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Festival road trip: The Blue Ribbon Blues Festival is August 2 in Fairfield

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If you are a blues fan, you might want to consider a road trip this weekend. The Southeast Iowa Blues Society will hold their first ever Blue Ribbon Blues Festival at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds (2606 West Burlington Avenue) in Fairfield on Saturday, August 2. The festival will feature performances by four blues band, including headliner the Ghost Town Blues Band. The gates will open at 4:30 p.m., and the music will kick off shortly thereafter and run until 11 p.m. Advanced tickets are $15, and that price will jump to $18 the day of the show. Tickets for the event are available at Classic 96 Studios and Josie Hannes Designs in Fairfield, The Guitar Farm in New London, and Morgan's Bar in Ottumwa, or by calling (641) 919-7477. Food and beverage will be available for purchase at the event, and the festival will be open to all ages. Here is a look at the four acts that will be performing at the Blue Ribbon Blues Festival.

Headlining act the Ghost Town Blues Band hails from Memphis, Tennessee. The band finished second in the 2014 International Blues Challenge, which was held in their hometown's Orpheum Theater back in January. [You can check out part of the GTBB's performance at the IBC in the nearby video.] It wasn't the first time that the Ghost Town Blues Band represented their home region in the IBC, and it probably won't be the last. The band released their most recent album, 2012's Dark Horse, at the 2012 IBC.

Blues rocker Quay Thomas returns to his native Iowa (from his new home in Boston) on Saturday with his band the Quay Thomas Trio. Thomas has shared the stage with award-winning national acts like Samantha Fish, Jake McVey, and Scott Holt, as well as Iowa legends Bob Pace and Bryce Janey. Thomas released two albums last year, Please Stay in January and The Highway in late October.

The Soul Searchers and Tony Blew round out the festival lineup. The Soul Searchers are a Des Moines favorite. The band blends blues, surf rock, and rockabilly into a dynamic stage show. The Soul Searchers released their self-titled debut album in 2007, and they are past winners of the Iowa Blues Challenge. Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Tony Blew has been a staple of the Ottumwa music scene for decades.

To find out more about the first Blue Ribbon Blues Festival, go to the Southeast Iowa Blues Society website.

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