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Happy Ending

August 19, 2010 - Phyllis Sigal

I can't believe BluesFest has come and gone for another year.

My favorite part of the weekend is saying goodbye to that steady stream of blues lovers filing out around 10:30 or 11 on Sunday night.

No, not because the weekend (and weeks preceding the fest itself) are so much work. And it's finally over.

But because I have an overwhelming feeling that this festival has made all those people happy for the past three days.

There are lots of new faces each year in that stream and lots of faces I've seen year after year. Some, I'll see on the streets or Wheeling or at the grocery store. Many, I only see this one weekend a year.

We wave goodbye. We say our thank yous: them for the weekend of "award-winning blues." Me, for all of them coming.

I love the feeling, the camaraderie of those in attendance. Most of the people are just happy to be here. They are in love with the blues.

Some will come rain or shine, despite the oppressive humidity or threat of storm. I am still amazed at those who arrived Saturday evening and paid their money, with the storm clouds looming, as many others rushed to their cars in case the sky let loose.

I am so grateful to those who have come for all 10 years! Thank you! I love that blues lovers come from all over the country and beyond to experience Heritage Music BluesFest.

And I'm just as grateful to the Ohio Valley residents who have supported the festival over the years, and to area residents who came for the first time this year. (You'll be back, you know.)

Thanks to so many who volunteered their time this year to help with the festival; your support is invaluable. Thanks to those who gave up three days of their lives to pour beer or guard the gate or sell tickets, T-shirts or CDs. Thanks to my kids, Leland and Amanda, who make time in their busy lives to devote themselves to this weekend, helping to continue to make their dad's dream a reality.

Thanks to the local businesses who where hospitable to the weekend blues fans. River City did a great job with the AfterJams and a Saturday BluesBrunch. Later and The Bridge also did a great job serving breakfast during the weekend. And the McLure staff is just amazing.

I am so pleased with the vendors we round up each year, both food and "stuff" vendors. I keep hearing how great the crab cakes  and the grilled chicken salads were!

Thanks, also, to those who talk up the festival throughout the year, and tell their friends that this is a weekend not to be missed.

But I guess the biggest thank you goes to the blues musicians themselves. Without all of you, we'd have no festival to create and no festival to go to!

As I go back to my regular life, sitting behind my keyboard each day, I'll hold that feeling in my heart — that feeling I get each year, waving good bye and saying thanks to everyone, exhausted, happy and filled with all that the blues fills us with.

Until next year, then. See you next August!



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