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Louie Bluie Music & Arts Festival returns to Caryville on Sept. 29

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The 12th annual Louie Bluie Music & Arts Festival returns to scenic Cove Lake State Park on Saturday, Sept. 29.

The Armstrong Legacy Trio, Sparky and Rhonda Rucker, and Robinella will headline the event. Admission is free. However, donations will be accepted to help support the festival.

Founded in honor of Campbell County’s musical heritage and Tennessee native Howard “Louie Bluie” Armstrong, who spent his childhood years in LaFollette, the festival is a showcase for a wide range of international musical styles.

“I think that’s how Howard would want it,” says Manuel Mesa, president of the Campbell Culture Coalition, the arts organization that plans and produces the annual festival. “I wasn’t lucky enough to meet Howard in person, but his diverse talents and interests have inspired this festival’s personality since the beginning.”

The 2018 line-up features individual sets from Armstrong Legacy Trio — a triumvirate of Howard’s son, bassist Ralphe, plus guitarist Ray Kamalay and fiddler John Reynolds — and festival stalwarts Sparky and Rhonda Rucker. New this year is the inaugural collaboration between the trio and duo.

“It’s been a dream of mine to see these festival favorites team up for their own set,” says festival programming chairperson Chris Durman. “Considering their shared love of folk standards and the blues, I know their collaboration is going to be unforgettable.”

In addition, the performance line-up includes LaFollette native Maggie Longmire, jazz and country vocalist Robinella, bluegrass champions Circus No. 9, Old City Buskers, traditional Irish band Sigean, salsa band Candela, acoustic band Smiley and the Lovedawg, singer-songwriter Daje Morris, old-time duo Boogertown Gap and raucous acoustic band Outlaw Ritual.

Acts performing at the indoor Rickard Ridge stage, one of the festival’s most popular additions in recent years, will be announced in the coming weeks.

The festival also includes the Artisans Village featuring a juried selection of high-quality, handcrafted items; a kids’ Fun Zone with physical and artistic activities for young people; a judged art and quilt show; and a food court.

The 2018 Louie Bluie Music & Arts Festival is funded, in part, by the Tennessee Arts Commission through the General Assembly, Powell-Clinch Utility District, Campbell County Chamber of Commerce, LaFollette Eye Clinic, Gray Insurance Agency, LaFollette Utilities, Campbell County Commission, Town of Caryville, Town of Jacksboro, and the City of LaFollette.

Festival information, including application forms for craft and food vendors, is available at LouieBluie.org. For information about the Campbell Culture Coalition, visit www.campbellculturecoalition.org.