After 4 years, 200+ bands, mounting debt and plenty of rain storms Chris Johnson announced yesterday that he would no longer be doing the Deep Blues Festival. I can’t say I am really all that surprised, the festival was always an ambitious undertaking that at times seemed to feature more band members than actual paid attendees, I guess I just always held out hope that Chris and crew would figure out how to scrape together another year.

The funny thing about The Deep Blues Festival was that it suffered no lack of support from the international / out of town community and it seems it’s ultimate failure may lie solely at the feet of the people in the Twin City area. Not that it matters at this point.

I just wanted to make a post to thank Chris for his efforts with DBF. I made it up there for two of the 4 festivals and had a blast both times. I met some fine folks, made a few friends and I saw bands like Charlie Parr, Possessed By Paul James, Davina and the Vagabonds, A Night In The Box and Jawbone whom I’ll likely never get to see again.

So, thanks for the memories Chris. I wish it would have worked out better for you.

Here are some bands that played DBF over the years:

A Night In The Box – Rich Man’s Table
Black Diamond Heavies – Smoothe It Out
Chris Cotton – The Gambler
Reverend Deadeye – Fuck the Devil
Jawbone – Saucy Sauce
Left Lane Cruiser – Big Mamma
Possessed By Paul James – Ferris Wheel
Scott H. Biram – Time Flies

8 thoughts on “R.I.P. DEEP BLUES FESTIVAL:”

  1. man that sucks…i always enjoyed discovering some amazing new artists vicariously through your Deep Blues Fest updates…kudos to Chris for attempting to fight the good fight and to Autopsy for helping those like Chris in the ongoing war for excellent music.

  2. the DEEP BLUES FESTIVAL has to live on on the internet for now…I hoped I could make a trip to the festival one day, but maybe it’s time for the DBF to come to Europe!? Here’s to Chris, cheers!

  3. The DEEP BLUES FESTIVAL was, and remains, an amazing experience not only for the musicians and fans that attended or in some way financially supported the festival, but also all those who now have the opportunity to hear all this wonderful music via the internet or whatever other media outlet that it has become available through. I put heavy blame on those fans who complained about the ticket pricing, location, or the fans who “were going to attend the “next” festival”. The fest has thousands of fans yet paid ticket sales throughout its existence didn’t total over 1000 tickets sold. Life isn’t free folks and a lot of yall got a free ride at the expense of the festival organizers and the musicians themselves. And some of this blame lies with me as well. Even as a paid event attendee and Deep Blues Festival Member, had I known sooner of the struggles, there may have been more that even I could have done to help this legacy live on. Long Live DEEP BLUES!

  4. The problem with any supply and demand structure is that it takes large numbers to make any product or event lucrative…or to even allow it to break even.

    Translated into musical terms this means, many a souls need to listen to a certain style of music in order for it to result in any kind of $$$.

    I reckon most visitors of the Deep Blues Festival agree that the masses have a piss poor musical taste and that’s where the problem lies and will forever lie:

    It’s mostly drivel that sells, and the good stuff gets filed under “obscure”.

    The little man inside my head tells me that Chris Johnson knew this from the get go and did it all anyway.

    To me that is more heroic than doing something based on the belief that it will prosper.

    Like Dylan Thomas, Chris raged against the dying of the light…but Chris, folks get what they deserve…and they did not deserve Deep Blues.


    M.A. Littler

  5. This sucks. I’ve been saying for awhile is what independent roots music needs is more festivals, and now a good one is gone. Hoping that the Muddy Roots Festival in Tennessee this May will help fill the hole.

  6. sad news indeed. is this whats to come for everyone that promotes this realm of music? I can especially feel Mr. Johnson’s pain in money/family/music. we evaluate every year, if HBE is is worth it….or if its time to move on….

    along side being the underdog and supporting this music, comes the fight to keep it alive…..if you go down…..go down swingin…..

    all we can hope is that one of wild punches land….and soon!

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