From the President of the Blues Society of WNY on the 2015 Buffalo Niagara Blues Festival
Another great blues festival! Our second annual Blues Festival doubled attendance from last year with over 5,000! The mission of the Blues Society of WNY is to preserve and support Blues Music through educational endeavors and promotional events, and nowhere has that mission been better addressed than at Silo City on July 11, 2015.
As you entered the site, our education booth displayed artwork from Blues in the Schools (BITS) events and showcased talented young musicians reached by our BITS program. Fran Denk has done an amazing job with the program and talented youth entertained us between festival acts. The youth is our future and, if this is any indication, the future of the blues is solid. All profits from this festival will help us to continue our programs such as Blues in the Schools, AmJam, Blue Thursdays, our new Mentor Program and other support programs for the future of the blues.
As we make our way to the stage, we are greeted by an assortment of vendors, with a widely varied selection of food and merchandise, from hot dogs to crawfish to alligator meat, and from jewelry to natural dog treats. Of course, there was ample cold beverage available to beat the heat.
As president of the Blues Society of WNY, and a committee member, I had firsthand knowledge of all the hard work that went into producing this festival. I can’t say enough about the dedication of our Committee Chair, Chuck Laedke. He gave so much time and talent to this festival, much more than we could have asked for. He was assisted by a very active committee, Kim Alessi, Nancy Remington, Kathy Meihs, Fran Denk, Adrienne Thompson, Jack McArdle and me. We also had the support of over 150 volunteers, organized by Adrienne. Without this committee and all of our volunteers, we wouldn’t have been able to do it.
Most important are our sponsors and the folks who bought ads in our program book. It takes a lot of money to put on a show like this and we depend on sponsors, ads and vendor fees to pay the talent and rent all the equipment we need. Our biggest sponsor was the Erie Canal Harbor Development Grant administered by Arts Services Initiative. We also had a lot of help as in-kind donation by Raging Wolf for the stage, Avalon printing for all our banners, WBFO for advertising and Colton RV supplied an air conditioned RV backstage use. The Niagara Falls Bridge Commission, GFY, Georgetown Capitol, Morris Masonry Restoration, M/E Engineering, TryIt and Labatt provided financial assistance to get this off the ground. Without our sponsors, this never would have happened. Most importantly, without YOU it wouldn’t happen.
I hope you enjoyed the festival this year, and look forward to seeing you again next year.
President, Blues Society of WNY