Reading Blues Fest
The 2nd annual Reading Blues Fest, a three day celebration of blues music in Reading, Pennsylvania, will be held during the weekend of November 16-18, 2018. The festival is a project of Berks Arts Council, a local arts agency whose mission is to cultivate, promote, and support the arts in the local community. this year’s event will feature performances from top notch artists such as Booker T. Jones, Ruthie Foster, Craig Thatcher Band, Blind Boy Paxton, Vanessa Collier, Tommy Castro & The Painkillers, Tinsley Ellis, Shemekia Copeland, John Nemeth & the Blue Dreamers, Clarence Spady, Nick Colionne and Alexis P Suter among others.
We spoke with John Ernesto, who had been the head of the well established springtime Reading Jazz Fest for about a quarter century and has overseen the establishment of this affiliated Blues Fest over the past two years. Aside from moving the festival from early October to mid November this year, Ernesto noted a few other changes. Primarily that there are now single day and (a limited number of) VIP passes instead of individual show tickets. Also, this year all major events will take place at the Doubletree hotel in downtown Reading.
As for this year’s performers, Ernesto is excited to have the legendary Booker T Jones, who is performing with Gospel singer Ruthie Foster on Friday night. A Grammy Award recipient and member of several halls of fame, Jones scored his blockbuster hit “Green Onions” while still a teenager in 1962 and he went on to become one of the architects of the Memphis soul sound of the 1960s along with his group Booker T. & the MG’s, the Stax Records house band. Another highlight of the weekend is “Chicago Plays Stones” with Ronnie Baker Brooks on Saturday, November 17th, a follow-up to the album Chicago Plays the Stones, released this past September of 2018.
Beyond the headliner musical acts, the Reading Blues Fest will also feature several other special presentations along with late night after-parties on both Friday and Saturday nights, and luncheons each day. Ernesto said that they will also offer special advanced tickets for the blues concerts at next year’s Reading Jazz Fest, which will be held in April 2019.
For more info, visit the Reading Blues Fest website.