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30th Annual Billtown Blues Festival extends to 3 days

By Staff | Jun 13, 2019

HUGHESVILLE – “It was not easy,” said co-founder Bonnie Tallman of Hughesville and the Billtown Blues. “We’ve been around a long time, and we are proud of what we’ve accomplished.”

The annual Billtown Blues Festival is celebrating 30 years with three days lined up with sensational music at the Lycoming County Fairgrounds in Hughesville.

Festivities will begin 6 p.m. Friday, June 14 and conclude at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 16. Camping is available, 200 hookup sites with electricity and water for RVs, tents and vans according to Tallman.

Ticket level packages are available now for purchase, and can be bought for any of the three days or all three. Rhone’s RV is the sponsor for the designated “Blues Campsite” which is located at the back of the infield.

The demographics for the Blues Festival are primarily Baby Boomers but the ten dedicated volunteers for the festival are hoping the three day event will attract younger audiences.

So far it seems to be working, according to Tallman who said ticket sales for the campsites are doing well.

Last year it rained hard all day during the festival, and unfortunately, they lost money because of it. So this year, despite more work and lots of meetings, the organization said they are filling the gap with younger demographics by having a three day event. “Younger people like to have a festival,” said Tallman who strongly felt a change was needed “to attract new ears.” Starting last August the group would meet for many weekly meetings before they decided on the change.

“It took a lot of time and meetings we never had to do before, but our group is loyal to the commitment,” she added.

Last year 11 states and 41 counties were represented at the Blues Festival in Hughesville. “The people at the fairgrounds have always been part of our family,” Tallman said as they have helped them continually with tools, maintenance, golf carts and any overnight problems with electricity.

This year the talent presented on the Williamsport Sun Gazette Main Stage will range from a tribute to the late Tom Petty by the Uptown Music Collective to a Gospel Showcase scheduled for Sunday morning starting at 11 a.m. Nine local musicians will unite on some Southern Gospel weaving two genres of American roots music.

Closing the event on Sunday is a special set by The Craig Thatcher Band with special guest G.E. Smith of SNL, Bob Dylan, and Hall and Oates fame.

All camping and ticketing information along with the complete lineup is available at www.billtownblues.org or call 570-584-4480. Gates open at 5 p.m. on Friday.

“It’s all about celebrating the music!”