Too many blues festivals are really blues-rock events, dominated by electric guitarists cranking out bar-band, Blues Hammeresque solos. But the Tinner Hill Blues Festival in Falls Church, named after the location of the first rural branch of the NAACP, is largely the real thing. This summer’s three-day event is throwing the spotlight on acoustic guitarist John Hammond’s Friday night show at the State Theatre, but Saturday’s music at Cherry Hill Park may offer more unique thrills—particularly from Georgia’s Beverly “Guitar” Watkins, a reliable source of raw, R&B-rooted licks, and Indiana native Sista Monica, a vocalist who melds gospel with her love of Memphis soul and Chicago blues.
June 7 to June 9 at various venues in Falls Church. Ticket prices vary. tinnerhill.org/blues-festival.
Due to a reporting error, this critic's pick inaccurately said the June 8 concert at Cherry Hill Park is free. It is actually ticketed, and prices start at $15.