Durham Blues & Brews Festival

2024 Festival Bands

Otis Kings Chicago Blues Otis Kings Chicago Blues

Formed in the vibrant Triangle area of North Carolina, we united with a single vision: to revive and celebrate the timeless rhythms of classic Chicago Blues. Although we've only just begun our musical journey, our local gigs in intimate bars, cozy cafes, and community festivals are becoming the stuff of Triangle-area legend. Each performance adds a new layer to our evolving sound, as we continue to dig deep into the roots of Chicago Blues while also leaving our unique imprint on this iconic genre.

As we tighten our strings and sharpen our harmonicas, our sights are set squarely on electrifying the Triangle area's live music scene with our take on classic Chicago Blues. We are all about local gigs, local fans, and local vibes. Our evolving set list pays tribute to the legends of Chicago Blues while incorporating the energy and soul of our Triangle community.

Learn more about Otis Kings on their web site or Facebook page.

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The NighthawksNighthawks

The Nighthawks was an idea in Mark Wenner's brain long before he was able to implement it. The musical product of pre-1958 radio in Washington, D.C., he did not know there were rules against mixing blues, R&B, honky-tonk country, doo-wop, gospel and rockabilly into one delicious stew.

In 1972, Mark, then 23, returned to his hometown after a New York City band apprenticeship eager to start a real, work-every-night band based on American roots music. He found a receptive local scene. Washington has long been a musical melting-pot of the kind that made Memphis the source point for the evolution of American music in the second half of the 20th century.

The current members bring decades of varied experience to the stage and studio. Paul Bell has played in many influential bands around the Nation’s Capital and is the consummate D.C. guitarist, capable of soul scratching or country picking. Johnny Castle started his D.C. career with Crank, popular early hard-rockers who opened for Jimi Hendrix. He spent journeyman time with Eddie and Martha Adcock in the heyday of D.C. Bluegrass, mixing comfortably with legends such as Bill Monroe and Ralph Stanley at festivals. Mark Stutso spent nearly two decades with former Nighthawk Jimmy Thackery. Before that he played in a number of big and small-time rock bands, including Ruffryder – a spin-off of Black Oak Arkansas – and Virginia Beach-based Trix. His vocals are a force to be reckoned with.

For more on The Nightwawks, check out their web site or Facebook page.

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Johnny Sansone Johnny Sansone

Johnny Sansone started out early playing music. His father, a saxophonist who’d been in Dave Brubeck’s band during World War II, introduced him to the saxophone at age 8. Johnny picked up the guitar and harmonica by the time he was 10, and had a life changing experience at 12 when he saw a Howlin’ Wolf show in Florida. That was the moment the young Sansone knew he was destined to play the blues as his lifetime vocation. Sansone led the life of an itinerant bluesman, traveling around the country from temporary bases in Colorado, Austin, Florida and Chicago before settling down in New Orleans in 1990.

By the time of 1996’s Crescent City Moon Sansone had developed into a full fledged Louisiana artist, combining blues, boogie and the frontporch Cajun and Zydeco sounds of the Louisiana bayou country. Over the years he has released multiple albums and been nominated for multiple awards. His latest album, Into Your Blues, is coming out soon.

For more about Johnny Sansone, see his web site.

Durham Blues & Brews Festival

May 17, 2025 · Durham Central Park

Map of Durham Central Park

Durham Blues & Brews Festival

May 17, 2025
5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Durham Central Park
501 Foster St. Durham, NC 27701