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The Kentuckiana Blues Society (KBS), founded in 1988 and based in Louisville, Kentucky is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the preservation, promotion, and perpetuation of the blues tradition in all of its forms. The KBS is an affiliate member of the Blues Foundation. The Blues Foundation is a non-profit corporation headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee. The Foundation consists of more than 160 affiliated blues organizations and societies around the world and serves as the hub for the worldwide passion for blues music.
Through extensive research and documentation, the KBS has made major inroads into the documentation of the blues tradition in Louisville, Kentucky. This research has led to the discovery of many rare photos, interviews, and the location of many early blues related sites. An archive has been established by the KBS to centrally locate all of these materials and make them available to members. They have also located the grave sites of blues greats Sylvester Weaver and "Little" Bill Gaither and arranged for the placement of headstones to preserve their memory. One of their most recent projects was the placement of a headstone for Louisville bluesman Foree Wells and his wife Lorene at Calvary Cemetery. Foree was a founding member of the KBS and of the Walnut Street Blues Band. He died in January 1997. In January 2007 his long-awaited album It's A New Day Brother! was finally released on Stackhouse Records with assistance and financial support of the KBS.
From its inception the KBS has been actively involved on the local blues scene. Many local and regional talents have been showcased in local venues under either direct sponsorship or contributed support of the KBS. Such artists as Albert Collins, Pinetop Perkins, and Henry Townsend (musician) were all able to appear in Louisville under the auspices of the KBS.
From 1988 through its demise in 1999, the KBS was involved in the festival formerly known as Garvin Gate Blues Festival - which was held the second weekend of October. Beginning in 1997 the festival was moved from the Garvin Gate Neighborhood of "Old Louisville" to Theatre Square. It was held in cooperation with The Louisville Palace, the Public Radio Partnership and the KBS. 2007 saw the rebirth of the Garvin Gate Blues Festival at its original location of Garvin Place and Oak Street.
The KBS is also involved with several current local blues festivals including the Louisville Blues-n-Barbecue Festival held in mid July at the Water Tower on Louisville's riverfront and the Jeffersontown-Crusade Blues Festival held the third weekend in May at Veteran's Memorial Park.
The KBS Unsigned Blues Talent Competition garners recognition for new bands and, due to its affiliation with The Blues Foundation, the winner is eligible to compete in the finals of the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee. The KBS contest is usually held in late summer or early fall at Stevie Ray's Blues Bar.
Probably the strongest commitment that the KBS has is its efforts to perpetuate the blues tradition so that generations to come may be able to attain a knowledge and appreciation of the blues. In a way, this perpetuation encompasses the other two "p"s of the mission: it is through the preservation and presentation of the blues that we can begin to perpetuate it.
One of the ways in which KBS perpetuates the blues is through the annual presentation of the Sylvester Weaver Award to an individual in recognition of their efforts in representing the mission of the KBS.
Additionally, it seeks to perpetuate the blues with formal and informal presentations about the blues to various groups, and through sponsorship and presence at festivals and concerts.
The KBS Board meets the first Wednesday of each month at 7:00 pm. Any changes in location and/or time are announced in the newsletter and on the website (http://kbsblues.org/). All are invited to attend. Recently issued CDs are offered to members for review in the newsletter.