Henthorn to make Fishers Blues Fest debut 


Since the middle of May, musician Doug Henthorn has been plenty busy.

“I’ve had a gig every day, and it’s been that way ever since,” Henthorn said. “I basically had a year off, so when May (arrived), it was go, go, go.”

Henthorn said with the lack of gigs from mid-March 2020 until May, he gained 15 pounds.

“My feet hurt, my fingers hurt, and my voice is tired because I’ve been out of practice,” he said. “But it’s great. I’m not complaining.”

Henthorn performs regularly at the Slippery Noodle and the Rathskeller in downtown Indianapolis, the Jazz Kitchen in Broad Ripple and The Corner Bar near Greenwood. He had done some parking lot gigs at The Corner Bar when COVID-19 resulted in indoor restrictions.

Henthorn, 54, is now set to make his first appearance in the ninth annual Fishers Blues Fest, a free two-day event which will be held Sept. 3-4 at the Nickel Plate District Amphitheater, 6 Municipal Dr. Henthorn will perform at 3 p.m. Sept. 4.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Henthorn said. “I’m doing an acoustic opening set. When they called me, they said they wanted a solo accoustic opener, so I’ll just play some blues tunes. It should be cool.”

The Westfield resident has played in several blues festivals, including in Australia a few years ago.

“But this is the first time I’ve been invited to one near my own hometown, so it’s cool,” he said. 

Henthorn said most of his gigs since May have been scaled-down acoustic sets.

“People are tentative about booking full bands, which is too bad, because that is really what I would prefer to do,” said Henthorn, who has had some performances with his band.

Henthorn performed vocals and played guitar while fronting the Healing Sixes, a blues-based rock band, for 15 years. The band included drummer Jason Bonham, son of the late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, for four years.

Henthorn toured Europe with Joe Bonamasso. He also performed and recorded with John Hiatt.

Henthorn said he has recorded two solo albums since Healing Sixes split up in 2014. He is working on a third album.

“I’ll be doing some material off of those two albums and maybe one off a new album that hasn’t come out yet,” Henthorn said of his Fishers Blues set. “I also do some choice blues covers that I enjoy playing.”

Henthorn has a website at doughenthorn.com, featuring his albums and photos.

The Fishers Blues Fest is held during Labor Day weekend each year.

“Our attendance has always been strong at Blues Fest,” Fishers Parks and Recreation director Sarah Sandquist said. 

“The Amphitheater is typically full. We have a larger budget for Blues Fest. We’re super excited to have Bobby Rush coming for one of the nights.”

Tickets aren’t required for the first-come, first-served event for all ages. Restrooms, hand-washing stations and hand sanitizer will be available on-site. Patrons are encouraged to wear face masks if they are not fully vaccinated.

Outside alcohol isn’t allowed, but vendors will be on-site selling alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, food and refreshments. Coolers, chairs and blankets are welcome.

The Fishers Blues Fest lineup includes: 

  • Sept. 3: Agents of Redemption, 5:20 p.m.; Lil’ Red & The Rooster, 6:50 p.m.; and Bobby Rush, 8:15 p.m.
  • Sept. 4: Doug Henthorn, 3 p.m.; Mr. Kinetik, 4 p.m.; Joanna Connor, 5:45 p.m.; Bernard Allison, 7:15 p.m.; and Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, 8:45 p.m.