Musical acts for this year’s Forward Fest Blues, Batter and Brew are heavy on the blues. Additionally, this year’s festival, to be held Saturday, June 22, will move from downtown Pine Bluff to Regional Park’s amphitheater.
It’s being presented as a joint effort by the Pine Bluff Convention Center and Go Forward Pine Bluff, which sponsored last year’s inaugural event.
Festival Chairman Tavontae Calhoun said of Forward Fest: “We want to see you there and be a part of this event. We are super excited. We are going to have the greatest time, you do not want to miss it.”
Joseph McCorvy, executive director of the Pine Bluff Convention Center, said he is glad to be hosting this year’s event.
“We are happy to have all of this great talent, we are sure you are going to enjoy all of them,” McCorvy said.
Acts include Justin Morgan, Kingfish, Mr. Sipp and headliner Anthony Hamilton. Unlike last year’s festival, which was free, this year’s event will cost $10 for entry. Those who attend are asked to bring lawn chairs. No coolers or backpacks will be allowed. Gates open at 12 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at www.Forwardfestpinebluff.com.
Last year’s festival was the first major event sponsored by Go Forward. Go Forward’s Steering Committee anticipated 10,000 attendees but were pleasantly surprised to see that they had surpassed that number with attendance reaching 9,230 visitors alone during the headline performers, according to Ryan Watley, CEO of Go Forward Pine Bluff.
Onlookers traveled from central and south Arkansas, as well as neighboring states, to partake in the new celebration hitting the city’s downtown area behind the Jefferson County Courthouse.
ABOUT THE MAIN ARTISTS
Anthony Hamilton rose to fame with his platinum-selling second studio album “Comin' from Where I'm From” (2003), which featured the title track single "Comin' from Where I'm From" and the follow-up "Charlene."
Nominated for 17 Grammy Awards, he is also known for the song "Freedom" from the soundtrack album of Django Unchained co-written and sung as a duo with indie soul singer Elayna Boynton.
Castro Coleman, also known as Mr. Sipp, was born in the small town of McComb, Mississippi, to Jonell and the late Vera Coleman. He is a husband and father of four daughters. He has been around music all of his life. His parents and aunt had a quartet group. He was influenced by B. B. King at the age of six which is when he started playing the guitar.
Coleman is known all around the world for his talent as a Blues guitarist and singer but many don’t know that he has over 20 years under his belt in Gospel music. Castro and his group, The True Believers are back with their all-new album and DVD “Back To The Roots.”
Christone "Kingfish" Ingram is a blues guitarist and singer from Clarksdale, Mississippi, who has been playing music from a young age. The musicians he has recorded with include Eric Gales. He has shared the stage with well-known blues artists and younger blues musicians such as Samantha Fish.
Justin Morgan is a singer-songwriter from the Eastern Arkansas Delta. He was raised on a farm, only an hour west of Memphis. Born into a musical family, Justin explored and absorbed many different kinds of music from a very young age. After years of searching and experimentation, he developed a voice and sound true to his heart. Justin’s sound is acoustic based and firmly rooted in the Blues, blending in rock, soul, and folk, among other influences.
SCHEDULE1:30 p.m. Justin Morgan 2:30 p.m. Highway 49 Blues Band 3:30 p.m. SynRG Band 4:30 p.m. Mr. Sipp 5:30 p.m. The On Call Band 6:30 p.m. Southern Avenue 7:30 p.m. Kingfish 10 p.m. Anthony Hamilton