Celebrating its 20th year, the Lowcountry Blues Bash brings a ton of soul, blues, boogie, and jams to town next month. Organized by musician Gary Erwin (a.k.a. Shrimp City Slim), and presented by Erwin Music and the Lowcountry Blues Society, the festival runs from Feb. 5-16. This year’s Blues Bash lineup features over 50 talented acts playing in 24 clubs and restaurants across the Charleston area. Showcasing the diversity within the blues is the heart of the festival.

Erwin is a longtime blues enthusiast and festival organizer. “The first mission of the Blues Bash included giving the artists a high-profile podium to perform and creating an event that would stimulate more public interest in the blues,” he says. “The Blues Bash is a venue crawl which sprawls over metro Charleston — not just clubs and bars, but also restaurants and all-ages venues. They’re all intimate venues, where the blues was meant to be experienced.”

Many of the artists are scheduled to perform multiple shows at different venues. Some of the featured blues cats include Bryan Lee and The Blues Power Band, Charlie Sayles & The Blues Disciples, Harper, Eddie Kirkland & the Energy Band, Big Bill Morganfield, The Christopher Dean Band, Paul Geremia, Wanda Johnson, Lil Dave Thompson, Daddy Mack Blues Band, the Col. Bruce Hampton Blues Trio, Drink Small, and Beverly Guitar Watkins (and those are just a few).

One of the stand-out events within the Bash is a concert at the Charleston Music Hall on Sat. Feb. 13, billed as The Charleston Blues Festival. Organized by international concert promoter Steve Simon, the CEO of Steve Simon Presents (stevesimonpresents.com), the concert features New York-based vocalist Shemekia Copeland, Miss.-based singer/guitarist Zac Harmon, the “Prince of Beale Street” Billy Gibson, and local band Dan Wright & The New Beat (recent winners of the “Lowcountry Blues Challenge”). Simon recently relocated his businesses to downtown Charleston after spending many months looking at cities all across the country. “Charleston has the magic, the passion, and the smiles,” he says.

Check out bluesbash.com for more details and ticket information, and see City Paper‘s Music Board.

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