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True blue blues fans enjoy festival

June 03, 2007

Tom Nyberg, Herndon, Va.

Tom Nyberg likes a lot of different music genres and the blues at this year's festival was pretty good, he said.

But Nyberg was even more excited about the food and the company as he dug into a pit beef sandwich Saturday afternoon.

"Lots of friendly people here," Nyberg said of his first Western Maryland Blues Fest experience. Nyberg had only one complaint.

"Where's the air conditioning?" he asked.

Bob Lubbehusen, Annandale, Va.

Bob Lubbehusen travels from Annandale to attend the Western Maryland Blues Fest every year.

Friends say he's fanatical when it comes to the blues.

They might be right - this weekend's blues festival is one of about 40 blues concerts and festivals Lubbehusen attends each year, he said.

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"It's one of the better festivals on the East Coast," Lubbehusen said.

On Saturday, Lubbehusen was wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the name of this year's headliner, Joe Bonamassa.

Blues is music that he, the average individual, can relate to, Lubbehusen said.

Adam Dellinger, Boonsboro

Adam Dellinger likes to watch blues musicians play their feelings.

The 19-year-old said he went to the Western Maryland Blues Fest on Saturday after his father extended the invitation.

"I told him I'd be interested," he said. "I love the guitar, man."

Wearing a green bandanna, red Chuck Taylor All Stars and beads around his neck, Dellinger said he has been playing the guitar for five or six years.

Although he prefers classic rock, he said the blues are far better than any music on the radio today.

"It doesn't do anything for me," he said. "There's nothing to it."

Peggy Reed, Hagerstown

Enjoying the blues goes with her age group - those who soon can draw Social Security benefits - Peggy Reed said.

As she basked in the sun Saturday afternoon, Reed said she was looking forward to the Western Maryland Blues Fest headliner this year, Joe Bonamassa.

"I love his style, his voice," she said.

Bonamassa's concerts are high-energy, and he "really holds the crowd," she said.

Alvin Reed, Chambersburg, Pa.

For 10 years, Alvin Reed has been attending the Western Maryland Blues Fest.

What brings him, year after year?

"The music, just the music," he said.

Reed loves the blues so much that the XM satellite radio in his car is permanently tuned to a blues station, he said.

Stephen Willingham, Berkeley County, W.Va.

There wouldn't be Jimi Hendrix if it wasn't for blues great Robert Johnson, said Stephen Willingham, 57.

He watched with great respect Saturday as David "Honeyboy" Edwards, one of Johnson's contemporaries from the 1930s, played on one of the Blues Fest's two stages.

"He's one of the last living connections to Robert Johnson," Willingham said of the 92-year-old Edwards. "I've caught Mr. Edwards' act before ... Anyone who's into the blues knows about David Edwards."

Jack Shields, Delaware County, Pa.

It was a three-hour drive to the Western Maryland Blues Fest for Jack Shields.

"It's a ways to come, but it's worth it," said Shields, 52. "It's a nice venue. I really like it."

He said he came to the festival not just for the blues, but to treat himself to a birthday present.

Matt Hersh, Montgomery County, Md.

Matt Hersh, 22, sat with his face pointed toward the hot sun as he listened to the music Saturday at the Western Maryland Blues Fest.

"I really like the blues," he said. "(Blues Fest) is just amazing. It's a real cool atmosphere."

Hersh said he traveled from his home to attend Blues Fest.

He particularly enjoyed the acoustic sounds of Delta bluesman David "Honeyboy" Edwards.

"I'm diggin' it," he said. "I probably heard him before, but never live like this. I'm pleasantly surprised."

Cindy O'Mailia, Hagerstown

Cindy O'Mailia just moved to Hagerstown from Harpers Ferry, W.Va.

A friend gave her tickets to attend the Western Maryland Blues Fest on Saturday, she said.

Although the temperature was extremely hot, she said she enjoyed the festival just the same.

Her passion for the blues started 30 years ago, when she spent a summer listening to blues and jazz bands.

"I love the blues," the 46 year old said. "I love the slide guitar."

Jim Wellington, Corning, N.Y.

Jim Wellington had a slight sunburn as he stood to the side of the stage watching performances during the Western Maryland Blues Fest on Saturday.

He said he and his nephew rode their motorcycles to the festival from Corning.

"I like guitar-driven blues rock," Wellington said.

The duo rides to several blues festivals across the East Coast, and as far south as Florida, he said.

"How can you pass up (David "Honeyboy" Edwards)?" Wellington said. "He's a living legend."

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