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Natchel Blues Network

The Natchel' Blues Network (NBN) Blues Society is dedicated to promoting the Blues as a true American art form.
Keeping The Blues Alive in Hampton Roads.

Recipient of The Blues Foundation's Keeping The Blues Alive (KBA) award for Blues Organization of the Year in 1998.

• Promote, perpetuate, and preserve blues music as a true American art form.
• Develop and provide an educational resource for the community (schools, churches, civic organizations, etc.) as to the history & evolution of the blues.
• Disseminate information to and act as a network for blues musicians and others interested in the blues, both locally and nationally.
• Advocate and work toward an increase in contributed support for the blues in the greater Hampton Roads area.

The NBN helps produces the following annual events with the help of our sponsors & supporters.

Hampton Acoustic Blues Revival
Spotlighting local, regional and natioinal acts and workshops at the Thomas Nelson Community College, Hampton, VA.

Blues at the Beach Festival - Sept
Free Blues Concerts! This festival features local, national acts and workshops held outdoors at the oceanfront in Virginia Beach at the 17th Street Stage.

International Blues Challenge - Local Competition
Our local cometitiion to represent the NBN at the Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN.


Blues On The Boardwalk - July & August - on hold
Featuring local blues bands weeknights. FREE Blues Concerts on the boardwalk in Virginia Beach stages.

 

History of Natchel' Blues Network

The Natchel' Blues Network (NBN) has been promoting the blues in southeastern Virginia as a 501c3 non-profit organization since 1984. Chase Jackson, Ernie Williams, and other musicians wanted to increase the awareness of the blues in Hampton Roads, so they formed the NBN. Our first "Elizabeth River Blues Festival" was presented in Norfolk, VA in 1985 with headliner John Lee Hooker. Over the years, the headliners included Albert King, Bernard Allison, Ann Rabson, Katie Webster, Big Twist, Lonnie Brooks, Gatemouth Brown, The Holmes Brothers, Marcia Ball, Denise LaSalle, and Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials.

Due to cuts in grants, this festival has not been presented since 1994. In 1996, Festevents (promoters of the Town Point Jazz Festival for 13 years) and the Natchel' Blues Network joined together to present the Town Point Jazz & Blues Festival. This festival has been very successful. In 1994, we had an opportunity to try a new venue - the oceanfront in Virginia Beach, for Blues At The Beach. The first festival was a low-budget, one-day affair, that presented some of the best of the local blues scene. Since then, Blues At The Beach has included Roomful of Blues, Robert Lockwood, Jr., Bob Margolin with Pinetop Perkins, Lucky Peterson, Smokin' Joe Kubek, Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers, Long John Hunter, R.L. Burnside, Shemekia Copeland, the Nighthawks, and a host of talented local bands. Our organization has always stressed having local bands participate in our festivals.

The NBN has presented workshops by Koko Taylor, Saffire -The Uppity Blues Women, Cephas & Wiggins, John Jackson, and Taj Mahal. These presentations were in conjunction with Norfolk State University and Old Dominion University. In October, 1997, Tim Morgan (one of our directors) started presenting a Blues In The School program and has done several more since that time. We also run Blues Jams throughout the year, present local workshops, publish a monthly calendar, and publish the bi-monthly Blues News newspaper. Our members also presented three benefits for the Johnny Copeland Heart Fund. In 1998, the NBN won the Blues Foundation's Keeping The Blues Alive (KBA) Award for Blues Organization of the Year.

 

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