John Gemmill, the president of the Memphis Blues Society, says there is a standard look to blues festivals – a poster with a guitar player and “fill-in-the-name-of-the-city blues festival,” and a lineup that includes performers from all over the place.
The society’s Bona Fide Blues Festival is a challenge to that.
“We are surrounded by the countryside that created the blues, and for decades people have been coming here and people have been coming from all around to soak in the atmosphere,” Gemmill said. “There’s a huge blues scenes. We’ve got Delta blues. We’ve got kind of the second generation of hill country. We’ve got some of the best of Southern soul. We’ve got people who played at Sid Selvidge’s festival in 1969 playing at our festival.”