Weather cooperates for blues fest

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David Minton/DRC
After Friday’s rain, the skies cleared for blues fans to enjoy beautiful weather Saturday for the first day of the Denton Blues Festival. The free festival continues today at Quakertown Park.
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Crowds were ready to get their groove on as soon as the 15th annual Denton Blues Festival began Saturday afternoon in Quakertown Park.

With temperatures in the low 80s, many people said there really wasn’t a reason to skip this year’s event.

Robin Stevens, who lives mere blocks away from the festival grounds, said the sunshine was calling her name.

“It’s just an absolutely beautiful day today,” she said.

Stevens said she has lived in the city for a little more than a year and attended the Denton Arts & Jazz Festival in April.

“I had so much fun, I wanted to come check out the blues fest, too,” she said.

The allure of the Denton music scene is what keeps people coming, said John Baines, a co-organizer of the Denton Black Chamber of Commerce’s annual festival.

Baines said the blues festival offers something for everyone and that’s why it draws such a diverse crowd.

“It was a needed venue, and groups of different people all come together to enjoy the style, tempo and songs of the blues,” he said.

After 15 years, he still loves being a helping hand and said he will be proud to see the festival grow with the coming years.

“We went from a one-day festival to a two-day,” he said. “Now, to go forward, I would like to start Friday night for a third day.”

Future aspirations, though, would have to go before a board of 20 committee members who help keep the festival alive.

The committee relies on supporters to keep the festival going, and the members appreciate all the incoming contributions to help pay the bills and keep admission free each year, Baines said.

From local sensations to internationally acclaimed musicians, the blues genre is alive and well.

“We have any kind of blues — Mississippi Delta, Chicago, Kansas City, New York City, California — all styles,” Baines said with a smile.

The good music and food are the reasons Lewisville resident Tonishia Qualls came back to the festival.

Qualls said she first attended the festival with her sister when they were both students at Texas Woman’s University and they had “a ton of fun.”

“It was so nice today outside, we had to come out and enjoy the live music,” she said, sitting on a blanket alongside her husband and daughter. “With this down the road to enjoy, why would you stay in?”

With a children’s area and several vendors, the blues festival is a great event for the family, Qualls said.

“It’s like giving a kid ice cream ... if they keep eating it, they must still enjoy it,” Baines said of why festivalgoers keep attending. “So if they keep coming, there is something we are doing right.”

The free festival continues today at 1 p.m. and runs until main act Janiva Magness leaves the stage at about 8:30 p.m.

MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.

 

DENTON BLUES FESTIVAL

When: The festival continues from about 1 to 8:30 p.m. today.

Where: Quakertown Park, 321 E. McKinney St.

Details: Admission is free. Forty vendors will sell concessions and goods.

On the Web: www.dentonblackchamberonline.org

SUNDAY SCHEDULE

Main Stage

1 p.m. — Showcase band

2:30 p.m. — Showcase band

4 p.m. — Larry Lampkin

5:30 p.m. — Elvis T. Busboy

7 p.m. — Janiva Magness

Community Stage: Mr. LB, I-Drenz, Alex Dowidchuk Trio


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