W. C. Handy: History behind the blues

Local News

We may never have the blues if it weren’t for William Christopher Handy.

“W. C. Handy was known as the father of the blues,” said Henderson historian, Tom Jake.

Handy was born in Alabama in 1873 and made his name traveling the country. But in Henderson, Kentucky he is said to have found his calling.

“He is definitely an icon,” Jake said.

We celebrate the man and the music on the riverfront this weekend in June. The W. C. Handy Festival honors and celebrates the blues music he helped create.

More than 40, 000 people flock to Henderson every year for blues and barbecue.

It takes a lot of work and volunteers to pull it off. A non-profit is set up to collect donations, and the Henderson Music Preservation Society works year-round to raise money for the festival.

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This story was originally published on June 14, 2019

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