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Founded in 2002, the Baton Rouge Blues Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization striving to promote, preserve and celebrate the Baton Rouge blues culture and bring the best of Louisiana swamp blues music to the world. With ample historic preservation of blues music out of other Louisiana cities, the Baton Rouge Blues Foundation fills the specific need for such preservation of Baton Rouge's indigenous variety of "Swamp Blues." To that end, the Foundation sponsors a Blues Education program, the Blues Music History Project, the annual Blue Carpet Blues Gala, and of course, the annual Baton Rouge Blues Festival, which is free and open to the public.
Originating in 1981, the Baton Rouge Blues Festival is one of the oldest blues festival in America, first held on the campus of Soutehrn University. The annual Baton Rouge Blues Festival has been a staple in the Baton Rouge music community for the past 20 years, and today, it stands as an homage to the rich "swamp blues" heritage of Louisiana's capitol city. The festival honors the legend of home-grown blues artists like Slim Harpo, Rudy Richard, Silas Hogan, Whisperin' Smith, Guitar Kelly, Schoolboy Cleve, Chewin' Gum Johnson and Raful Neal. Expanding outside our backyard, the festival has brought in nationally and internationally recognized names like Bobby Blue Bland, Marcia Ball, Phil Guy, Larry Garner and Charlie Musselwhite--including recent Grammy-nominee Ruthie Foster, who won the hearts of festival goers in 2009.
In 2013, the Baton Rouge Blues Festival saw over 10,000 guests ranging from 18 to 65 years old. Of those attendees, the largest percentage (31%) was between the ages of 18 and 34, and over 80% were from the city of Baton Rouge.
- Slater McKay
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