The Nanaimo Blues Society was excited to host their 8th annual “Summertime Blues” festival at Maffeo Sutton Park. The festival, spread over three days August 23-25, showcased talent from across Canada, as well as an act from Oregon.
Nanaimo Blues Society president Gerold Haukenfrers said the group is dedicated to bringing the blues to Nanaimo and hopes to broaden the demographic the music appeals to.
Haukenfrers said this years line up was exceptional. The line up consisted of many different styles of the genre and included local names such as David Gogo, 13 year old Ian Perry, as well as Oregon’s Lloyd Jones, and many more. Haukenfrers said that the turnout was good despite the bad weather they faced on the second day.
Haukenfrers said that the main goal behind the event is “to have a good time and build a world class festival.” He said that they did not want it to get bigger, just better. Haukenfrers said that the volunteers were critical in the event going smoothly, and that they had been excellent. He said that the planning for 2014’s festival would be underway as soon as this year’s event finished.
The atmosphere was lively as people were dancing along to Rumba Calzada, the first band to play the final day.
Attendee and blues fan Vivian Johnson was enjoying the music with her seven-year-old granddaughter Victoria. Johnson, attending the festival for her third time, said that the event has become a family tradition. She said the experience is wonderful. “You come once and you want to come again,” she said.
Victoria was just as happy to be there and said she likes to come “because it’s fun and I love the music.” She also added that she couldn’t wait to see Uncle Wiggly’s Hot Shoes Blues band.
This year the festival was part of a pilot project in which the venue was host to an open beer garden. The festival was held in a fenced off area where only ticket holders could access. Once in the venue alcohol could be purchased and was allowed anywhere inside the venue.
This was the second time this has been done in the province. One of the men doing security said they had not had a single alcohol-related issue over the weekend and that everyone seemed to want to have fun and dance.