Annika Chambers

Rising national blues sensation Annika Chambers headlined the first Blues at the Arch of 2019 on Friday, August 9 at Gateway Arch National Park.

“I just want you to be true,” Annika Chambers sang into the microphone before passing it to the pint-sized blues fan she summoned from the audience. Chambers stooped down to the little girl’s level. When it was her turn, she fearlessly repeated Chambers – and waited for her turn to sing again.

The toddler caught the eye of Chambers and everyone else as she danced around to the music nonstop in front of the stage. Their exchange was one of many tender moments as the 2019 season of the Gateway Arch Park Foundation’s Blues at the Arch kicked off August 9 with ladies singing the blues.

“I just want to make love to you,” Chambers said. “Wait, don’t say that.”

After being caught up in the routine of singing that particular lyric, the rising blues star realized the line was not appropriate for her impromptu duet partner.

“I just want to laugh with you,” Chambers said. The toddler blues singer-trainee sang the line and did everything in her power to match the pitch and tone of Chambers. It was the cutest thing ever.

Chambers headlined the first show of the series, which featured 14-year-old “The Voice” finalist Kennedy Holmes and local music veteran Kim Massie.

There was a toddler, a ninth-grader, a great-grandmother and a woman all showcasing their talents in the name of the blues at the annual concert series that takes place each Friday in August. The 2019 season is presented by Emerson and once again includes the no-brainer partnership with The National Blues Museum.

“This year is phenomenal. We are excited to showcase and bridge the legacy and future of Blues in St. Louis at the centerpiece of our city – the newly renovated Gateway Arch National Park!” said Erin Mahony, deputy director of the National Blues Museum.

Much like the lineup of talent, the audience is a splendid mix that reflects the region – and parties together on the riverfront that in a manner that pays tribute to the city’s rich musical legacy.

The blues music woman power went on for another week, thanks to St. Louis based Ms. Hy-C & Fresh Start on August 16. The blues band played for their largest crowd since winning the International World Series of Blues in Memphis.

“Last year, we welcomed more than 18,000 people to Gateway Arch National Park to relax, unwind and enjoy top-notch blues entertainment in the shadow of the Gateway Arch,” said Samantha Fisher, director of communications for the Gateway Arch Park Foundation.

For the remaining two weeks, the men will have their time in the spotlight. In addition to the gender equity, the series also provides a platform for local and national blues acts.

St. Louis’ Big Mike Aguirre will be paired with Johnny Rawls out of Mississippi for the August 23 show. Marquise Knox and Brandon “Taz” Niederauer will close out the 2019 installment of Blues at the Arch on August 30. All shows take place from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. in the North Gateway (the north end of Gateway Arch National Park, near Laclede’s Landing).

“We are excited to partner with the National Blues Museum for a third year and continue to celebrate St. Louis with blues music and the Arch.” 

Blues at the Arch continues each Friday through August 30 from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. at North Gateway portion of Gateway Arch National Park, near Laclede’s Landing. For more information about Blues at the Arch, visit archpark.org/blues.  

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