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Savoy Brown draws fans to Blues Fest

May 30, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- Some blues lovers played air guitars and danced without rhythm as hundreds of others sat placidly in fold-up chairs listening to bands Friday during the second day of the 13th annual Western Maryland Blues Fest.

The crowd erupted into applause when Jimmy Thackery began to play a deafening cover of Jimi Hendrix's version of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

"It's a great place, great music and good people," said John Rupp, who drove an hour and 45 minutes from Seven Valleys, Pa., with his friends to attend Blues Fest. "It's not 'American Idol.' It's the real deal."

Rupp said he has attended four Blues Fests, and went Friday primarily to hear legendary blues rockers Savoy Brown. In 1974, Rupp said he and his buddies drove a Ford Pinto from Pennsylvania to Denver to see the band.

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"We had a great time," he said.

In addition to being struck by the music, Rupp said he was impressed by Savoy Brown guitarist Kim Simmonds, whom he has spoken with on three occasions.

"He's very personable," Rupp said. "He let me hold his handmade guitar. I was on cloud nine that night."

Rupp and several other members of the audience praised Hagerstown city officials and the Blues Fest Committee for staging the event.

"They don't do anything like this up in Pennsylvania," Rupp said. "We get jazz and metal."

Doug Smith of Keyser, W.Va., said he comes to Blues Fest every year.

"I like everything," Smith said. "I like the City of Hagerstown ... the atmosphere ... the hospitality. I would hate to see it end."

Like Rupp, Smith said he attended Friday night's show to see Savoy Brown.

"They're internationally known," Smith said. "I just enjoy it. It's just easy-listening music."

The Blues Fest Committee does a "top-notch job" bringing well-known acts to the Tri-State area, Smith said.

Hagerstown residents Bobby Rutherford and Anita Delauney agreed.

Besides the music, Rutherford and Delauney said they enjoy meeting people from all over the country who attend Blues Fest every year.

"It's cool," Delauney said. "You can meet them and have fun. We'll keep coming."

Schedule of events



Today -- Downtown House Party

City Central Lot. $35 in advance, $40 at the gate. $7 admission for children 6 to 12 years old. Free for children 5 and younger. Gates open at 11 a.m. IDs required.

· Bud Light Stage

Noon to 1 p.m. -- Flat Foot Sam and the Educated Fools

2 to 3 p.m. -- Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials

4 to 5:15 p.m. -- Bettye LaVette

6:30 to 8 p.m. -- Scofield, Medeski & Deitch

· Budweiser Stage

1 to 2 p.m. -- The Blue Sky Traffic

3 to 4:00 p.m. -- Nappy Brown

5:15 to 6:30 p.m. -- Charlie Musselwhite

8 to 9:30 p.m. -- Buckwheat Zydeco

Sunday -- Family Blues Picnic

· City Park Bandshell, free admission

Noon to 12:45 p.m. -- The Bobby Flurie Band

1 to 2 p.m. -- Eric Byrd Trio + 4

2:15 to 3:30 p.m. -- Nora Jean Bruso

3:45 to 5 p.m. -- Guitar Shorty

· Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, City Park

1 to 1:45 p.m. -- Guitar Shorty (lecture/demo/workshop)

Noon to 1 p.m. and 2 to 3 p.m. -- Smithsburg High School Jazz Ensemble

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