2023 Blues, Brews & Barbecue

Saturday, June 24, 2023  |  12 Noon – 10 p.m.
600, 700, & 800 Blocks of Hamilton St.,7th Street North & South

The Downtown Allentown Business Alliance in partnership with the City of Allentown is proud to present the 15th Annual Blues, Brews & Barbecue Festival! Come out for amazing Blues music and great food and drink! This outdoor music festival draws BBQ and Blues music aficionados from all over the region and is FREE and open to the public!


2021 HEADLINERS (2023 TBD)


King Solomon Hicks

Downtown Allentown is proud to present the “Queen of the Blues”, Shemekia Copeland as the main headliner for Allentown’s Blues, Brews & Barbecue Festival!  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.

King Solomon Hicks, the 26-year-old guitar phenom from Harlem, New York is an American guitarist, songwriter, and composer, who is fast becoming a household name. Hicks won the 2021 Blues Music Awards for Best Emerging Artist for his latest CD release, Harlem on Provogue Records.

Hicks made his Allentown debut at the 2019 Blues Fest and returns this year as a headlining artist. He has been invested in music from a very young age and started playing guitar at just six years old. Growing up in Harlem he was constantly surrounded by music. On living in Harlem, Hicks says “is not like New Orleans, where music is 24 hours a day — but it’s close.” His father and mother always played music at home and would take him to local nightspots to hear music such as Lennox Lounge, Saint Nick’s, and the Cotton Club,. Hicks witnessed performances that made a significant impact on his ambitions as a musician and he says, “When you’re around good musicians, it gives you that spark — ‘I want to do what you do. I want to hold my own.” It also helped shape who he was as a player, stating “Being around those types of musicians also taught me to NOT be the fastest guitar player…I wanted to be the one who knew the most riffs and drew on a lot of knowledge so I could play anything, and with anyone.”


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