ArticleID: 148
Date: 6/15/2002
Written By: Captain Jackson

by Captain Jackson

The First Annual JACKSON BLUES FESTIVAL was a success thanks to the efforts of The Jackson Area Blues Society as well as the support of John Kuhl and Kuhl`s Farmer`s Market who provided their parking lot free gratis. And it appears that another such performance may happen at Kuhl`s during this year`s SUMMERFEST (check the JXN Michigan Calendar of Events for an update, as well as other events going on in Jackson).

The event was held Saturday, June 8th. The event began shortly after noon with many craft vendors on hand and a motorcycle show. The Music began at 3:00pm with MOJO PHOENIX. Throughout the day they were followed up by JOHNNY REED & THE HOUSE ROCKERS, the AUTOMATIC BLUES BAND and the MARK ARSHAK BAND. MOJO PHOENIX was again on stage at the end and was suddenly whisked off to the stage of Bella Notte` for another star performance.

During the afternoon, Tom and Kim Sherwood of Brooklyn were cruising around town on their Harley looking for something to do. They rumbled past the crowd and decided to investigate.

"We had no idea anything like this was going on," Tom said. "We were looking for something to do and ended up here. This is great."

And though at any time the average presence was around 300, many people came and went bringing the total attendance to around 1200 people. Few free events in Jackson (with the exception of CRUISE NIGHTS) could boast such a crowd, especially during a "first annual" performance.

To quote the event program:

"Cindy Hayden and a handful of local Blues music fans Founded the JACKSON AREA BLUES SOCIETY in mid 2001. It was our goal to bring a greater awareness of, and accessibility to Blues performers in the Jackson county, Michigan area. It sometimes seems an impossible task with so many clubs and bars succumbing to the karaoke phenomenon. Another disturbing recent trend has been toward "sports" bars, which were already too common but are a cheap way to go for bar owners. Both of these approaches make it harder and harder for working musicians to reach an audience. The local community`s few public performance spaces have been largely occupied by knock-off country music cover bands which recreate all the top 40 hits with varying degrees of competence. There has been, seemingly, little room for originality, vision and creativity outside of this narrow path."

As a longtime Blues lover, I couldn`t put it better. Up to now, Blues fans from Jackson have had to make the trip to Lansing or Kalamazoo to enjoy this superior form of music. Fortunately, establishments such as The Red Moose Inn, Daryl`s Downtown and Belle Notte` have understood the need for such unique entertainment in Jackson and taken the risk to invest interest in it. And the risk they`ve taken has certainly paid off! If you wish a good seat in any of these places when a band like MOJO PHOENIX appears, you`d better get there early!

To learn more about Blues in Jackson, CLICK:
Jackson Area Blues Society, or write:

Jackson Area Blues Society
6549 North Sandstone Road
Jackson, MI 49201

To see pictures of this event go to the photo galleries of: Jackson Michigan Community Events and Jackson People.

Copyright 2002, CFC

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