After a two year hiatus, River City Blues Festival returns to Marietta’s Lafayette Hotel March 18-19

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After a two-year forced hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mid-Ohio Valley Blues, Jazz, and Folk Music Society’s River City Blues Festival returns to the Lafayette Hotel (101 Front Street) in Marietta March 18 through March 19 for a weekend of music.

With the exception of a single lineup change, the artist roster slated to perform at the 2022 event is identical to the artists who were scheduled to perform at the 2020 festival, including Chicago Blues Hall of Fame member Peaches Staten, Chicago’s Nick Moss, Southeast Ohio’s own Micah Kesselring, Studebaker John and the Hawks, Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials, two-time Blues Music Awards winner Vanessa Collier, and 2014 International Blues Challenge winner Mr. Sipp.

In addition to its reputation for attracting the top names in blues, jazz, and even zydeco year after year for nearly three decades – the River City Blues Festival is also notable for its lack of corporate sponsorship. In a world in which even the most rebellious seeming rock ‘n’ roll acts perform at festivals brought to audiences by the likes of Pepsi and Red Bull, this is a refreshing change, indeed.

President of the Mid-Ohio Blues, Jazz, and Folk Music Society (BJFM, for short) Jay Phillips, said that especially after two years without a festival, BJFM is looking forward to the event.

“We’re so excited we get a chance to see our loyal audience members again — because it’s been two years since we’ve been able to see them, all people those who come year in and year out in support of the festival,” said Phillips, adding that there are many loyal fans of the festival who reserve their rooms at the Lafayette Hotel for the following year’s festival dates as they are checking out. “There’s not a bad seat in the whole ballroom of the Lafayette Hotel — I mean, you could be on the back wall and still be able to see the artists essentially up close!”

Blues Festival

Phillips said that those hesitant to check out the festival because they don’t think the blues is quite their cup of tea might be pretty surprised to see (and hear) what they’re missing out on.

“There are many people who aren’t familiar with blues who think of it as a music of kind of sad, slow songs sung sometimes only with a guitar — but when you come out to the festival, you do see plenty of guitars, but also just a real diversity of acts who are all playing music people can enjoy — music people can dance to,” Phillips said. “In our area there are lots of people who are really into country music — and blues and country both have risen out of the very same emotions that all people have — sorrow, joy, loss, love, and just everyday events.”

Listen to WOUB Culture’s interview with BJFM President Jay Phillips, embedded above, by clicking “play” on the SoundCloud widget. 

The 29th River City Blues Festival will take place Friday, March 18 and Saturday, March 19 at the Lafayette Hotel in Marietta. Find information on the festival’s full line up, and how to get tickets at