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BluesFest: A riverfront celebration of great music

WHEELING — Music fans from near and far will be making their way to Heritage Port in Wheeling this weekend for the 2022 Heritage Music BluesFest.

This year’s festival promises to be a return to form after the COVID-19 pandemic pulled the plug on public gatherings for live music in 2020. And what could be better than a three-day weekend celebration of award-winning blues overlooking the Ohio River? Perhaps the enticement of picture-perfect weather and blue skies could be the icing on the cake.

“The forecast for the weekend looks very promising,” said Bruce Wheeler, director of entertainment for Roxby Development, noting that the outlook for Friday, Saturday and Sunday — so far — appears to have a pleasantly warm, comfortable and dry weekend in store.

As founder and longtime executive director of the Heritage Music BluesFest, Wheeler has brought a variety of top-notch blues artists to the Heritage Port stage each year. Like in years past, the 21st installment of BluesFest this weekend offers a balanced mix of veteran artists and the best up-and-coming acts, as well as a variety of BluesFest returnees and newcomers to the festival.

“We’re excited to see — for the first time in Wheeling — Popa Chubby, King Solomon Hicks and the Katie Henry Band,” Wheeler said of this year’s Heritage Music BluesFest, presented by Roxby and Yuengling.

Fan favorites like Mike Zito, Brandon Santini, Albert Castiglia, Joe Louis Walker, JP Soars and the Red Hots will return to the stage, as well. Grammy-nominated band Victor Wainwright and the Train has been a BluesFest standout in the past.

“There’s hardly a more beautiful spot to have this big celebration, and the band and I are very excited to play in front of large crowds again supporting live music,” Wainwright said.

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