Like the music it celebrates, the Big Muddy Blues Festival has had its ups and downs over the years. Nevertheless, while the free two-day event's current budgetary limitations preclude the booking of household-name performers, in recent years organizers still have managed to present an entertaining and varied menu of touring and local acts while attracting large, appreciative crowds. This year's headliners on Saturday include boogie-woogie piano man Kenny "Blues Boss" Wayne and the gritty singer/guitarist Joe Louis Walker, while Sunday's mainstage performers include New Orleans guitarist/singer Walter "Wolfman" Washington and guitarist Lurrie Bell, teamed with fellow Chicagoans Nick Moss & The Flip Tops. The two dozen St. Louis bands playing run the musical (and generational) gamut, from elders Big George Brock and Arthur Williams to the upstart Rum Drum Ramblers.
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