Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Blues Blogging

As a show of support for the International Blues Challenge that we spotlighted last week, Chuck Porter of WEVL fame is posting updates here from the IBC, one of this city's signature music events.

Here's the latest as the Blues Challenge is poised to begin in earnest:

Jan. 30, 8:30 p.m.

The Blues Foundation office was successfully relocated. We have taken over a big suite in the Doubletree Hotel in preparation for the big day tomorrow.

More volunteers arrived today from Eureka Springs, Chicago, Pennsylvania, and Chattanooga. Speaking with the out-of-towners, they all said that the Doubletree had sold out of rooms in two hours when they were released last fall.

It seems the major work for the contest itself has been taken care of. We had a lot of people folding shirts today. This was the first year that I can remember that we all had time to take lunch and grab a burger.

I have to admit that with any of these events, the stories that are told in a circle are the most fun. Everyone either runs a festival or volunteers at the festivals in their area. Today the talk focused on the various people that had been in past International Blues Competitions and where they were today.

Then THE question was mentioned: What is blues? The table got quiet and everybody asked for the tab. We don’t talk religion, politics or “What is blues.”

Tonight, the Grizzlies hosted sets with Aunt Kizzy’z Boyz playing in the arena. Matt Wigler (13 years old) and Matt Aubin played the Lexus Lounge and Ben Prestage’s one man band played in the lobby.

We received incredible feedback from the FedExForum staff and the staff of the Grizzlies. If these artist are any indication of what’s in store, WOW!

On my walk back to the parking garage, I stopped in a few places on Beale. Several clubs were featuring various blues showcases but other than that a fairly slow night on the street.

By this time tomorrow night, there will be more blues on Beale Street than anytime in its history. There’s only been mention of a couple of ‘no shows’ so we’re talking 158 bands.

We, the blues people, are ready. I hope that we get as much respect from the “Home of the Blues” as we are getting from the world of blues. Stay tuned!