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Billtown Blues Festival back after pandemic cancellation

HUGHESVILLE — After last year’s cancellation due to the pandemic, the 31st annual Billtown Blues Festival will be coming next week with “world-class” blues music, musicians, food and all-around experience according to Bonnie Tallman, event producer.

“It feels really, really good to be back in the planning stage of the festival,” Tallman said. “We are excited, the musicians are thrilled to have a chance to get back out on the road and play; we are thrilled to give them a great performance experience on our stage.”

The stage will be set and ready for performers to play their music from Friday, June 11 through Sunday June 13 at the Lycoming County Fairgrounds. Though the music won’t begin until Friday at 3 p.m. Those who come with campers and RVs can come and set up starting Thursday, June 10 at 3 p.m. on the Fairgrounds.

The last Festival, that occurred in 2019, had many changes to it including moving from a one-day event to a three-day event that allowed festival-goers to stay overnight in campers, tents, RVs and other camping equipment.

After that Festival’s success, the Billtown Blues Association decided to keep the Festival at three days and the inclusion of campers.

This Festival however, there are some more changes including: having Thursday available for campers to set up a day early but also allowing them to stay over Sunday night and leave Monday morning rather than leaving Sunday night.

In addition to that, tickets are only available for purchase through the Billtown Blues Association website. There are options for one day tickets as well as a

bundle that allows you to get tickets for all three days of the Festival in one purchase.

Though masking is not mandatory, Tallman also said that they are encouraging social distancing, masking and hand hygiene as well as suggesting groups to set up canopies on the Fairgrounds.

“We really wanted to keep our focus on the music and doing that the best we can, the camping and the safety,” Tallman said.

Tallman said that many of the acts, which are coming from Pennsylvania, Texas, San Francisco, Florida, Indiana and more, haven’t been able to perform live for many months up to a year due to nationwide shut downs.

Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, will be playing during Saturday nights performance bracket, a first performance for them in over 14 months and a first performance at the Festival for them.

The band, made up of Reverend Peyton, lead singer and guitarist, Breezy, Peyton’s wife and washboard player, and Max Senteney, drummer, have played their country blues music in 48 of the 50 states, in four continents and in 38 countries.

“(Music) is best enjoyed live and we are really excited to get out and play live again.,” Peyton said. “I feel like a dog on a leash getting ready to be let off.”

He added that the band will be playing their blues originals off of their new album, “Dance Songs For Hard Times”.

“We want you to come enjoy the music, enjoy yourself and just have a wonderful time,” Tallman said

For more information, a map of parking and tickets, please visit https://www.billtownblues.org/billtown-blues-festival.

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