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Blues Fest fund-raiser held

March 30, 2000|By BRENDAN KIRBY

An overflow crowd poured into the Four Points Hotel Thursday to hear blues music in what was part fund-raiser and part "fun raiser" for Hagerstown's annual summer weekend festival.

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More than 300 people paid $5 a pop.

Organizers set up seating for 300 but more people than that were on hand, judging from the folks standing in the back of the banquet room and milling about the hallway outside.

Carl Disque, founder and event chairman of the Western Maryland Blues Fest, said money raised from Thursday's event will be used to help pay for the festival to be held June 2, 3 and 4.

The fund-raiser's proceeds represent a small portion of the festival's $100,000 budget, but Disque said it is important for building enthusiasm.

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The two bands that performed, as well as the sound company, discounted their fees for the fund-raiser, Disque said. The hotel also cut the Blues Fest committee a break, he said.

Disque said he expects great things from the fifth installment of the Blues Fest.

"I say this every year, but I really expect it to be the best ever," he said.

Those attending the fund-raiser appeared excited.

Hagerstown resident Andrea Waterman said she came to hear the music and support the event.

"Hagerstown needs to be on the map somehow. It's such a dead town without it," she said. "The Blues Fest usually falls on my birthday weekend, so I always have a good time."

Waterman's friend, Charlotte Borum, said she is looking forward to KoKo Taylor and Her Blues Machine, which will perform June 2 at the Maryland Theatre.

Borum said she also wanted to hear Shemekia Copeland.

"I heard her last year. She was really good," she said.

Copeland also is a favorite of Hagerstown resident Curt Miller.

"She's wonderful," he said.

Miller said he was glad to make a small contribution to the festival.

"It's a great way to support arts in the community," he said.

Disque, who performed with 2Blue Ensemble Thursday night, said the crowd was the largest he's seen for the fund-raising event. He said it swelled considerably between the time the band took the stage at 7 p.m. and the time it left shortly after 8 p.m.

"It looked like a pretty darn good crowd I looked up at one point and was kind of shocked," he said.

Blues Fest organizers unveiled this year's artwork, which is incorporated on the T-shirts and other merchandise that will be on sale at the event.

A local artist, Sharpsburg resident Michael Hauver, was selected for the project.

Hauver, 45, said he was picked because organizers liked a poster he did for the Maryland Symphony Orchestra two years ago.

He said he painted six posters and that organizers picked their favorite.

"What they were looking for this year was a high-energy poster that represents a band and the energy of the crowd," he said. "That's what I tried to illustrate in my image."

An avid blues fan himself, Hauver said he drew from his own experiences at past Blues Fests.

"I was painting from memory in a way," he said.

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