It’s been a long time since Knoxville’s had a blues festival. Michael Gill, the organizer of the Knoxville Museum of Art’s Alive at Five series, is changing that this weekend with Bluegill’s Blues Bash at the museum. Gill has booked two rising stars of the regional blues circuit, Mississippi-born and Dallas-based guitarist Zac Harmon and Nashville vocalist Miranda Louise, along with the Lexington, Ky., blues band the Stella-Vees, for the inaugural festival, scheduled for Friday, May 15, from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. (That’s two and a half hours longer than the usual Alive After Five set.) Former Knoxvillian Jason Lockwood, who played guitar with the late Sarah Jordan in her local band the Jordan Project, leads the Stella-Vees.
General admission is $8 for KMA members and college students and $12 for non-members. Children 17 and under are admitted free. Advance reserved seats are available for $14 for members and $18 for non-members.
“Please don’t let anyone describe blues music as sad, depressing, ‘cry in your beer’ music,” Gill says. “Tell whoever to think of a juke joint on a Saturday night, or a Friday evening.”