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Blues bash cures cabin fever, gets fans ready for summer festival

March 07, 2013|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • Dustin Arbuckle wails on harmonica and Aaron Moreland plays guitar Thursday night during the Cabin Fever Blues Bash at The Maryland Theatre in downtown Hagerstown. The annual bash is a prelude to the summer's Western Maryland Blues Fest.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — The foot-stomping, hard-driving sounds of Moreland & Arbuckle filled The Maryland Theatre on Thursday night as Western Maryland Blues Fest organizers began pumping up local blues fans and getting them ready for the upcoming blues festival in Hagerstown.

Thursday night’s Cabin Fever Blues Bash is intended to raise awareness and money for the festival, which will be celebrating its 18th year in its May 30 through June 2 run.

There are many parts to the fundraising for the festival and this year’s goal is to raise $90,000, said Karen Giffin, the city’s community affairs manager. Giffin said 71 percent of the goal has been reached.

The fundraising pays for many parts of the festival, such as the money needed to pay performers and money for marketing, Giffin said.

Sponsors of the festival can choose different levels of financial support for the event, including the Platinum Blues Club, which is reserved for those who donate at least $10,000.

General admission tickets of $10 were sold for Thursday’s show. Giffin said she expected 600 to 700 people to attend.

Thursday night’s show had all the regular trappings of the Western Maryland Blues Fest experience, such as the ever-energetic emcee Larry B.

“Hello!” Larry B yelled out to the crowd.
The crowd responded but it wasn’t loud enough for Larry B.

“Aw man. Let’s try it again because you all got some energy somewhere,” Larry B said.

Carl W. Disque, founder and event chair of the festival, was relieved as he welcomed the crowd to a “snowless night.”

Weather forecasters had said that Hagerstown might get up to a foot of snow Wednesday and Giffin said organizers of the Cabin Fever Blues Bash were busy making preparations for the show Tuesday to make sure that the theater was ready for Moreland and Arbuckle, who traveled to the city from Kansas.

Hagerstown only ended up getting 2.7 inches of snow.

Blues lovers of all types showed up for Thursday’s show, including Karin Christensen of Boonsboro. Christensen said she usually attends the blues fest and the Cabin Fever Blues Bash and she remarked how wonderful it is that the festival is heading into its 18th year.

“The blues fest is one of the best things that Hagerstown has done for the population,” Christensen said.

Hagerstown residents Rick High and Carol Nilsson said they continue to search out blues artists in the Tri-State area through the winter months, long after the blues festival. Although High said a lot of big-name blues artists tour in the deep south in the winter, there are a lot of good local acts in the region.

“We definitely have Cabin Fever,” Nilsson said.

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