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Hear the blues

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June 05, 1997

It's appropriate, in an area steeped in history, that one of the nation's oldest forms of music should become one of Hagerstown's hottest new attractions. We're talking, of course, about the blues, which will be available in abundance at this weekend's second Western Maryland Blues Fest, which kicks off today with The Push and the Steve Kemp trio at 11:30 a.m. in the courtyard of the Maryland Theatre.

The festival's first edition enjoyed modest financial success last year, racking up a $2,500 profit and drawing 8,000 to the two-day event. This year 16,000 are expected to a festival that's beginning to build into a new tradition uniting many of the city's diverse groups behind the banner of the blues.

Last night, visitors to the garden of the historic Miller House heard the picking of Delta slide guitarist Ben Andrews. Tonight there'll be a pre-game blues concert by Bad Influence at the Hagerstown Suns' game at Municipal Stadium. Even the Municipal Band will get into the act Sunday night, closing the weekend with a blues-tinged concert of its own. For a complete schedule, call 301-739-8577, ext. 116.

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To everyone in the area, whether or not you're a blues fan: Try it, because you might like it. It's relatively risk-free, since there are plenty of no-cost events you can sample. And if you're in business locally, come and consider how your firm might tie into the event in future years. For example, the Just Lookin' Gallery at 40 Summit Ave., is hosting an exhibition of art inspired by jazz and blues artists.

While you're downtown, come visit The Herald-Mail's Customer Appreciation Event, which will run from Friday from 1 to 4 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. We'll have a variety of prizes, information about what we do, and a canopy to shade visitors to our Summit Avenue patio from whatever weather we have this weekend.

But the best reason to visit us is to meet the people who put out your daily newspaper. Many of us are guests by proxy in your home each day because of the product we put together. This weekend we'd like to meet you in person, so please stop by.

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