Monmouth, IL, October 6, 2009 — Some of the most innovative and award-winning blues performers in the nation will descend on the Rivoli Theatre stage for the third annual blues festival, on Saturday, October 24th. This day-long event will feature national and regional acts, an open mic jam and rib dinners by Eddie Burton.

The theme of this year’s festival is Deep Blue Innovators. The festival will highlight artists with a traditional “blues soul” but who are also taking innovative approaches to their music, providing something new to this classical genre of American music.

Regional performers Charlie Hayes and Joel Fleming will light up the stage as an acoustic guitar and harmonica duo. They will perform classic and new blues songs enhanced by smoking hot improvised jams.

Joe and Vicki Price (, from Lansing, Iowa, will return to the Rivoli stage after a toe-tapping performance at the inaugural blues festival. Joe and Vicki play a hard driving, addictive for of country blues that just compels the crowd to get up and move.

“We had such a good time the first year, that we couldn’t wait to come back,” said Price. “This is the most intimate festival around for both the musicians and the audience… a real chance to get in touch.”

Legendary blues master Bernie Pearl ( travels to Monmouth from the Long Beach, California. Pearl cut his teeth on the blues decades ago with such bluesmasters as ‘Lightnin’ Hopkins, Mance Lipscomb and Mississippi Fred MacDowell. Pearl will not only perform at the festival, but he will also deliver a blues guitar workshop at the Buchanan Center for the Arts on Saturday morning from 10:30am until noon. This event is free and open to the public (please RSVP to

“I am very honored to be included in a festival that honors the tradition and encourages innovation,” said Pearl. “Not only am I going to get to play for a new group of people, but I get to share my ideas on playing with a bunch of blues guitarists. What fun!”

Heading to the festival from Canada is the up and coming Shawn Kellerman Band ( Shawn is a guitarist and songwriter blessed with a powerful voice and serious skills on the guitar. Mixing old school blues with a taste of funk and hip hop, Kellerman is taking the blues into a new era while remaining true to the form.

“I am honored to be included in this year’s festival,” said Kellerman. “I have heard it is at a great venue and of course can’t wait to do another show with the great Watermelon Slim! I feel fun a-brewing!!!”

Headlining this year’s festival is the one and only Watermelon Slim ( The unconventional Slim is a musical storyteller, with a blending of traditional blues, jump blues and some vaudeville showmanship. Slim has farmed watermelons, earned multiple college degrees, worked as a truck driver, fought in Vietnam, rallied against the war and even spent time as a small time criminal.

His varied background provides fertile ground for wonderfully creative and innovative blues compositions that have earned him many awards and nominations, including 2008 album of the year (for “The Wheel Man”) and band of the year.

“Your theme– ‘Innovators’– is spot on,” said Slim, “at least as far as I’m concerned. I try to keep the music new, keep it my own. The blues will never be a museum exhibit in my hands, nosireebob!”

“However, I am also a man who loves old theaters… I am looking forward to breathing the air inside such a veteran theater, seeing the places backstage where the dust has long settled because the broom or vacuum nozzle couldn’t get to them.”

“Ah, the familiar glide of curtain velvet, the dear little set-up routine, the sound of the crowd increasing in the lobby as showtime approaches– the applause, the blessing of the crowd– the nightcap afterwards– all of this I’m looking forward to at the Rivoli Theatre!”

The Rivoli Theatre, with is remodeled interior and state of the art sound system, is an intimate, unforgettable location to watch this performers work their craft. Anyone who has performed or seen one of the events at the Rivoli can attest to the quality of the sound and the comfort of the venue.

Mark your calendars, call your friends and plan to spend October 24th with some of the finest blues musicians in the country. The Deep Blue Innovators Blues Festival will be an unforgettable day of music.

Tickets are $14 prior to the show and will be $17 at the door. Tickets can be purchased online now or at the following local businesses: Monmouth (Buchanan Center for the Arts, Bijou Pub, Daw Violins), Galesburg (Cherry Street Guitars, MusicMakers, Capitol Music), Macomb (Capitol Music) and Burlington (Weird Harolds). Doors will open at 2pm and the show will start at 2:30pm. is an initiative to bring great live blues music to the Monmouth area, as well as highlight local talent already playing around the region. Concert information, local events and event tickets can all be found online at

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