Billtown Blues Audition Concert Names Winners and Performers of Annual Blues Festival | News, Sports, Jobs

RALPH WILSON/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Neil Tapp performs at the Billtown Blues Association Audition Concert Saturday at the Genetti Hotel in Williamsport.

The Billtown Blues Association announced the two winners of the 32nd annual auditions held on Saturday.

Group winner “challenge” was Chris LaRose and the Hex Highway Blues Band and the winner of the solo/duet”challenge” was Neil Tapp.

“All four were great. It was one hundred percent blues. It was a great show, a mix of different styles. It was excellent,” BBA board member Morgan Jennings said.

The four performing groups included Chris LaRose & the Hex Highway Blues Band, Becky Blue, Neil Tapp and Chris Purcell.

“They were all exceptional performers and they were all thrilling to watch. We will be proud to have them at the festival. We will be very proud to go to Memphis if they choose to go,” Bonnie Tallman, events director for the BBA said.

Audition winners will now have a place at The Billtown Blues annual music festival and are now eligible to perform at the International Blues Challenge talent show in Memphis, Tennessee next January.

The winners of the auditions were chosen by the members of the BBA.

“This year, 38 members chose to judge. It’s a very complex process aligned with the same process used by The Blues Foundation in Memphis. Winners become eligible for this, so we’re aligning exactly with how this will be handled in Memphis. There are 5 categories, Blues Content, Overall Talent, Vocals, Music Originality and Stage Presence,” said Tallman.

The 32nd annual Billtown Blues Festival will be held June 10, 11 and 12 at the Lycoming County Fairgrounds in Hughesville.

The event will include musical performances, food vendors, craft vendors, premium camping and more.

“We encourage you to purchase tickets in advance, but you can also purchase them on the day. Camping is also available at the Hughesville Fairgrounds where it is being held. Music ticket and camping information are on our website”, said Jennings.

Saturday’s event had been postponed from the original March date due to inclement weather.

“Initially we had 8 numbers lined up, then that’s when we had the big snowstorm.

We have contacted all bands and solo acts

And I tried to collect as much as possible. Four of the eight managed to do it,” Jennings said.

Despite the circumstances, the day had a positive turnout with approximately 150 people present.

“It lived up to our expectations – it was busy and all the music was spectacular. We found it to be a very successful event,” said Tallman.

To order tickets or plan camping arrangements for the upcoming The Billtown Blues music festival, visit

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