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items tagged with LeClaire Park

What Next for Blues Fest? Optimism for Next Year Ignores Long-Term Funding Challenges for the MVBS
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Mississippi Valley Blues Festival

2015-07-23 11:41:00

The announcement came 10 days after the final notes of the 2015 Mississippi Valley Blues Festival should have filled LeClaire Park: There would be no 2015 Mississippi Valley Blues Festival.

Citing financial difficulties, on July 15 the Mississippi Valley Blues Society (MVBS) said that it had canceled the festival. This followed a decision in February to move the blues fest from its traditional Independence Day weekend to the Labor Day weekend, and to reduce it from three days to two – changes designed to lessen the chance the event would be flooded out of LeClaire Park, to give the blues society the opportunity to raise more money, and to cut costs. The board was sharply divided on both the date-change and cancellation votes.

There are several cruel ironies here.

The cancellation comes a year after the Blues Foundation honored the festival with a Keeping the Blues Alive award for U.S. festivals, citing the Quad Cities event as “one of the longest-running, most-prestigious blues festivals in the world.”

And there was no Fourth of July flooding in LeClaire Park this year, and the weather was rain-free and just about perfect. Had the festival happened at its normal time – as it had for the past 30 years – the MVBS would very likely have shored up its financial position significantly. “It would have been the best weather we’ve had in 16 years,” said MVBS Board Member Ric Burris.

Instead, the organization now faces an existential crisis. Will the MVBS be able to put on a festival next year – as its president and many board members hope to? How will the group rebuild its board and fundraising efforts in the wake of this year’s cancellation? And would a Mississippi Valley Blues Society without the blues fest be a shell of its former self – or could it perhaps be a stronger organization more focused on its education programs and smaller concerts?


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Natural Flexibility: Los Lonely Boys, August 16 at River Roots Live
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2014-08-07 11:57:51

Los Lonely Boys. Photo by Gabriella McSwann.

For the fact that Los Lonely Boys are around to headline this year’s River Roots Live festival, some people might thank God – and the trio of brothers Garza certainly does that. But bassist/singer JoJo also thanked his brother Henry’s pliability.

“I think it would’ve killed anybody else,” JoJo said of Henry’s horrific fall from a stage in February 2013. “I would have been dead. ... From the moment he fell in the hole, I thought it was completely over. ...

“We give a lot of thanks for Henry’s natural ability to be very flexible as part of the reason why he didn’t just crunch in half there.”

But Henry’s recovery has been slow. “Quite honestly,” JoJo said in a phone interview last week, “he’s not 100 percent still, and a lot of people don’t know that. ...


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Art in Plain Sight: LeClaire Park Bandshell and Bix Sculpture
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Art

Category: Feature Stories

2013-08-23 11:29:38

Photo by Bruce Walters

Fifty years ago – on August 23, 1963 – approximately 2,000 people gathered at the LeClaire Park bandshell for a civil-rights rally that served as a warm-up for the national March on Washington. Twenty-eight local delegates who would participate in the historic march were introduced. They would hear Martin Luther King Jr. deliver his “I Have a Dream” speech in the nation’s capital five days later.

This was by no means the only rally at the bandshell. George W. Bush, for example, gave a campaign speech on its stage in 2004. Barack Obama spoke there three years later.

The bandshell has also served as center stage for numerous annual events –including the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, River Roots Live, the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival, and the Quad City Symphony Orchestra’s Riverfront Pops concert. Past performers on the stage include Greg Brown, Albert Collins, Blue Öyster Cult, Buddy Guy, Little Feat, Los Lobos, The Marshall Tucker Band, and – this past weekend – the Wallflowers.

The bandshell’s official name is the W.D. Petersen Memorial Music Pavilion. It was built in 1924 as a memorial to his daughter Wilma, who had died the previous year at the age of 38. Petersen paid for the pavilion’s construction himself.


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Photos from River Roots Live, August 16 and 17 in LeClaire Park
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2013-08-22 15:34:08

Photos from River Roots Live, held August 16 and 17 in Davenport’s LeClaire Park.

For more work by Matt Erickson, visit MRE-Photography.com. For more from Roberta Osmers on the Quad Cities music scene, visit OfTechAndMusic.Blogspot.com.

Vintage Trouble

Photo by Matt Erickson, MRE-Photography.com


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Looking at the Greater Whole: The Wallflowers Headline River Roots Live, August 17 at 9:30 p.m.
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2013-08-07 17:53:08

On paper, the Wallflowers’ 2012 album Glad All Over has the whiff of trying to recapture past glories.

It was the band’s first album of new material in seven years, a hiatus that included a rote best-of compilation, a couple tours, and two solo albums by frontman/songwriter Jakob Dylan.

But talking to Dylan last week – and, more importantly, listening to the album – it’s clear that the band and its leader aren’t crassly trying to capitalize on fondness for the quadruple-platinum Bringing Down the Horse (and its chart-topping single, “One Headlight”) from 1996. As the All Music Guide correctly summarized, with Glad All Over the Wallflowers “now feel the freedom to mess around, and they’ve come up with one of their loosest, liveliest records that not-so-coincidentally is one of their best.”

So the long absence of the Wallflowers – headlining River Roots Live on August 17 – can be explained by Dylan wanting the band to survive and thrive. He obviously views it as his band – less in the sense of belonging to him than being his primary musical outlet.


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