Known for his 12-string acoustic guitar playing and signature song “Statesboro Blues,” Blind Willie McTell, born in Thomson, Georgia in 1898, is recognized as an American music pioneer. On May 6, 2017, the musician’s hometown will once again celebrate his legacy with the 24th Annual Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival. The concert lineup includes The Wood Brothers (with former Atlantan Oliver Wood and his brothers, Medeski, Martin & Wood bassist Chris Wood), The Marcus King Band, Mingo Fishtrap, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Sugar Ray and the Bluetones, and Joey Landreth Trio.
Staged in a gorgeous field under a Georgia blue sky, the annual event runs from afternoon through early evening and features regional food vendors serving up Southern favorites including barbeque and fried fish. Sponsored by the Activities Council of Thomson (ACT), the Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival formed in the late 70’s and reorganized in the late 1990’s to promote music, and “specifically to expose the folks in this area to examples of music and musicians that would not normally perform in our small town.”