FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas - When multi-instrumentalist and bluesman Jontavious Willis was at Walton Arts Center in 2017, he was opening for Keb' Mo' and Taj Mahal. Willis will return to Walton Arts Center on Thursday, Oct. 22, at 7:30 p.m., as the headliner.
Tickets range from $32 to $52, plus applicable fees, and can be purchased by calling 479-443-5600 or by visiting waltonartscenter.org.
Willis was originally scheduled to appear as part of the 2020-21 West Street Live Series presented by Neal Pendergraft.
Willis released his second album, "Spectacular Class," in 2019. Through original lyrics written by Willis, the musician created a timeless album that features dynamic vocals and all types of blues: Delta, Piedmont, Texas and gospel. His standout fingerpicking, flat-picking and slide prowess are also on display on the guitar, harmonica, banjo and cigar box.
Hailing from Greenville, Georgia, Willis grew up singing gospel music at the Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church with his grandfather. At the age of 14, he came across a YouTube video of Muddy Waters playing "Hoochie Coochie Man" and was hooked. That's when he set his course on the blues.
While large-scale performances are suspended through at least January 2021, intermission programming with less than 200 patrons is made possible in part by the Ghost Light Recovery Fund.
The performance will be in Baum Walker Hall to allow for a minimum of four empty seats between parties and every other row will remain empty. These empty rows, with select seats removed, will also serve as walkways to seats located in the center of the theater while reducing contact with other patrons seated in that row.
Walton Arts Center has implemented additional health and safety precautions to protect patrons, staff, volunteers and artists from the spread of COVID-19. These precautions have been approved by the Arkansas Department of Health and include: Patrons will be required to wear face coverings when in the venue, except when consuming food or drink; concessions including a full beverage menu and pre-packaged snacks will be available for cashless purchase only; and tickets will be emailed to patrons and can be scanned directly from a smartphone to reduce contact.
Doors to Walton Arts Center and to the theater will open 45 minutes prior to the scheduled show time. Patrons are encouraged to purchase concessions and use the restrooms when they arrive and then proceed directly to their seats to reduce congregating in the lobby and traffic in the aisles.
For a complete list of health and safety precautions that will be in place for this and future performances at Walton Arts Center visit www.waltonartscenter.org.