Jack Semple, Big Bill Morganfield among headliners announced for Calgary blues fest

The onset of spring is hardly the cause for the blues.

The middle of summer? That’s more like it.

And the Calgary Blues Music Association are more than happy to oblige, having just announced the lineup for the 2017 Calgary International Blues Festival.

This year’s event will take place July 31 to Aug. 6 and feature workshops and parties at various locations around the city, culminating in the Mainstage event Aug. 3-6 at Shaw Millennium Park.

Headliners for the outdoor part of the fest include: Canadian mainstay Jack Semple with his tribute to BB King; blues legend Muddy Waters’ son and star in his own right Big Bill Morganfield; British blues and boogie pianist Bob Hall with southern legend Leon Atkin, a.k.a. Lil’ Jimmy Reed; Memphis act the Ghost Town Blues Band; award-winning Quebec crew the Paul DeLauriers Band; multiple Maple Blues winner Angel Forrest; local giant Amos Garrett and his backing band the Eh! Team with special guest, Canned Heat frontman Dale Spalding; fellow Calgary luminary Tim Williams, with his trio Williams, Wayne & Isaak, featuring pianist Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne and and fellow axeman Brandon Isaak; and a Sunday Morning Gospel Show with the Soul Sisters.

Four-day early bird passes for the festival are already on sale for $119 (plus GST), with the price rising to $129 beginning Saturday. There are also single-day tickets for Friday through Sunday of the Mainstage, which are $50 (plus GST), with Thursday tickets a bargain at the same price, but two for the price of one. To make things all the easier, all passes are transferrable and kids 12 and under get in for free.

The Calgary International Blues Festival runs July 31 to Aug. 6. For tickets and more information including the complete schedule for the week, please go to

Mike Bell has been covering the Calgary music scene for the past 25 years with publications such as VOX, Fast Forward, the Calgary Sun and, most recently, the Calgary Herald. He is currently the music writer and content editor for, and the co-host of the show Saved By the Bell, which airs Wednesdays from 4-6 p.m. on CJSW 90.9 FM. Follow him on Twitter/@mrbell_23 or email him at He likes beer. Buy him one.