History // Notes from Chris


In 2007, we created the Deep Blues Festival to celebrate the outsider and alternative blues and blues influenced music that we felt deserved more attention.   We’ve been fortunate to work with hundreds of bands from around the world.  Fans have also traveled from across the country and from around the world to support and join us.

This event started near the twin cities with a one day event showcasing 18 bands.   Every year, the event has evolved, and in 2014 the festival moved south to Clarksdale MS.   We expect the 2016 events in Clarksdale to be another success.

These festivals have inspired several folks to hold their own deep blues events all around the world.  Watch for upcoming shows in Germany, the NorthWest, and wherever these bands and this type of music is being performed.

I’m no longer the driving force behind this event, but it’s never been about me.  The musicians, the fans, venues and promoters will continue to support this great music.

All the best,

Deep Blues Festival



In 2007, Chris Johnson held the first Deep Blues Festival in a field just outside of the twin cities.  18 bands performed in an all day event.  This was a celebration of outsider and alternative blues and music inspired by these artists.  Over the years, hundreds of bands have been involved with the festival and also performing at Chris’ Bayport BBQ.

Deep Blues

“What excited me about this music was that it was so different,” said Johnson. “It was raw and immediate and went all the way back to the roots, and artists like R.L. and Junior had so much character.”…”Next came his discovery of artists like the Black Diamond Heavies, Scott H. Biram, and Bob Log — younger independents making music under the influence of Kimbrough, Burnside, and their hill country kin, including Jessie Mae Hemphill and Othar Turner.”…”This new, raw strain of hybrid blues offers deep roots to fans of traditional music. And while Burnside, Kimbrough, Hemphill and Turner are now dead, T-Model Ford, Kenny Brown, Elmo Williams and Hezekiah Early, and a handful of other Mississippians soldier on.” Excerpts from The Blues Is Not Dead: The New Blues Underground Rises Up by Ted Drozdowski about Chris Johnson and the Deep Blues Festival.