Michael Burks, 54, a hard-touring guitarist nicknamed "Iron Man" for his long, highly-energetic shows, died Sunday of an apparent heart attack while returning from a European tour.
He collapsed at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and couldn't be revived.
Here is his biography from Alligator Records.
Burks was scheduled to play in a guitar trio with Coco Montoya and Jimmy Thackery. Here's the festival's lineup for Memorial Day weekend.
Blues Festival promoter Bill Welch wrote this on the festival's Facebook page:
"This is really a sad time for all blues music fans around the world. Last night we were informed that Michael Burks collapsed and died in the Atlanta airport on his way back from a European tour. Michael was one of the most talented and hardest working performers on the planet. In the many years he has played Moe's Alley, Santa Cruz & the Santa Cruz Blues Festival I always knew he had found his calling in this life to play his guitar and entertain us all. There are very few people who could keep up with Michael's endurance on stage, his love of playing those 2 to 3 hour sets was amazing. More than anything else I'll never forget his incredible talent and passion for the music he shared with us. He is already greatly missed.
Our deepest condolences go out to Michael's family."
Santa Cruz Blues Festival & Moe's Alley