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BBQ & Blues sports wide variety of music

BBQ & Blues 2011 will offer up a wide variety of music and offer up the best menu of free music in its seven-year history. ’We have seven different bands performing free of charge. Not many festivals can make that claim,’ noted T.J. Imberger who chairs the event for the Chamber of Commerce. In addition to the bands, local musicians will perform what Imberger termed ‘˜impromptu blues’ on Saturday. Local investment advisor Vaughn Childre and Lexi Sutherland will play at 11 a.m. Saturday. Local guitarist Josh (Biscuit) Humphrey will perform during the People’s Choice barbecue tasting Saturday. The music begins Friday night with a free show at the barbecue stage in the area between the old First National Bank and the tax commissioner’s office. First up is 4U2C, the band of late Barnesville mayor and BBQ & Blues cofounder Dewaine Bell. 4U2C will take the stage at 5 p.m. The Melflames, led by local artist and raconteur Roger McLeod, will perform at 7 p.m. The Buckeye Band, a Blues Fest favorite, will take the stage with special guests Atlanta singer Sherry Paul and session guitarist Danny Smith of Lamar County at 8:30 p.m. On Saturday, music returns to the barbecue stage at 11:30 a.m with a show by Atlanta blues artist Veronika Jackson. Another Atlanta act, Frankie’s Blues Mission, will take the stage at 1 p.m. The widely acclaimed Ben Ratliff Band will close out the afternoon show, performing from 3-5 p.m. Saturday night, the action shifts to Ritz Park where gates open at 5:30 p.m. Admission is $10. Local guitar god Mark Henson and his band open the show at 5:30 p.m. Blues masters Mystery Road take the stage at 6:30 p.m. followed by headliner E.G. Kight at 7:30 p.m. At 9 p.m., the Bell scholarship will be awarded and Beverly (Guitar) Watkins will be presented with the annual Georgia Music Legend Award. Watkins still tours the world, performing at age 70. She is expected to do a short set along with any number of blues artists who happen to show up for the party. The late night funk jam will be led by Atlanta party band Contagious. ‘This is a high energy dance band that is big on audience participation. They are going to turn up the heat,’ Imberger said of the band he compares to Mother’s Finest.

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