Blues and Jazz Festival events begin Friday, continue Saturday

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 18, 2012

On Friday, Oct. 19, the eve of the festival, renowned Memphis troubadour Richard Johnston will be playing in the Looking Glass black box theatre, 405 N. Lee St., at 7:30 p.m., with admission by donation to RBJS. VIP seating available at $100 per table, 8 people per table. Call 704-636-2811 for reservations. Salisbury’s own comedian “Big Walt” (aka Walter Brotherton) will emcee at the pre-festival show. Doors open at 7 p.m. Concessions will be available.
Johnston may be the most recognized street musician in America. Winning the 2001 International Blues Challenge, he became the first person in its 17-year history to simultaneously win both first place and the Albert King award for most promising blues guitarist. His Handy nominated, self-produced debut album entitled, “Foot Hill Stomp” has become one of the top-selling independent blues albums in history. His ferocious one-man-band performances have secured him invitations to play blues and music festivals around the world, but he always returns to where he started and will forever be remembered as “the Tramp King of Beale Street.” Playing to festival-sized audiences every weekend from his regular spot in front of the New Daisy Theater on Memphis’s famous Beale Street, Johnston has used the power of the Internet to establish the largest fan base in the history of independent blues musicians.The Rowan Blues and Jazz Society hosts its 14th annual Blues and Jazz Festival this Saturday, Oct. 20, from 2-11 p.m. at 200 W. Fisher St., across from the Rowan Public Library. Gates open at 1 p.m. Headliners include Fruteland Jackson, Mac Arnold and the Plate full of Blues, back by popular request; Harper, who offers blues Australian-style with his didgeridoo and harmonica; jazz trumpeter Joe Robinson, and more.
Local elementary school band Mini Funk Factory will kick off the festival at 2 p.m. Arts, craft and food vendors will be available. Bring your own comfortable chairs and blankets for October weather. This is a family friendly and handicap accessible event with activities for all ages. No pets or coolers are allowed. For tickets contact The Salisbury-Rowan County Visitors Convention and Visitors Center at 1-800-332-2343 or go to www.rowanbluesandjazz.eventbrite.comThe Rowan Public Library is teaming up with the Rowan Blues and Jazz Society to present the Jackie Torrence Tribute Storytelling festival, to be held on the lawn at the Library (201 W. Fisher St.) from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on the morning of the festival, featuring tellers from the North Carolina Black Storytellers Association, local talent, as well as renowned storyteller and guitarist Fruteland Jackson, who performed at Merlefest this year. This event is free to the public