Shemekia Copeland

Blues vocalist Shemekia Copeland will close out the festival tonight.

The Niagara Falls Blues Festival continues today from 1 to 10:30 p.m. on Old Falls Street in downtown Niagara Falls.

Tonight’s headliner is blues vocalist Shemekia Copeland. She made her first on-stage appearance at age 10 at the famed Cotton Club and started her career in music at age 16. She is the recipient of eight Blues Music Awards, including ‘Album of the Year,’ ‘Contemporary Album of the Year’ and ‘Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year.’

Copeland will end the festival with a performance from 9 to 10:30 p.m.

The rest of today’s lineup:

• The Imperial Garage Classic Car and Bike Cruise, which honors the memory of Rotella’s late nephew, David Rotella who was killed in a motorcycle accident, starts at noon at Hyde Park.

Participants are asked to meet in the Hyde Park lot nearest to the veterans memorial. Cruisers will leave the park at 12:30 p.m. and head down to Falls Street for the start of day two of the festival. The music starts at 1 p.m. with a performance by Tommy Z, an award-winning guitarist, singer, songwriter and producer from Western New York. Z will be followed on stage by Studebaker John & The Hawks at 3 p.m. “Studebaker” John Grimaldi started playing harmonica at age 7 and he and his band have been staples of the Chicago blues scene since the 1970s.

• Mike Morgan and the Crawl, a blues band out of Texas, will take the stage at 5 p.m.

• Lurrie Bell, the son of famed blues harmonica player Carey Bell, will follow at 7 p.m.

All performances for the blues festival will take place on Old Falls Street. Admission is free. Beverages and food will be available for purchase. Several vendors will be on hand selling T-shirts and other items.

There is dedicated motorcycle parking during this year’s festival. Motorcyclists are invited to park their bikes on First Street, between Old Falls and Niagara streets, during festival hours.

This year’s event is sponsored by the county’s lead tourism agency, Destination Niagara USA, which manages Old Falls Street, and the City of Niagara Falls.

For full details about this year’s Niagara Falls Blues Festival, follow the event’s Facebook page or visit its website at

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