Freeland Blues Festival August 1st Reunites Larry McCray with Contemporary Blues Legends

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, Local Music,   From Issue 813   By: Robert E Martin

23rd July, 2015     0

Without doubt one of the hottest tickets and most reasonably priced festivals of the summer season is the upcoming Freeland Blues Festival, which is happening on Saturday, August 1st at Tittabawassee Township Park in Freeland.  With tickets priced at only $10.00 and a line-up that features Saginaw’s own Larry McCray, former Muddy Water’s guitarist John Primer, former Buddy Guy bandmate Frank Bang along with his band The Secret Stash, and local Bay City favorites Blues Mobile, organizers are excited about offering such a stellar line-up in an open-air environment.

According to festival promoter Paul Koch, whom is also Larry McCray’s manager, the idea for this outdoor musical happening originated when McCray expressed a desire to perform his next regional gig in an outdoor environment. “Larry played in downtown Saginaw back when the 1st Merit Event Park opened a couple years ago; and he wanted to get outside more,” explains Koch.

“He wanted that more earthy feel where people can be outside and smoke the cigarettes and do what they want to do in public.  The fact that with Freeland we have the chance for RV and overnight camping so that Larry can stay all night and hang with the people made a huge difference.  Tittabawassee Twp. Park is a beautiful facility and with this event for the people camping they don’t have to worry about drinking and driving home after the show,” adds Koch.

Gates for campers will open at 10:00 AM and doors to the general public will open at 2:00 PM, with the show running form 3:00 PM – 11:00 PM. Koch says that a Community Bonfire will start at 1:00 AM after the show so that featured bands and campers can congregate.

40 RV Trailer Spots are available at $20.00; and 116 campsites are available at only $10.00.  General admission to the festival for those not camping is also $10.00; and if people go to freelandbluesfestival.com they can make their reservations online.

Koch says that the attendance goal for organizers is to get about 1,000 people out to the park and so far response has been solid. “There’s a lot of people formerly from Saginaw that live in the suburbs and Freeland is about 10 minutes from everywhere in the Tri-Cities; plus the setting and location on the Tittabawassee River is perfect for this event.”

“Sponsorships have been unbelievable,” continues Koch. “We’ll have four of the biggest Craft Beers from Bells & Lagunitas featured, along with good ole’ Bud & Bud Light and food vendors will include Barebones BBQ from Bay City, Eudici’s Pizza, and Maria’s Mexican.”

The opening bands will perform for about an hour, with Primer slated to do a 75-minute set, and then McCray will take the stage for a good two-hours,” estimates Koch. “This is Larry’s only real summertime gig in this area and it’s kind of a homecoming for him, as he’s been playing in England, Scotland, Greenville, North Carolina, St. Louis and has been real busy through the month of July playing 19 days out of the month at festivals.  Right now he’s at his favorite place, which is Arkansas; and it will probably take him two weeks to get out of there,” laughs Koch.

$10.00 Tickets for the Freeland Blues Festival on August 1st are also available at BrownPaperTickets.com, Pat’s Food Center in Freeland, Bemo’s Bar in Bay City, B&D in Munger, Records & Tapes Galore in Saginaw & Mid-Michigan Music in Midland.

Here’s some additional information about the line-up:

Larry McCray

Larry's heart and soul are in the blues. Of that, there's no question. It's been 25 years -- award-winning ones at that - of scalding-hot and tasteful blues from the Arkansas-born, Michigan-based singer, guitarist, bandleader, songwriter and heir apparent to a lineage that includes personal influences and heroes such as B.B. King, Freddie King, Albert King, all of whom he's had the chance to meet and play with. McCray's eight albums have blended reverence for that tradition with his own soulful spin on the form, and those achievements have been noted with an Orville H. Gibson Male Blues Guitarist of the Year award as well as the Top Guitarist prize in International Blues Matters' 2014 writer's poll.  His version of The Rolling Stones Wild Horses also just recently entered Bluesville’s Top-40 chart of Best-Selling new Blues recordings.

John Primer

As the title of his critically acclaimed Atlantic Records CD suggests, Grammy Award and Blues Music Award Nominee, John Primer is truly “The Real Deal.” He has been given the Lifetime Achievement Award many times. He has worked with Muddy Waters and is a Grammy Nominated Blues Artist and one of the last Traditional Blues Artists with original Mississippi roots.

Frank Bang & The Secret Stash

Bang’s musical journey began in his native Chicago. He was born in the Austin neighborhood into a music-loving household where everybody from Lou Rawls to the Village People shared time on the family’s turntable. Eventually, he began playing rock, finally discovering his love of the blues. Later, he shared stages with many of the greats. He eventually circled the world five times with Buddy Guy's Band, before cutting his debut album in 2004

Blues Mobile

Blues Mobile is an All-American blues band playing music from the U.S.A., featuring powerhouse singer LouAnn Ervin, winner of the 2014 Review Magazine Best Female Blues Vocalist Award.

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