Blues Fest boasts an international lineup

June 01, 2011|By DAN DEARTH |
  • Western Maryland Blues Fest Executive Committee Chair Carl W. Disque talks about this year's festival Wednesday at a press conference held on Wednesday morning.
By Yvette May/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — With some of the acts hailing from Serbia and Britain, organizers of the Western Maryland Blues Fest promise that this year’s event will bring the largest international lineup ever.

Carl Disque, founder and chairman of the Western Maryland Blues Fest, said during a news conference Wednesday at City Hall in Hagerstown that although many of the acts aren’t famous, they’re up-and-comers who someday might be the most notable names in blues.

“If you come in with an open mind and open ears and a sense of discovery, you’re really going to enjoy this lineup,” Disque said.

The 16th Annual Western Maryland Blues Fest will begin in downtown Hagerstown at 5 p.m. Thursday and run through Sunday, when the last act will play at City Park.

Yugoslavian-born guitar player Ana Popovic will headline Friday’s show. British bluesman Matt Schofield — who some critics have dubbed the heir apparent to Eric Clapton — will take the stage at 4 p.m. Saturday. Davy Knowles and Back Door Slam will wrap up Saturday night’s events when they play from 8 to 9:30.

Blues Fest also will have a children’s area, with four harmonica workshops on Saturday and Sunday.

Tom Riford, president and chief executive officer of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said Blues Fest brings an estimated $2.5 million to the community through hotel reservations, food sales and other business.

He said national media coverage of the event has helped put Hagerstown on the map.

“Blues Fest has become our marquee event,” he said.

The Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission distributed 1,000 Blues Fest tickets to growing companies to help promote Hagerstown as a place to expand their businesses, Riford said.

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said Blues Fest has matured from just a few acts when it started in the mid-1990s to a globally-recognized event.

“No one ever thought it would grow to his magnitude,” he said. “We’re going to have a lot of fun. Don’t miss it.”



Western Maryland Blues Fest 

  • Thursday, 5 to 7 p.m., University Plaza at 50 W. Washington St. (free)
  • Friday, 4:30 to 9:45 p.m., Central Parking Lot on North Potomac Street ($20 in advance, $25 at the gate)
  • Saturday, noon to 9:30 p.m., Central Parking Lot on North Potomac Street ($35 in advance, $40 at the gate)
  • Sunday, noon to 3:45 p.m., City Park (free)

For more information:

For more information about the Western Maryland Blues Fest, including a performers gallery, a full schedule and Twitter updates, go to the Blues Fest page. 

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