Piedmont Blues Preservation Society will host NC Blues Week May 9th- 15 th, 2021 featuring in-person and live performances and a film screening. APRIL 27, 2021, GREENSBORO, NC – The Carolina Soul theme carries through in the artist lineup announced today by the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society (PBPS) for the 35th Annual Carolina Blues Festival on Saturday, May 15th, 2021 at in downtown Greensboro. “Blues culture created the first Pop music the world ever knew. It evolved from the heart of the Black Americans into multiple other genres including Rock & Roll, Rhythm & Blues, and Soul and Beach Music. Soul & Beach Music matured right alongside the social and political issues of its day and remains a reminder of what a great opportunity we have to consistently grow and improve our country and it’s perspectives on art and culture. Carolina Soul is a reminder of who we are as Carolinians and that the soul of a people united are at the center of everything we do.”, said Atiba Berkley, PBPS President.

Johnny Rawls (Purvis, MS) - is a soul blues legend. In fact, the term “soul blues” was invented to describe his music. With a career spanning more than 50 years, he’s done it all. He’s an internationally recognized recording artist, music producer, and songwriter who tours extensively throughout North America and overseas.

The Blues Music Awards, Blues Blast Awards, Living Blues Awards, and the W.C. Handy Awards have all acknowledged Johnny Rawls with multiple awards and nominations, including Soul Blues Album of the Year and Soul Blues Artist of the Year. Living Blues Magazine described him as a “soul-blues renaissance man” when he was featured on the cover in 2002. Johnny is honored to be mentioned on two markers along the Mississippi Blues Trail – one in Hattiesburg, MS marking the Hi-Hat Club, and another in Rocklin ME marking the migration of blues from Mississippi to Maine.

Press Contact:

Atiba Berkley, President

Roy Roberts (Greensboro, NC) -Not many people have had careers as long and as varied as Roy Roberts. His career in the music industry began when he was just 14 years old, and it has never stopped. Solomon Burke took young Roy under his wing after letting him sit in as a bass player during a local gig. He was soon handling the guitar chores behind the future soul legend on tour. Roberts subsequently picked up touring gigs with such luminaries as Eddie Floyd, “Little” Stevie Wonder, Dee Clark, and Otis Redding, while fronting his own band, The Roy Roberts Experience, on the regional club scene and Southeastern beach town circuit. Roy proceeded with a string of 45’s that carried him well into the seventies.

During the disco years, Roy turned his talents to country music, touring with the great O.B. McClinton and releasing multiple country records. After a brief hiatus from the music scene, Roy built a recording studio where he produced records by regional gospel artists and even cut a gospel record of his own.

The Phoebes (RTP, NC) were launched into the spotlight by Kingfish reposting their cover of his 2019 Grammy nominated version of the classic, “Hey Joe”, The Phoebes are one of the newest bands in the Southeast. Performing the perfect mix of Rock & Blues, they always represent. Come and hear this special collective born of a pandemic play the first festival in Greensboro since everything got weird! Darryl Johnson (Marshville, NC) is a bass player, singer, songwriter, composer, and producer with credits including song placements in film and TV. He started with The Original Drifters but is well known for playing with The Neville Brothers and Bob Dylan, and for producing Daniel Lanois' solo albums. Darryl Johnson has performed and recorded with such artists as Bill Pinkney and the Original Drifters, Detroit Memphis Experience, Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs, Maria Howell, Bonnie Bramlett, Bekka Bramlett, Arthur Smith, Johnny Neel, Larry Henley, and many more. After the unfortunate passing of General Johnson he was asked to join Chairmen of the Board. He has now returned to the Drifters and is taking a day off their tour to celebrate his roots in Carolina Soul as he now resides in Detroit, MI. This year he celebrates 31 years with The Drifters as part of his legacy.

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. 

Various sponsorship opportunities are available for the 35th Carolina Blues Festival. For sponsorship inquiries, please contact Atiba Berkley at

About the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society:

The Piedmont Blues Preservation Society (PBPS) is a 501c3 charitable nonprofit dedicated to the preservation and presentation of the culture and music known commonly as the blues; this form of music having evolved historically from the culture and experiences of African-Americans including work songs and spirituals. Our organization represents blues culture through educational programs, workshops, and with a focus on historical accuracy and cultural authenticity. We collaborate with other nonprofits and with regional and global businesses to highlight the Piedmont as a place to not only live but a place to experience rich culture. Our services support public health issues, educational initiatives, and societal concerns while promoting local businesses, tourism, the arts, and education in the true spirit of the Blues community. More information can be found at