Hip-hop, soul and zydeco are coming to the Baton Rouge Blues Festival.
This year’s lineup, announced Thursday by the Baton Rouge Blues Foundation, features Arrested Development, the veteran, topical hip-hop group whose hits include “People Everyday” and the Grammy-winning “Tennessee.”
Also on the bill is Charles Bradley, the Brooklyn-based soul singer whose recent recordings for Brooklyn soul music label Daptone Records exposed him to the largest audience of his decades-long career.
The free, one-day Baton Rouge Blues Festival will take place downtown April 11 from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. in and around Repentance Park and Galvez Plaza.
The inclusion of Heartless Bastards, an Austin, Texas-based indie rock band led by Erika Wennerstrom, represents another nonblues act in this year’s lineup. Also on the bill is Grammy-winning zydeco group Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band.
The festival’s blues performers include local artists Larry Garner, Kenny Acosta and Slim Harpo band alum James “Chicken Scratch” Johnson. Lazy Lester, another member of the classic era of Louisiana swamp blues, is also on the bill.
Additional performers include local reggae and old funk band Henry Turner Jr. and the Flavor, Mr. Hinson and the Blisters, the nine-member Heritage Blues Orchestra, Son Little, Louisiana Blues Revisited, Clay Parker, Ryan Harris and Denton Hatcher, Wil Jackson, Harvey Knox and the Soul Spectrum Band, the Lighthouse Singers, Baton Rouge Music Studios, Quiana Lynell and the Lush Life Band and the Chambers.
In a statement from the festival, programming chair Clarke Gernon said the event honors local swamp blues artists every year, while also presenting a diversity of blues-rooted musical styles.
“Gospel, soul, rhythm-and-blues, zydeco, rock and hip-hop all owe a great debt to the legacy of the blues,” Gernon said. “Our festival celebrates the blues in all its forms and styles. With south Louisiana being the cradle of so much American music, I can’t think of a better place to bring the blues and its roots and branches together.”
“We are ecstatic with this year’s festival lineup,” festival chairman Chris Brooks said.
“Every year, our programming goal is to push the envelope with performers — both traditional and nontraditional blues performers — in order to educate and promote to the world that the blues is the root of all American music. This festival is truly for everyone, and we feel our lineup reflects that this year.”
The 2015 Blues Festival will also feature “Back Stage at the Blues Fest,” a series of interviews and informal performances in the Old State Capitol Senate chambers.
VIP tickets for Baton Rouge Blues Foundation members go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday. VIP tickets to the general public go on sale at batonrougebluesfestival.org/VIP at 10 a.m. Feb. 9. The $100 tickets include food and drink and VIP areas adjacent to the Baton Rouge Blues Foundation and Swamp Blues stages.
In the past three years, the festival reported, the event has become one of the nation’s fastest-growing blues festivals, drawing more than 18,000 people.