Free music festival in Meigs celebrates blues and art

Bluesman Larry Garner is among the many acts performing at the Foothills Blues and Arts Festival this weekend.

The sixth annual Foothills Blues & Arts Festival is set for this Friday and Saturday at a rural site in Meigs County.


"Music and art bring people together and that is what this festival is all about," Jared Sheets, president of the Foothills Music Foundation, said in a news release. The foundation is co-sponsoring the festival.

He continued, "Twenty-one acts on two stages, as well as dozens of local and regional artisans, make this festival a must-see event."

Sheets said the event is free "thanks to donations from local businesses and individuals, as well as support from organizations such as the Ohio Arts Council and the West Virginia Division of Culture and History."

This year the Foothills Music Foundation is again partnering with the Athens Local Professional Artisan and Craftsmen Association (A.L.P.A.C.A.). Local artists affiliated with the Athens-based organization will be demonstrating and displaying works through the weekend, with many hands-on activities for children and adults.

The festival is located just off Ohio Rt. 143 near Harrisonville at the Sheets family farm. Free camping for the entire weekend is available on-site, including RV parking by email reservation. Local food vendors will offer everything from pulled pork and ribs to southern-fried catfish.

Those coming to the festival should bring their own lawn chairs and may bring their own coolers, but no glass containers are allowed. For details and directions, visit or email the Foothills Music Foundation at

The weekend starts at 5:30 p.m. Friday with six acts including International Blues Challenge finalist Chris Sutton and his band C&S Railroad from Barboursville, W.Va.; local favorite and host group The Mudfork Blues Band; 2008 West Virginia Blues Society winner and 2009 International Blues Challenge finalist Sam Lamont and his band, of Morgantown, W.Va.; and the smooth sounds of Jazz Spoken Here, led by trumpeter and director of the Ohio University of School of Music and Fine Arts, Michael Parkinson.

Saturday features 15 musical acts on two stages running from 12:30 p.m. until midnight featuring the always entertaining James Armstrong of Chicago, IL and the international blues legend Larry Garner of Baton Rouge, La.



(All music on covered stage)

5 p.m. Campgrounds open and artisan demonstrations begin

5:30 Broken Ring, Athens

6:30 The Mudfork Blues Band, Harrisonville, Ohio

7:30 Jazz Spoken Here, Athens

8:30 C&S Railroad, Barboursville, W.Va.

9:30 Sam Lamont Blues Band, Morgantown, W.Va.

10:30 Sit Down Baby, Providence, R.I.


Noon Artisan demonstrations begin

Electric Stage

Noon Duke Junior and the Smokey Boots, Athens

1:15 Sit Down Baby, Providence, R.I.

2:30 Magic Mama Band, Point Pleasant, W.Va.

3:45 Dennis McClung Blues Band, Fairmont, W.Va.

5:15 Ellie Lee & Blues Fury, Columbus

6:45 The Mudfork Blues Band, Harrisonville, Ohio

7:45 James Armstrong Blues Band, Chicago

9:15 Larry Garner Blues Band, Baton Rouge, La.

10:45 The Jimi Vincent Band, Sylvania, Ohio

Acoustic Stage

12:45 p.m. Todd Burge, Parkersburg

2 Todd Burge, Parkersburg

3:15 The Bob Stewart Band, Athens

4:45 The Bob Stewart Band, Athens

6:15 Izzy and Chris, Weirton, W.Va.

7:15 Izzy and Chris, Weirton, W.Va.

For more information, go to the website,

The nonprofit Foothills Music Foundation was founded in 2006 "and is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in the foothills region of southeastern Ohio and northwestern West Virginia by encouraging, supporting, and promoting music and the arts," according to the release.

To get to the festival from Athens, here's the best way to go unless you live more than a few miles southeast of the city:

Take Ohio Rt. 32/U.S. Rt. 50 west (southwest) to Albany.

Then take Ohio Rt. 681 east (southeast turn right after the exit) about five miles to Ohio Rt. 692 south, which is a continuation of Rt. 681. (Don't take 681 on to Darwin.) Take Rt. 692 about a mile to Ohio 684 south/New Lima Road, and drive about another 3 miles south to Harrisonville. When you get close to Harrisonville, start watching for signs to the festival.

If you're coming from U.S. Rt. 33 south of Athens, depending on how far south of town you live, another option is to take Rt. 681 west from Darwin to Rt. 692, etc.

Or just use Google Maps or Yahoo Directions, like we did before putting together these directions. A GPS will work, too.

The festival is about 20 miles from Athens.

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