Blues Festival announces artists for one-day event

Jul. 23, 2013 @ 06:07 PM

Big Daddy Wilson will be the headliner for this year’s one-night Bull Durham Blues Festival, to be held Sept. 7 at Hayti Heritage Center’s St. Joseph’s Performance Hall.

Born in Edenton, N.C., Wilson discovered the blues while stationed in the Army in Germany, where he married a woman from Germany, according to his website biography. His recordings include “Thumb a Ride,” I’m Your Man” and “Love Is the Key.”
Wilson works with an acoustic ensemble, and has also recorded projects with Doc Fozz, and with The Mississippi Grave Diggers.
Other festival performers will be The Rhonda Robichaux Band, Claudette King, The Jimmy Haggard Band, and Jason Damico and the New Blue, a rising star on the local blues scene.
This year’s 26th festival will begin at 6 p.m. Sept. 7 and continue until midnight. Doors to the festival will open at 5 p.m.
Traditionally, the Bull Durham Blues Festival has been a two-night event, held most years at the Durham Athletic Park. In June, Hayti Heritage Center, which puts on the festival, announced that this year’s festival would be a smaller, indoor event to give the Hayti board time to regroup for the 2014 festival.
St. Joseph’s Performance Hall seats about 450 (balcony included), according to Hayti’s website.
The festival will still have food and craft vendors, and, yes, beer, Angela Lee, executive director of St. Joseph’s Historic Foundation, said in a phone interview.
She is continuing to have discussions with the American Tobacco Campus and representatives of other venues to find a suitable outdoor site for 2014, she said. “The goal is to return it to a larger venue so more people can enjoy it,” she said. Returning to Durham Athletic Park remains a possibility, she said.
“We’re going to have a wonderful atmosphere here,” at the 2013 festival, Lee said. “We’re going to make every effort to sell it out,” she said. 
Since the 20th anniversary festival was held in 2007, the festival has faced venue changes and economic challenges. In 2008, the festival moved from Durham Athletic Park to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park to make way for renovations at the historic DAP. In 2009, the festival returned to the DAP. In 2010, the festival was held at the Durham Performing Arts Center, in part out of concerns for the expenses related to wear and tear on the DAP field.
In a break with tradition, the 2011 festival was held in Durham Central Park with free admission. In 2012, the festival returned to the DAP, its traditional home, but attendance was down, in part because of rain and lightning that delayed the start of the second night of performances. 
Tickets to the festival go on sale beginning Monday and are $25 in advance, $35 at the door. They may be purchased at, at the Hayti Heritage Center box office (804 Old Fayetteville St.) or by calling 919-683-1709.
For vending, volunteer information and directions, call 919-683-1709, or contact