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items tagged with Mississippi Valley Blues Society

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?


Read More About What Next For Blues Fest? Optimism For Next Year Ignores Long-Term Funding Challenges For The MVBS...


Photos from the 2013 Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, July 4-6 in Downtown Davenport
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Mississippi Valley Blues Festival

2013-07-10 02:45:25

Photos from the 2013 Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, held July 4 through 6 in downtown Davenport.

Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Photo by Matt Erickson, MRE-Photography.com

Mighty Sam McClain. Photo by Matt Erickson, MRE-Photography.com


Read More About Photos From The 2013 Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, July 4-6 In Downtown Davenport...


Complete 2013 Blues Fest Coverage: Schedule, Ticket Info, President's Welcome, and More!
Written By: Administrator
Section: Music

Category: Mississippi Valley Blues Festival

2013-06-27 12:00:09

After the River Cities’ Reader’s official guide to the 2013 Mississippi Valley Blues Festival went to press, the Mississippi Valley Blues Society announced that the festival was being moved from LeClaire Park to Second Street in downtown Davenport because of flooding:

Mississippi Valley Blues Festival organizers have finalized the site for the July 4-6 event in downtown Davenport. The 29th Mississippi Valley Blues Festival will take place on Second Street. Bandshell acts will perform on an east-facing stage near Ripley Street. Tent Stage acts will perform in the courtyard area just east of the River Music Experience at Second and Main. BlueSKool will be held on the River Music Experience’s Community Stage, and workshops and the photo exhibit will be held in the River Music Experience’s upstairs Exhibit Hall.


Read More About Complete 2013 Blues Fest Coverage: Schedule, Ticket Info, President's Welcome, And More!...


2013 Blues Fest – Playing It by Ear: Kenny Wayne Shepherd (Saturday, July 6, 11 p.m., Bandshell)
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Mississippi Valley Blues Festival

2013-06-27 11:59:28

If you’re an amateur guitarist hoping to turn pro, particularly one with an affinity for blues rock, you could certainly choose lesser talents to emulate than Kenny Wayne Shepherd. The 37-year-old musician, after all, has been already nominated for five Grammy Awards, has won two Blues Music Awards and two Billboard Music Awards, and was once named the world’s third-finest blues guitarist by Guitar World magazine, with only B.B. King and Eric Clapton ranking higher.

If, however, you’re an amateur guitarist who feels that the world of professional music will forever be out of reach due to your inability to actually read music, don’t let that dissuade you from following your dream. It turns out that Kenny Wayne Shepherd doesn’t read music, either.

“Yeah, I still play by ear,” says Shepherd, who unofficially began his career as a self-taught guitarist at the tender age of seven. “I used to have to sound songs out one note at a time until I got from the beginning to the end of it. It was kind of a tedious process in the beginning, but you know, it’s gotten easier over the years. Modern technology is a big help now, because I can just record things on my iPhone, but yeah – I just play what sounds good, and then I just have to remember it.”


Read More About 2013 Blues Fest – Playing It By Ear: Kenny Wayne Shepherd (Saturday, July 6, 11 P.M., Bandshell)...


2013 Blues Fest – “If I Don’t Sing, I Die”: Mighty Sam McClain (Friday, July 5, 11 p.m., Bandshell)
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Mississippi Valley Blues Festival

2013-06-27 11:58:47

“Anyway, that’s just some of the stuff,” the soul-blues singer Mighty Sam McClain said to me in a recent phone interview. “You’re a good listener.”

He’d been talking, nonstop, for 31 minutes, responding to the simplest of opening questions: “What have you been up to?” After the compliment he paid me, he chattered for another 39 minutes, with just a few questions to prompt him.

Admittedly, the man has a lot to talk about.

He left his home in Louisiana at age 13 to escape an abusive stepfather. “He hit me a couple times,” McClain said. “He hit me in the head with a hammer. Once. Then he hit me with a walking stick. So I was getting ready to kill him. I really was. He was a hunter. And there were guns all over the house. ... I thought about doing it.”

Instead, he said, “I crawled out the window, and I didn’t look back.”

He then hooked up with Little Melvin Underwood, initially as a roadie and by age 15 – in the late 1950s – as a singer.


Read More About 2013 Blues Fest – “If I Don’T Sing, I Die”: Mighty Sam McClain (Friday, July 5, 11 P.M., Bandshell)...





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