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Blues Fest was fun

let's do it again

June 27, 2004|By Carl W. Disque

One certainly can't thank everyone who contributed to the success of Blues Fest 2004 in 250 words or less, since, truly, our entire community - city government officials and staff, businesses large and small, and festival attendees - came together for three days of fellowship and great music, in what has become Hagerstown's "Downtown House Party"! With all of that commitment, positive energy and excitement supporting our dedicated cadre of event organizers and volunteers, even cool and rainy weather could neither chill our spirits, nor dampen our festivities. Thanks, citizens of Hagerstown, for deciding you each have a stake, a share of ownership, in this great event!

The list of those deserving specific mention is indeed long, so we can only give some highlights. Thanks to: All city employees, especially Karen Giffin, Erik Deike, and Jim Bender for their dogged assistance throughout the past year's festival planning cycle, and especially to City Administrator, Bruce Zimmerman, for his "hands on" leadership both before and during the event; to Eric Riser and Budweiser; to our new "Millennium Blues" sponsors Conservit, M&T Bank, and First Data, for being lead sponsors, respectively, of each successive festival day; to Laura Likely, and her employer, Citicorp, for Blues Fest's fun and educational "Kids Jam Too" children's area; to David Fitzwater for envisioning the enhanced staging and sound system for our "Budweiser Stage"; to Kirk Stiles for leading us to one of our most successful fundraising years ever; to Cindy Garland and Antietam Cable for procuring a visit from the C-Span Schoolbus; to Capitol Party Rentals and MHA Audio, respectively, for outstanding service to our tenting and sound needs; and to all of our musical guests for favoring us with some of their best sets ever! Also special thanks to Junior Mason and the crews at Parks & Recreation, who worked to clear more than two-dozen fallen trees and ready City Park for our Sunday use, only to see their efforts thwarted by heavy additional rains, which would have made our plans destructive to a key city asset. Finally, thanks to our emcee, Larry "B", for his engaging personality and sunny smile; and also to Chip Eagle and the folks at Blues Revue magazine.

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We're grateful that so many fans gave us a second chance to improve on weather-related contingencies, and supported our decision to try a new downtown layout. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement and praise. Our festival organizing committee is buoyed by the broad support Blues Fest enjoys, and it has filled our sails with even greater ambition for the 10th Western Maryland Blues Fest in 2005!!

Each year we meet shortly after Blues Fest to digest and discuss how we can make things even better. Your constructive comments are always welcome, and can be sent by email to Karen Giffin at: kmg01@hagerstownmd.org, or mailed to her at City Hall. We'd love to hear what you liked, what we could improve upon, and even what future musical guests you might wish invited. While we can't promise to agree with all you might suggest, we can promise to carefully consider your thoughtful comments or concerns.

In our festival programming, we try to cull the best from the diverse styles that form the broad spectrum of music known as "the blues." We hope we are convincing you that, regardless of your basic music preference, the blues lies deep in the heart of each. If you are an American, you love blues, even if you don't yet know it. For those who always knew it, for those now converted, and even for those yet to be, keep the faith, be safe, and tell your friends to join you in downtown Hagerstown for the 10th Western Maryland Blues Fest on June 3, 4 and 5, 2005!




Carl W. Disque is founder/ event chair of the Western Maryland Blues Fest.

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