The Carolina Blues Festival reveals plans for 2020 festival

Vanessa Ferguson

The Carolina Blues Festival reveals plans for 2020 festival
September 12
15:00 2020

Festival remains the longest continuous running Blues Festival in the Southeast

The Carolina Blues Festival (CBF), organized by the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society (CBPS), has adapted their traditional on-site festival to an online event that will include a series of events to please fans who are used to their traditional concert weekend. CBF is reminiscent of a family reunion that invites diverse communities to gather in the spirit of Black arts culture. 

PBPS has organized a headline concert featuring stage veteran Vanessa Ferguson. The concert will air Sept.12 at 8 p.m. EST, directly following the show of their collaborator, the North Carolina Folk Festival. 

Headline performers are: 

Vanessa Ferguson (Rhythm & Blues + Jazz). Vanessa Ferguson has performed from Beijing, China and around the world with B.B. King’s Blues Club All- Star Band. She came into America pop-culture as a contestant on NBC’s “The Voice” where she competed as a member of Alicia Keys’ team. A graduate of NC A&T University, Vanessa stands on the shoulders of artists before her, including a special relationship she has developed with the works of Nina Simone. She will perform two 45-minute sets spanning a wide range of styles. 

Veronika Jackson (Blues) – Presented by the 34th annual Carolina Blues Festival: Women of the Blues, Veronika will perform a tribute to N.C. blues legend, Elizabeth “Libba” Cotton, during the N.C. Folk Festival. Live links will be available on and  

Awards to be presented are:

Mike Carr Junior Bluesman Award: Brendan Hinch. Brendan Hinch, a freshman at Grimsley High School, is a 14-year-old native of Greensboro and the winner of the 2019 PBPS: Road to Memphis Blues Challenge, where he qualified to perform in the 2020 International Blues Challenge. This award is presented each year to one regional up and coming youth blues artist. The award recognizes emerging young artists for keeping the blues alive through their music and public displays of talent. Brendan will also showcase his talent live. 

Keeping the Blues Alive (KBA) Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr. Irish Spencer (aka Wild Irish Rose). Dr. Irish Spencer is an award-winning and highly skilled communications and management specialist with 30-plus years of experience in the field of broadcast and management. Based in Greensboro,  she started her radio career at Murryhill broadcasting (Power 97 and WEAL Gospel). Throughout her career, she has worked, consulted, and managed several radio stations. This award is presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the blues culture through their work, volunteerism, or investment. 

Learn more about the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society ( and the Carolina Blues Festival ( The Piedmont Blues Preservation Society will continue to post updates on its Facebook page ( PBPS85/), and on Instagram ( 

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