American Queen Feels the Blues

One of the major things that makes Wheeling’s Heritage Music BluesFest an enjoyable experience is picturesque scenery, with the Ohio River and Wheeling Suspension Bridge providing a backdrop for the blues musicians on stage.

On Friday morning, that backdrop got even better with the addition of the American Queen steamboat docked just behind the stage during the Taste of the Blues preview. The Canadian group The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer, who played the main stage Friday evening, provided the music for the free preview.

Festival organizer Bruce Wheeler said the annual Taste of the Blues served as dry run before the festival officially kicked off Friday evening. The band and attendees started the party early, creating a festival atmosphere for everyone at Heritage Port, many of whom were on their lunch breaks from work.

Helping to kick off the event Friday was 2013 Queen of Queens winner and Wheeling Park graduate Gabrielle Payne.

The festival continues today, beginning at noon, and features blues acts IBC and Little G Weevil, Skyla Burrell Band, Brighter Side Band, Jesse Dee, Monkey Junk, Joe Louis Walker and headliner Dr. John, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011. The festival concludes Sunday evening with JJ Grey and Mofro.