The Downtown Allentown Business Alliance is proud to partner with presenting sponsor, City Center Allentown and the City of Allentown to present the 13th Annual Blues, Brews & Barbecue Festival in downtown Allentown on Saturday, June 13th from 12 noon until 10 p.m. What’s new this year, you ask?  Plenty!

We’re extremely excited to present the “Queen of the Blues”, Shemekia Copeland as the main headliner for Allentown’s Blues, Brews & Barbecue #13!  The Harlem native, daughter of Texas blues guitarist Johnny Copeland, Shemekia began her career at an early age and gave her first public performance at the Cotton Club when she was about 10 years old. Shemekia started to establish her name on the blues circuit when she toured as his opening act for her father when she was around 18.  Shemekia is an Alligator Records recording artist since 1998 and has worked with Dr. John and Steve Cropper who each produced one of her albums.

Shemekia has sung with Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, Keith Richards, Carlos Santana, James Cotton and many others and she opened for The Rolling Stones and performed with B.B. King, Mick Jagger, Buddy Guy, Trombone Shorty, Gary Clark, Jr. and at the White House for President and First Lady Michelle Obama. She also has received many accolades, including the Blues Music Award for Contemporary Blues Female Artist in 2016, Billboard Top Blues Album in 2015. Her latest album, America’s Child, won both the ‘Album of the Year’ and ‘Contemporary Album of the Year’ titles at the 40th Blues Music Awards in 2019.

Along with Shemekia, we are equally proud to announce that Toronzo Cannon will join our festival this year!  Toronzo hails from the Windy City and plays Chicago-style blues. He started as a sideman and worked his way to become a main stage headliner. By day, Toronzo drives a Chicago Transit Authority bus and arranges his schedule to be able to tour all around the US and the world. Like many who have come before him, blues is his calling. Blues Music Magazine describes like this: “His guitar playing has all the fire and spontaneity of the Chicago legends he carries; his songwriting is a timely and original look at the world he sees by day on a bus and in blues clubs by night, and his assertive voice is the perfect vehicle to deliver the message.”

“It’s not about the solos,” Cannon says, “It’s about the songs. People get used to everyday life, so it’s easy to miss the things around them. I write about those things. I know the problems of Chicago, the hardship, ’cause we’re always a scapegoat. But I choose to love and respect the city because of the Chicago blues giants that came here from down south. I’m proud to be standing on the shoulders of every great Chicago blues musician who came before me.”

Shemekia Copeland and Toronzo Cannon are a sampling of what you’ll experience at this year’s 13th annual Blues, Brews & Barbecue festival!  The line-up is not complete; not by a longshot!  Stayed tuned for more announcements of what promises to be the very best, Blues festival Allentown has hosted to date.

We have 100 days until our Blues fest is here….complete with amazing blues artists, incredible barbecue with all types of sides, plus crafts and a kid’s area for art and other activities. This event is open to the public and free of charge.

For more information on what to expect, contact Miriam Huertas at (610) 751-4929.

When: Saturday, June 13, 2020

Time: 12 Noon – 10 p.m.

Where: 500, 600, 700 & 800 Blocks of Hamilton Street

What:  Music and food festival, featuring Blues music and all styles of barbecue, plus great crafters and non-food vendors.

Presenting Sponsor: City Center Allentown

Other sponsors include Action Party Rental, Adams Outdoor Advertising, Allentown BrewWorks, Bennett Automotive, Alvin H. Butz, Inc., The Hamilton Kitchen, Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation, Lehigh Valley Style, Lehigh Valley Phantoms/PPL Center, PPL, Queen City BBQ, RCN, and Upside Allentown.