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Blues Fest may break even

June 10, 1997

By JULIE E. GREENE

Staff Writer

The second annual Western Maryland Blues Fest, with some cooperation from the weather, drew a bigger crowd than last year's event, said Downtown Coordinator Karen Giffin.

Attendance didn't double from last year's 8,000 attendees as expected, but about 13,000 people turned out, Giffin said.

Many came from the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., areas. Some hailed from Florida and California, she said.

The event should break even, although final numbers won't be available for two weeks, Giffin said.

Giffin said $41,000 in sponsorships available before the festival began would cover most of the $50,000 cost.

Still to be counted are revenues from Luther Allison's Saturday night concert at The Maryland Theatre and Rory Block's Friday night concert at Hagerstown Junior College's Kepler Theater as well as sales of T-shirts, hats and posters, she said.

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Tickets also were sold for $5 for the seating area downtown on Saturday, Giffin said.

Some local agencies also had fund-raisers at the festival.

The Washington County Community Action Council probably raised between $1,600 and $1,700, about $300 more than last year, said Austin Abraham, board president.

The council sold sodas donated by Central Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Inc. and barbecue sandwiches from Kerch's, Abraham said.

Blues Fest Chairman Carl Disque said event officials will start planning next year's festival in about a month. The event is scheduled for June 5-7 next year.

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