Well… most of us survived another great blues festival season in the Pacific Northwest. And, I, for one, enjoyed what would have to be considered the smaller, more intimate festivals. With the Waterfront Blues Festival being the “elephant in the room” when it comes to Pacific Northwest blues festivals, all other festivals would have to be considered small when compared to our Southern neighbors’ event over the July 4th weekend.
Unfortunately, I can’t hit each and every Pacific Northwest blues festival, but I really wish I could. However, several local and regional blues festivals are worth a special mention, such as Sunbanks, although more of a private party than a festival, is always enjoyable despite the potential weather issues (d*mn it was cold that Friday night in May!). My day at the Mt. Baker Festival was also well worth the drive north to Deming, especially when our President, Eric Steiner, provided doorto- door service (but he does have a Rock Star and Starburst habit that gets him more than a little energized). The surprise of the summer for me was the Willamette Valley Brews & Blues Festival in Springfield, Oregon – great venue, great organization and great Oregon talent like Curtis Salgado, Henry Cooper and the Karen Lovely Band. Give it a big PLUS in all categories. Taste of Music in Snohomish was also another big success. And, Blues 4 Food is getting its legs as it strives to bring the Greater Seattle area some great blues over the Labor Day weekend.
I have heard plenty of great things about those blues festivals that I missed: Music on the Mountain. Untapped, Winthrop. Ritzville, Bronze, Blues & Brews, and Blues by the Sea. Maybe I need to vary things up a bit as I plan festival season 2011 next year, and catch a couple of those that I have missed. I do know that I plan my late spring, summer and early fall around blues festivals – they are my form of vacation!
So, what was the best festival I saw this season?
Whoa, I’m not opening that can of worms!
Best act I saw? Well, hard to beat Hamilton Loomis @ Sunbanks in May.or, Henry Cooper with Big Monti @ Willamette Valley Brews & Blues…..or Patti Allen and her All-Star Band @ Blues 4 Food….and as I write this for our October Bluesletter, I’m getting all rev’d up to catch Sammy Eubanks @ the fall version of Sunbanks.
No matter which Pacific Northwest blues festival you attend, you can be pretty darn sure you’ll catch some great blues acts – both local and national. If you haven’t attended a local blues festival, you should….actually you must; it should be mandatory for any avid blues fan in the Pacific Northwest.
Keep on blues trippin!
Nostalgia recommendation for this month – Sammy Eubank’s My Big Fat Blues Record! And, I hear he’s coming out with a new CD soon!