Cape Fear Blues Festival Exemplifies Dynamic Blues Scene in Wilmington, N.C. & Island Beaches

Wilmington NC Historic River District and Island BeachesWilmington, N.C.: Wilmington, North Carolina and its island beaches have become known for a dynamic blues scene that features weekly jams, live performances, an active blues society, and two signature blues festivals. On July 27-29, blues fans will satisfy their soulful music cravings during the Cape Fear Blues Society’s 17th Annual Cape Fear Blues Festival with an impressive lineup of touring blues artists, noted regional performers, and talented local blues musicians. Wilmington’s premier music venues, the Soapbox Laundro Lounge and the Rusty Nail Saloon, will host the 2012 Cape Fear Blues Festival with regional acts hailing from Richmond, Virginia and Columbia, South Carolina. Top local blues artists will also perform in a variety of blues genres. The three-day all-blues celebration features events with live concerts, a blues workshop, an all-day blues jam, and the ever-popular Blues Cruise aboard the Henrietta III riverboat.




FRIDAY, July 27The blues excitement begins at 5:30pm when Sweet Sue Savia entertains on the riverboat dock (Water Street at Dock Street) prior to boarding the Henrietta III for the ever-popular CAPE FEAR BLUES CRUISE (boards at 6:30pm; departs at 7:30pm). This bluesy cruise down the Cape Fear River features 3 bands, 3 decks and 3 cash bars with heavy appetizers and a blues-filled sunset. This year’s cruise features gritty, soulful blues by festival favorites Elliott & The Untouchables on the main deck. Above the main deck, Wilmington’s own Dynamic Therm-O-Tones will be belting out their danceable rhythm & blues. Guitarist/harpist/songwriter Randy McQuay II entertains on the atrium level. Advance tickets are $49 each and can be purchased online now at or call 910-350-8822 for more information. ¯The POST-CRUISE PARTY grooves on until the wee hours at The Rusty Nail Saloon (1310 South 5th Street, 910-251-1888) beginning at 9pm with Lawyers, Guns & Money, IBC semi-finalists and winners of the Cape Fear Blues Challenge, who will headline the ever-popular blues party.


SATURDAY, July 28: ¯A free BLUES WORKSHOP for all ages will take place at Finkelstein Music, Wilmington’s oldest music retailer (6 South Front Street) starting at 11:00am. This year’s featured artist is Elliott New, retro-blues guitarist and front man for The Untouchables. New will demonstrate his technique, talk about his influences and play some blues. Call 910-762-5662 for more info. ¯ At 1:00pm The Rusted Rails roar into town with a full head of steam and plenty of blues under the tent at The Rusty Nail Saloon. ¯Beginning at 8:00pm, The Soapbox Laundro Lounge (255 N. Front Street, Wilmington) plays host to the CAPE FEAR BLUES FESTIVAL CONCERT. This year’s headline act is EllerSoul recording artist Li’l Ronnie & The Grand Dukes, whose latest album “Gotta Strange Feeling” was released in early June. Ronnie and the band incorporate elements of 50’s R&B, soul, vintage rock & roll and jazz into their unique blend of American roots music. Tickets are $10 in advance (online at or at the door the night of the show ($12 each). Meanwhile at The Rusty Nail Saloon, local blues favorites The Chickenhead Blues Band will serve up some hot blues beginning at 9:00pm until 1:00am.


SUNDAY, July 29:¯The free ALL-DAY BLUES JAM begins at 12 noon under the tent at The Rusty Nail (1310 S. 5th Street) hosted by the Cape Fear Blues Society. Bring a lawn chair or blanket. No coolers; no pets allowed. Beverages and food will be available for sale all day. Musicians can reserve a performance slot by calling 910-383-1247. At 6:00pm, the Finkelstein Music Guitar Giveaway will feature a Gretsch guitar. Raffle tickets cost $1 each with proceeds supporting the projects and programs of the Cape Fear Blues Society. Raffle tickets available at Finkelstein Music and The Rusty Nail. The party continues at 7:00pm with an indoor Jazz & Blues Jam with Benny Hill at The Rusty Nail.


For more details about the Cape Fear Blues Festival, including tickets, times and locations, visit the festival website at or call 910-350-8822. For a free Official Visitors Guide for Wilmington, North Carolina’s historic river district and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Wrightsville Beach, please visit, email, or call 1-866-266-9690.