Garth Newel Music Center in Hot Springs Announces Line Up 2012 Virginia Blues And Jazz Festival

Warm Springs, VA – The 2012 Virginia Blues and Jazz Festival at Garth Newel Music Center in Hot Springs is scheduled for June 15, 16 and 17. Garth Newel Music Center’s Executive Director, Chris Williams, is excited about this year’s lineup.

“Our headliner this year, it’s a big name, is Robert Cray,” says Williams. “A guitarist and vocalist, he’s been around for about forty years. He’s one of the most recognized names in blues right now and I think he also fits really well with what we are trying to do with the Virginia Blues and Jazz Festival, because he’s blues but he’s also very well respected in the soul market, the R & B, the almost pop. He covers a lot of territory and so he’s a popular blues figure in that sense.”

The Festival gets underway with a performance on Friday night, June 15.

“Catherine Russell, a wonderful jazz singer, from New York will be our artist in Herter Hall, in the concert hall,” says Williams. “A very intimate setting for jazz and she has actually been here before and was one of the favorites a few years ago. And we thought it would be the right time to bring Catherine back.”

The music on Saturday June 16 is outside on the lawn at Garth Newel. Robert Cray will wrap up the day and it will start out with a popular local favorite Bert Carlson. And there’s a lot of music in between.

“There’s a group out of Austin Texas called Grupo Fantasma,” says Williams. “Well, they’re a blast. It’s hard to describe in words. You really just have to listen. It’s kind of Latin, meets funk, meets just kind of Texas Austin bar music vibe. They cover and mash up all of these different sounds together.”

Saturday will also feature The Honey Island Swamp Band. They will also provide the music for the New Orleans Jazz Brunch on Sunday.

“We have a group called the Honey Island Swamp Band out of New Orleans,” says Williams. “You know what New Orleans is like. There’s no chance that they’re not going to be influenced by a hundred different artists and a hundred different styles. So this is one of those quartets that brings in New Orleans’ street tradition. They bring in a little bit of a pop kind of aesthetic, mixing it together with their own bluesy jazzy kinds of voices.”

This will be Williams’ first Virginia Blues and Jazz Festival. He started his job in January.

“The planning cycle has been interesting this year, because I am brand new,” says Williams. “The planning started before I got here. We asked Jacob Yarrow, who had my job previously. And we asked Jacob to kind of bridge the gap, to do the programming to lead the programming effort and the booking. And I think he’s done a fantastic job. People are excited that Jacob is still involved.”

Tickets for the Virginia Blues and Jazz Festival are available now. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Garth Newel Music Center online at or call 540-839-5018.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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