This year’s Blue Ribbon Blues Fest, hosted by the Southeast Iowa Blues Society on Saturday, August 4, features four acts sure to leave any music lover satisfied.
With his James Brown sense of soul and harmonica in hand, headliner John Németh has grooved his way to the top of the blues charts, establishing himself among the ranks of top blues musicians and modern soul singers touring today. Growing up in Boise, Idaho, John Németh was drawn to the hard-edged hip-hop sounds and rock bands of the day—but when a friend introduced him to the sounds of Buddy Guy and Junior Wells’s classic “Hoodoo Man Blues,” Németh was hooked. Moving to the Bay Area exposed Németh to more of the soul and funk grooves of what he calls “the early East Bay Grease sound” of San Francisco and Oakland bands. Now based in the home of the blues—Memphis, Tennessee—John Németh continues to be one of the hottest stars in the musical firmament, touring nationally and internationally with his Memphis band and taking the world by storm.
Németh has received two Blues Music Awards for Soul Blues Male Artist in 2014 and Soul Blues Album in 2015, and was nominated for a 2017 Blues Music Award in the category of B.B. King Entertainer of the Year.
Also performing will be the Chris Antonik Band. Toronto-based Chris Antonik is a three-time Maple Blues Award nominee (Canada’s national blues awards) and one of Canada’s most acclaimed blues artists. His innovative, thoughtful songwriting and stunning blues guitar work have drawn comparisons to Eric Clapton.
Local favorites the Riverdogs will open the mainstage entertainment with their signature swamp blues at 5:30 p.m., and Iowa Blues Hall of Fame inductee Tony Blew will perform between acts throughout the evening. Festival goers will also enjoy award-winning BBQ from Sweet & Saucy, as well as kettle corn, and the Iowa Beer Bus will be on-site with a selection of domestic and Iowa craft beers.
Tickets for the Blue Ribbon Blues Fest are $25, or $20 for Blues Society members, and can be purchased at Morgan’s Bar & Grill in Ottumwa, the Guitar Farm in New London, Weird Harold’s Record Shop in Burlington, and the Classic 96 studios in Fairfield.
Blue Ribbon Blues Fest takes place at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds in Fairfield.