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Art & Soul: The Visual Arts - A Look Back At The Blues Festival In Ann Arbor In Pictures

Jul 12, 2018

Vintage picture from Ann Arbor Blues Festival
Credit Tom Copi

This week, Art and Soul is about the visual arts in our community.  89.1 WEMU's Lisa Barry is joined by the executive director of CultureSource and chair of the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affiars Omari Rush, and another guest, the executive producer of the Ann Arbor Blues Festival James Partridge.

The three talk about a special photo exhibit of past festivals which will be on display at the Ann Arbor Art Fair later this month.

Credit Tom Copi

Partridge said the Ann Arbor Blues Festival will be unveiling a portion of its collection of original historical photographs taken at the 1969-1970 Ann Arbor Blues Festivals.  Over two dozen museum-quality prints will be on display at the Blues Festival’s booth at the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair from July 19-22.

Credit Tom Copi

Kicking off a year-long celebration to mark the 50th anniversary of the world’s first electric blues festival, which was held on a small field next to Ann Arbor’s Huron High School, this exhibit provides a journey back in time to the ground-breaking event.  Dramatic images of live performances from BB King, Howlin’ Wolf, Luther Allison, T-Bone Walker, and more will be on display, each portrayed in a way that can be revealed only by authentic black-and-white film.  This exhibit also includes never-before-seen backstage and behind-the-scenes images.  Many of the images captured at the festival in 1969-1970 have become cultural icons – a testament not only to the talent of the photographers, but to the historical nature of the festival itself.

Organizers of the Ann Arbor Blues Festival selected the photos for this exhibit from thousands of original negatives provided by some of the era’s most revered names in music photography, including Rolling Stone Magazine and Getty Images photographers Baron Wolman, Tom Copi, and Dick Waterman

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu