jazz, about the festival. 

Q - Great talking to you. In putting together the lineup for this year's festival, what were your goals?

I wanted to bring world class blues musicians to New Buffalo and that's what we did. We have a Grammy award-winner and two Blues Hall of Fame inductees.

Q - What do you think separates your blues festival from other blues festivals? I'm not sure what separates us, but what makes us distinctive is our national brands partners and our interactive components.

Ford test drives, Chrysler shuttles, Harley Davidson JUMPStart, Game Truck, Curious Kids Discovery Zone and Musical Instrument Petting Zoo.

Q - I see that Karisa Wilson, who is from Michigan, is on the bill. She seems to be a musician who is on the rise. What were some of the reasons you wanted her on the bill? 

Karisa is a multi instrumentalist who also sings. She's won several awards in different genres of music and is considered a rising star in Grand Rapids.

We also have Hank Mowey on the bill. He is another Grand Rapids rising star.

Q - The festival also features artists who are connected to blues legends, such as Precious Taylor, the niece of the late Koko Taylor, and Shirley King, the daughter of the late B.B. King. Do you see them as helping carrying on their legacy and perhaps helping to educate people about their music?

I think each of them support their family's legacies by performing and telling stories through their music.

Q - Chicago Women in the Blues also is part of the lineup. All these artists already have a commanding force individually. They must really put on energetic show when they get together.

This a must see performance!! They put on a four hour non- stop show.

This is almost unheard of these days. Individually they are band leaders in their own right, but collectively, they are your blues dream band.

Q - You also publish What are you trying to do with the website? 

Our goal is to document the music, artists, stories and culture.  We are now broadening our coverage into other genres like blues and other forms of music.
Q - The phrase "Keep the Blues Alive" is a popular phrase. What do you see as the future of the blues across the country? 

Blues has the same issues sustaining itself as jazz. The greats are passing on and clubs / venues are scarce. Music innovation, broadening the audience.. younger, more marketing and rebranded messaging would help.

Blues is here to stay period! The future is bright and we're doing our part keeping the music alive by exposing new artists and great ones to New Buffalo at our festival.