The big news from Bayport is not only the imminent opening of the sixth Deep Blues Festival, but also the startling announcement from festival founder Chris Johnson that this will be the final event in Minnesota. Johnson said last week he'll relocate the 2014 festival to Mississippi — essentially its spiritual home since deep blues is an outgrowth of Delta and Hill Country blues — citing a persistent lack of interest locally. "I've brought some amazing talent to the Twin Cities area with these festivals," he says. "Very few seem to appreciate it." That's a real shame, because the Deep Blues Festival has an international following and attracts a rare array of talent fueled by especially virulent passion. Deep blues is raw, wild, and uncompromising. It's outsider stuff often with a punk ethos but also stretching to folk, country, and bluegrass. This year, for instance, among the six bands scheduled each day at the festival are Minnesota's own Charlie Parr (pictured), fierce rockers Left Lane Cruiser, gospel/holy roller-laced Reverend Deadeye, country-folk leaning Possessed by Paul James, and Missouri's Hooten Hallers, who aptly call their stuff "rock 'n' roll & hillbilly soul." Guadelupe Pena, meanwhile, aims at Skip James and R.L. Burnside from Andalusia, Spain, while New York's Dead Exs will have Black Diamond Heavies' Van Campbell sitting in on drums. The festival gets under way with a free show Thursday with local rockers Eleganza! and Kings of the Fucking Sea. The full schedule is at www.bayportbbq.com.
Fridays-Sundays, 4-10 p.m. Starts: June 21. Continues through June 23, 2013