Russell City was an unincorporated area of Hayward, a community of modest houses and small farms along the bay. In its heyday, Russell City was famed for its clubs with dirt floors, bootleg electricity and a steady stream of musicians playing a style of Delta Blues. During the early part of their careers, artists such as Big Joe Turner and Big Mama Thorton played Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana style blues in Russell City. West Coast Blues music eventually influenced the traditional sound when horns replaced the harmonica and West Coast Blues was born.
Ronnie Stewart is the producer of the 18th Annual Hayward - Russell City Blues Festival, scheduled this year in City Hall Plaza in July. Join us for a special preview of the Russell City Blues sound with an exclusive keynote address to Hayward Rotary Club
Featuring Ronnie Stewart and A.T. Stephens
Monday, June 12, 2017 at 12:00 noon 
Masonic Lodge, 1074 "B" Street, Hayward
Guests are welcome. Lunch is $20 at the door
The purpose of the Hayward Russell City Blues Festival is to perpetuate blues, jazz and gospel as an art form indigenous to America, particularly recognizing its roots in the little town of African Americans in Russell City, who migrated to the Hayward area from the deep south to one of the proving grounds for blues musicians during the post-war years from the 1940’s through the 1960’s. It is organized by The West Coast Blues Society, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the perpetuation of  blues, jazz and gospel as an indigenous American art form.
A magnificent mural celebrating Russell City and its blues connections is located in Hayward at the corner of Maple and A streets. The mural was inspired and informed by historic photos from the collections of the Hayward Area Historical Society. Join us for this very special Rotary keynote event as we learn about the history of Russell City from A.T. Stephens, Executive Director of Hayward Area Historical Society.