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Once again, Blues Fest is the 'best'

June 24, 2007

To the editor:

Wow! Thank you Hagerstown! Blues Fest 2007 was one marvelous hoedown that this community presented together over the weekend of June 1.

Help me remember: Did the publisher of the world's largest blues publication really say from our Sunday stage that Blues Fest was the best city-run blues festival in the country - or was it in the world? Either way, Hagerstown, that's some pretty rarified air you are breathing!

Blues Fest's success really reflects the broad community participation turning out to lend time, money or just a helping hand toward our event, so deservedly pat yourselves on the back.

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All present keenly felt the peace, love, harmony and sense of community throughout the weekend as an all-ages crowd poured out its heartfelt appreciation to a lineup of outstanding performers that also reflected diversity of age, race, gender and style of blues. Ninety-one-year-old blues pioneers and 70-something legends played alongside 30-something up-and-comers and every age in between.

Lots of young music fans enjoyed both the stage acts and the special children's area sponsored by CITI. No doubt Blues Fest's family-oriented, all-ages character explains why our exuberant, largest-ever crowds were orderly and (once-again) incident-free.

Our musical guests gave us amazing performances and they also spontaneously and repeatedly showered us with backstage expressions of heartfelt praise for Blues Fest's excellent organization and hospitality and the friendly nature of our townsfolk. There is so much due credit to be acknowledged.

We thank the greater-Hagerstown business community for its generous sponsorships, especially Wantz Distributing/ Budweiser, Conservit, M&T Bank and First Data. Special thanks also to Phoenix Color for its in-kind donation of printing services for our gorgeous posters and rack cards featuring artist Mike O'Brien's appealing artwork, as well as to US Cellular for sponsoring T-shirt giveaways and crowd-pleasing beads.

Thanks, too, to Pepsi's hardworking crew, who kept us hydrated in Saturday's heat, and to East Washington Street property owner Jason Goldberg, for graciously donating his property's rear parking lot for much-needed extra festival space. MHA Audio's sound mixing was simply superb.

Shout-outs are especially due to Team Blues Fest members David Fitzwater and Todd Bolton for excellent stage management and performer hospitality, to Cindy Garland for our Web site's new radio-style podcast interviews, to Eric Hastings for podcast engineering and for making our Web site the best ever, to Kirk Stiles for excellent fundraising, and to Eric Deike and Jim Bender for dedicated logistics work.

Thanks also to Volunteer Coordinators Willie Weakfall and Peggy Hutson for organizing our great cadre of event volunteers. As always, Team Blues Fest's "secret weapon" is Karen Giffin, who, with her staff, works tirelessly behind the scenes. And we can't forget being blessed with the sunny personality of event emcee Larry "B.".

Our diverse musical program - including the righteous gospel blues of The Campbell Brothers, the spellbinding jams of Charlie Hunter Trio, the powerful vocals of Nora Jean Bruso and the jaw-dropping guitar skills of Joe Bonamassa (just to name a few!) - surely proved that the blues' musical "tent" is indeed very large, and there is something there to suit almost any popular musical taste.

If you want to re-ive the excitement of Blues Fest 2007, visit our photo gallery at www.blues-fest.org or check out The Herald-Mail's extensive photo collection at http://herald-mail.mycapture.com/mycapture/folder.asp?event=280867. Please use our Web site to share your Blues Fest 2007 memories, to suggest a future musical guest, or to tell us how we can improve. We're always listening!

Until Blues Fest 2008, keep the faith, celebrate community and cherish the blues!

Carl W. Disque
Founder/ Event Chair
Western Maryland Blues Fest

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