Piedmont Blues Preservation Society


The 36-year-old nonprofit will fundraise by hosting a virtual screening of Emmy Award-winning film, Charlie’s Place on May 9th, and a virtual livestream of the Festival on May 15th in addition to the in-person Festival. Tickets available at piedmontblues.org

Piedmont Blues Preservation Society announced today that it will continue its legacy of recognition in blues excellence that began over two decades ago by honoring the Mike Carr Junior Bluesman Award and the KBA Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Mike Carr Junior Bluesman Award is presented each year to one regional up and coming youth blues artist. The award recognizes emerging youth talent who are keeping the blues alive by their music and public displays of talent as the future of the blues. The presentation is named in honor of former board member, Mike 

Brendan Hinch

Brendan Hinch with his father, Thomas Hinch. Photo by Bob Powell.

Carr, who encouraged PBPS to reach out to young musicians in the Piedmont. The award is sponsored by Summerfield Family Chiropractic.

  In 2020, the award was presented to Brendan Hinch, a 15-year-old native of Greensboro North Carolina and the winner of the 2019 PBPS: Road to Memphis Blues Challenge, where he qualified to perform in the 2020 International Blues Challenge. This year, Brendan will be recognized at the in-person Carolina Blues Festival on May 15th and will showcase his talent live on stage. Brendan lives with his mother, father, and older brother, Thomas, who is his first guitar influence. Hinch enjoys most genres of music particularly blues, jazz, rock, punk, and alternative. His musical influences include Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Prince, Gary Moore, Buckethead, Rory Gallagher, and Michael Jackson. He admires many North Carolina artists; including John Coltrane, Tal Farlow, Eric Gales, Charlie Hunter, J.Timber, and Sheila Klinefelter. Hinch is a student at Grimsley High School. He loves to skateboard and hang out with friends when he’s not attending regional blues jams, an experience recently put on hold due to public health concern regarding the pandemic.


Penny Smith

The Keeping the Blues Alive (KBA) Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to blues culture through their work, volunteerism, or investment. The 2021 award recipient is Penny Smith, a lifetime resident of Greensboro, NC. Currently employed by A&T State University as Chair of the Staff Senate, Penny also spends as much time on stage as she can with the groups Classic Funk Orchestra & Knights of Soul. Often a featured guest with House of Dues she has long history of giving back to the community-at-large. Her resume includes a 25-year relationship with Habitat for Humanity as a homeowner, volunteer & now a Board Member. She spent 14 years working with Greensboro Urban Ministry and continues to share her time with the organization. Her newest act of giving is as a board member of Urban Renaissance Culture, a newly formed non-profit  

engaged with uplifting disenfranchised members of the community. This organization was started in the memory of Corey Williams, her son who passed in 2006 after a two-year battle with cancer at the age of 16. Penny will be performing a selection at the festival of ‘Rather Go Blind” by Etta James live at the Carolina Blues Festival on May 15th at Lebauer Park in Greensboro.“Often these awards are given to those who play the music or work directly with Blues related institutions. Achievement goes far beyond those stereotypes. We only exist because of an amazing community of giving and caring people. Among the most active and authentic of these is Penny Smith. Her volunteerism and spirit of giving in not only the Blues community but in the City of Greensboro is quite prolific. Penny represents the very best we have to offer in every way.” said Atiba Berkley, PBPS President. 

 Penny Smith states, “What I like about Blues community is they are a non-judgemental group of people. I always want to find people doing the best of what they want to do. When I was going through cancer I was able to find healing by going to Fisher’s Grille for the weekly Blues on Tuesday. They didn’t even know I was sick but the hugs and the fact that folks looked forward to seeing me each week really kept me going. I’m so grateful to all the venues that helped me find healing.”

Cone Health has joined the event and is sponsoring on site, voluntary, COVID-19 screening and vaccine scheduling from 4pm-8pm inside the event. Please contact Cone Health for additional resources and vaccination locations. 

Want to Volunteer? PBPS is seeking vaccinated and low risk volunteers for the festival on May 15th at LeBauer Park in downtown Greensboro. Volunteers must be 18+ years and willing to sign a liability waiver. The event will be mask mandatory. Volunteers may sign up here.

Support for the 35th Annual Carolina Blues Festival comes from ArtsGreensboro, City of Greensboro, Greensboro Downtown Parks Inc., Greensboro Conventions & Visitors Bureau, R.H. Barringer Distributing Co., Downtown Greensboro Inc., SEO Rocket, The B-Sides, Grove Winery & Vineyards, WNAA 90.1, Summerfield Chiropractic, the Hummel Family, and the Hazelman Family.

Various sponsorship opportunities are still available and going fast. For sponsorship inquiries, please contact Atiba Berkley at info@piedmontBlues.org. 

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