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Flood City lineup doesn't disappoint
May 2, 2011 - Ray Eckenrode
During its 15-year run in historic Cambria City, Johnstown’s Folkfest was a unique and beloved blend of offbeat music and yinzer traditions. So the effort over the past three years to finally allow Folkfest to rest in peace and replace it with a higher-profile music event featuring national-level acts -- the Flood City Music Festival -- has been a high-risk proposition. But with the announcement Monday of another killer lineup for the Flood City fest, it’s becoming clear that Folkfest’s successor can be every bit as a special in a whole different way.
A year after a Los Lobos/Robert Cray/Galactic lineup got everyone’s attention, festival organizers turned up the hip in announcing this year’s event (August 5-7) will be headlined by JJ Grey and Mofro, Gregg Allman and Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears.
Allman is obviously the most intriguing name, bringing with him a classic rock pedigree (one of Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Singers of All Time) and some amount of pop culture cache as the former Mr. Cher, as well as the buzz of a new solo album of classic blues covers (“Low Country Blues”) that almost certainly will wind up on many 2011 “best of” lists. Allman kicked off his latest round of touring in March with a 10-night stand in New York City, an indication of just how much buzz his late-career rebirth is generating. Allman will perform on Saturday, August 6, in Johnstown.
And speaking of buzz, Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears were one of this year’s big buzz bands at the ultra-hip SXSW Music Festival in the band’s hometown of Austin, Texas. This was the band’s second SXSW showcase as well an appearance at Lollapalooza in 2009. Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears will close out the festival on Sunday, August 7.
JJ Grey and Mofro are another alt funk/soul/blues band on the verge of next big thing-dom fronted by the multi-instrumental Grey and known as road warriors who put on a great live show. Grey headlines the festival’s opening night on Friday, August 5, and will also play a set on Saturday, August 6.
Beside the trio of headliners, there are a slew of other intriguing acts lined up, including Cajun legend Tab Benoit, soul singer Bettye LaVette and Commander Cody guitar legend Bill Kirchen.
You can click on the links at right to see the entire festival lineup, learn about the bands and buy tickets.
Reborn as a bluesman, Allman is red hot.