The Baton Rouge Blues Festival, which has become one of the nation's fastest growing blues festival, has been pushed back until September 18, 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since its inception in 1981 at Southern University, more than 50,000 people from all age groups have come to downtown Baton Rouge to attend one of the oldest blues festivals in America every year. The festival, which is produced by the Baton Rouge Blues Foundation, strives to further the promotion and advancement of the swamp blues music native to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In the past, the festival has hosted renowned blues acts like Bobby "Blue" Bland and Marcia Ball, as well as local talent like Buddy Guy, Mavis Staples, Phil Guy, and Larry Garner.
Swamp blues gained mainstream exposure during the 1950s thanks to the help of J. D. "Jay" Miller, a record producer from Crowley, Louisiana. He was able to bring songs by local Baton Rouge blues artists to Nashville's Excello Records and, through his efforts, was able to get musicians like Slim Harpo, Guitar Gable, and Lightnin' Slim nationwide recognition. Swamp blues eventually got so popular that it crossed the pond to Europe and helped to inspire superstar acts like the Beatles, Eric Clapton, and the Rolling Stones during the British Invasion in the mid-1960s.
The Baton Rouge Blues Festival's webpage has a section where you can find recent merch and posters, and 100 percent of any purchase goes toward the Baton Rouge Blues Foundation to help keep the Blues Festival alive. For more information about the Baton Rouge Blues Festival and the Baton Rouge Blues Foundation, visit batonrougebluesfestival.org.