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The Matt Mullins & The Bringdowns preform at the Bluefield Blues Festival Saturday afternoon.

BLUEFIELD — Fans from as far away as Ohio and South Carolina came Saturday to downtown Bluefield for the blues music being served up by the 2021 Bluefield Blues Festival.

Commerce Street was closed off Saturday for a blues concert featuring singer, songwriter and guitarist Samantha Fish along with the bands Matt Mullins & The Breakdowns, 7 Mile Mushroom, The Carpenter Ants, The Steele Cookin’ Band and The Nighthawks. 

“Well, this is our sixth Blues Fest,” Tommy Cole of The RailYard said as he helped with final preparations. “We obviously had to postpone last year, but we’re real excited. Samantha Fish is our headliner. She’s just dropped an album yesterday, opened up for ZZ Top last night. We’re really excited to have her. Two years ago we announced that she was coming and it was big news. We’re really excited to have her, and we’ve got a really great line up.”

Music fans were soon arriving with portable chairs and claiming the best vantage points they could find. While there were plenty of local music lovers coming to Commerce Street for the festival – Cole estimated that as many as 600 could arrive – there were others who traveled hundreds of miles for the outdoor event. Local restaurants including The RailYard, the Blue Spoon Cafe and Vault Downtown were getting ready for the visitors.

“Something smells good,” Glenna Bullins of Marion, Va. said as she and her husband, Ronnie, arrived at Commerce Street. “We’ve had breakfast, but that smells good.”

They soon found good spots near the stage and started setting up their chairs.

“We’re just huge blues fans and also Samantha Fish fans,” she said. “It was a little over an hour’s drive.”

Not far away, Mike and Rhonda Fleeman of Lindside had found good spots for their chairs, too.

“We just came for Samantha Fish. We went to Stanton, Va. in 2018 to see her, and this is our second year,” Rhonda said. “You’ll have people from Myrtle Beach, everywhere, here. She’s the star of the show.”

Besides blues music, the festival offered a chance for friends to reconnect.

“We came from Myrtle Beach and they came from Ohio,” said Robin Wooley, who attended the festival with her husband, Dean. Jennifer Wooley and her husband Keith Pishnery had driven from Cleveland, Ohio for the show.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Robin Wooley said about being able to attend an outdoor show. “It’s really nice.”

Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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