Preserving The Heritage.
Founded in 2002, the Baton Rouge Blues Foundation is a non-profit organization striving to promote, preserve and celebrate the Baton Rouge blues culture and bring the best of Louisiana swamp blues music to the world. Today the Foundation presents the annual Baton Rouge Blues Festival. Past outreach initiatives include our Blues Education program which promotes the history of Louisiana swamp blues and teaches local youth how swamp blues is shaped by and contributes to Louisiana culture. The Blues Music History Project documents local performances, interviews with local blues musicians and narratives about the roots of swamp blues and its impact on other musical forms. Each year, the Baton Rouge Blues Foundation hosts a star-studded gala evening, celebrating the blues and honoring local blues artists. The Blue Carpet Blues Gala is the Foundation’s major fundraising event featuring a Blues Awards ceremony honoring music greats and live blues performances. Funds raised allow the Foundation to continue in its mission to promote, preserve and celebrate Baton Rouge’s blues heritage.
THE SWAMP BLUES STORY
Swamp blues originated in Louisiana’s capital city, gaining significant exposure in the 1950s thanks to Crowley record producer J.D. Miller. Miller distributed recordings from Baton Rouge blues artists through Nashville’s Excello Records, bringing names like “Lightnin’ Slim” and the legendary Slim Harpo onto the American music scene with hits like “Rooster Blues” and “Rainin’ In My Heart.” Swamp blues crossed the Atlantic to Europe, helping to birth the British Invasion as artists like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, The Kinks and Eric Clapton performed music inspired by artists Slim Harpo, Henry Gray and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown. Today, legendary south Louisiana musicians like Tabby Thomas and his son Chris Thomas King, Tab Benoit, Larry Garner, Big Luther Kent, Kenny Neal and his brother Lil Ray Neal tour the globe, bringing joy to blues fans everywhere, their catchy common-man lyrics irresistibly wrapped in the rhythms of a music born to turn even the hardest times in life into a celebration.