2017 KJ James Memorial Scholarship

The NYS Blues Festival is pleased to announce the KJ James Memorial Scholarship, which will be awarded every year to promising young performers. Kelly James is considered to be the father of the blues scene in Syracuse. He was responsible for creating and cultivating the thriving blues scene we enjoy today in Central New York, including starting the very first blues festival on Burnet Ave. He played with the band Triple Shot before forming Dr. Blue and the Kingsnakes, who toured nationally, before he went solo as Dr. Blue.

Kelly James’ big heart and spirit of generosity and support for up ‘n’ coming blues musicians was legendary in the Central New York area and beyond. Fellow musician Terry Mulhauser said, “Kelly was a blues activist — whether he was putting together a show, a band or out on the road with his solo blues act – he always worked to raise the level of appreciation and respect for the music.”

2017 KJ James Memorial Scholarship Winners:

Jacob Fitzmaurice (1st Place)
Jacob Lawless (2nd Place)
Luke Puglisi (3rd Place)

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Sponsorship Opportunities Available!

For information on how you can help support the KJ James Memorial Scholarship, please email