Hayward/Russell City Blues Festival

The Hayward/Russell City Blues festival is a celebration honoring the rich Blues tradition of the area.

Russell City always had a rich musical culture. With 7 churches of various denominations, each with at least one chior, some with up to four. The blues tradition grew from African Americans whose Southern roots influenced the music. Saturday nights clubs were filled with the sounds of the Blues and Sunday mornings the churches were filled with the sounds of Gospel.

Many influential musicians passed through Russell City. Ray Charles, Big Mama Thornton, and Lowell Fulson are just some of the names known to play the clubs. 

West Coast Blues music eventually influenced the traditional sound when horns replaced the harmonica and West Coast Blues was born. Russell City is a landmark on the map of American’s contributions to world culture giving Hayward a unique musical leg reflecting the African-American experience.

In 1999 the West Coast Blues Society began the Hayward-Russell City Blues Festival, a celebration honoring the rich Blues tradition of the area. 2017 will be the 18th year of the annual festival, making it one of the oldest continuous Blues festivals in the West. 

The fesitival is a joint venture between the City of Hayward and the West Coast Blues Society. Taking place in July annually, the festival is an excellent opportunity to spend time with family and friends in Downtown Hayward while experiencing an important piece of Hayward's history.

Learn more about Hayward/Russell City: 

Russell City (Images of America)

What Ever Happened to Russell City 

West Coast Blues Society

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