Keeping the Blues Alive in Hampton Roads since 1984
The Natchel' Blues Network Blues Society (NBN) is dedicated to the promoting and increasing the awareness of Blues Music as a true American art form in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia.
Promoting Blues concerts & events with local & national artists, blues festivals, local bands, in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Southeastern Virginia since 1984.
Recipient of The Blues Foundation's Keeping The Blues Alive (KBA) award for Blues Organization of the Year in 1998.
• Promote, perpetuate, and preserve blues music as a true American art form.
• Develop and provide an educational resource for the community (schools, churches, civic organizations, etc.) as to the history & evolution of the blues.
• Disseminate information to and act as a network for blues musicians and others interested in the blues, both locally and nationally.
• Advocate and work toward an increase in contributed support for the blues in the greater Hampton Roads area.
History of Natchel' Blues Network
The Natchel' Blues Network (NBN) has been promoting the blues in southeastern Virginia as a 501c3 non-profit organization since 1984. Chase Jackson, Ernie Williams, and other musicians wanted to increase the awareness of the blues in Hampton Roads, so they formed the NBN. Our first "Elizabeth River Blues Festival" was presented in Norfolk, VA in 1985 with headliner John Lee Hooker. Over the years, the headliners included Albert King, Bernard Allison, Ann Rabson, Katie Webster, Big Twist, Lonnie Brooks, Gatemouth Brown, The Holmes Brothers, Marcia Ball, Denise LaSalle, and Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials.
Due to cuts in grants, this festival has not been presented since 1994. In 1996, Festevents (promoters of the Town Point Jazz Festival) and the Natchel' Blues Network joined together to present the Town Point Jazz & Blues Festival. This festival has been very successful. In 1994, we had an opportunity to try a new venue - the oceanfront in Virginia Beach, for Blues At The Beach. The first festival was a low-budget, one-day affair, that presented some of the best of the local blues scene. Since then, Blues At The Beach has included Roomful of Blues, Robert Lockwood, Jr., Bob Margolin with Pinetop Perkins, Lucky Peterson, Smokin' Joe Kubek, Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers, Long John Hunter, R.L. Burnside, Shemekia Copeland, the Nighthawks, and a host of talented local bands. Our organization has always stressed having local bands participate in our festivals.
The NBN has presented workshops by Koko Taylor, Saffire -The Uppity Blues Women, Cephas & Wiggins, John Jackson, and Taj Mahal. These presentations were in conjunction with Norfolk State University and Old Dominion University. In October, 1997, Tim Morgan (one of our directors) started presenting a Blues In The School program and has done several more since that time. We also run Blues Jams throughout the year, present local workshops, and publish the bi-monthly Blues News Bluesletter. Our members also presented three benefits for the Johnny Copeland Heart Fund. In 1998, the NBN won the Blues Foundation's Keeping The Blues Alive (KBA) Award for Blues Organization of the Year.