Lil Jimmy Reed keeps up the tune on guitar and harmonica after climbing down from the Roots & Blues main stage to walk amongst the crowd during the 2018 festival. Reed will be one of the performers featured in the online 2020 festival’s first night. (Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer)

Lil Jimmy Reed keeps up the tune on guitar and harmonica after climbing down from the Roots & Blues main stage to walk amongst the crowd during the 2018 festival. Reed will be one of the performers featured in the online 2020 festival’s first night. (Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer)

Opening night lineup for online Roots & Blues festival released

The first night of the festival on Aug. 14 will be stacked with favourites from previous years

As the Roots & Blues “altered state” online festival draws nearer organizers have firmed up the details of its opening night that will be streamed to its audience’s computers, phones and tablets using the websites of 140 Black Press Media publications across B.C. and Alberta.

The first night of the 2020 festival will kick off at 7 p.m. Pacific time on Aug. 14. The online festival features a mix of newly recorded video and archive footage showing off some of the best sets from festivals of previous years. Those who attended Roots & Blues over the past few years will recognize some of the names on the online festival’s opening night lineup.

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Performances by Lil Jimmy Reed, Harry Manx and the Yaletown String Quartet, Michael Franti and The Paperboys and more will all allow the audience to relive festivals gone by or maybe expose them to music they haven’t heard. The opening night of the festival will also feature Steve Marriner and Paul Reddick, Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne, Oktopus, New Orleans Suspects and more.

“While circumstances beyond our control have forced the festival to shift gears, offering a free online festival, we hope to reach new audiences from around the world, while still paying tribute to the loyal Roots & Blues fans that have been attending for decades,” said Peter North, artistic director for the festival.

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Festival executive director David Gonella said registration for the online festival, which also gets registrants in a draw for tickets to the 2021 festival, has been well received.

“We have already heard from those registered about their plans for creative, socially distant and safe viewing groups, keeping the Roots & Blues festival and tradition of authenticity and community alive, even in the absence of a physical event,” he said.

-Keep an eye on your local Black Press Media website for more details on the online Roots & Blues festival.

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