I am truly astounded. A small group of very hard working friends came up with a dream, and made the dream a reality. The dream was to create a blues festival – the first Buffalo Niagara Blues Festival. The reality was that the festival was a great success.
I am truly honored to have worked with these extraordinary people over the past year. I cannot begin to describe the trials, pitfalls, hurdles, and obstacles that fall in the path of such an endeavor, but it is even harder to describe the dedication of the team that overcame each and every one of these challenges.
The festival was an enormous success, and when the numbers are tallied, I believe we will have raised enough money to increase our Blues in the Schools budget, do more to promote local blues acts and venues, plan for next year’s event, and perhaps plan for additional events. I sincerely hope that we have accomplished a goal far more important and more valuable that funds raised – awareness of what we do and how valuable the people that help us are. We need to grow the ranks of people involved with our organization far more that we need to raise money.
Having said that, I want to thank everyone on our committee –Kim Alessi, Nancy Remington, Kathy Miehs, and Daria Sterner. Most importantly, I need to thank our Festival Chair, Chuck Laedke. His experience with this type of event, and his boundless energy and enthusiasm are the reason this event was possible. Without Chuck, we would not have had a festival. The Blues Society and the blues community in Western New York owe him an enormous debt of gratitude.
I’d also like to thank Adrienne Thompson, Karl Reifschneider, Anita West, Stan Levine, Sandra Verge, Shelley Lewandowski, Joanne and Dan Drodzak Fran Denk, Sid Alfasso, Cecil Davis, Sharon Schneider, Sue Sherman, Diane Decker, Meg Covert, Kathy Hall-Zientek and John Calderella, and of course the countless volunteers that all worked so hard.
We also need to thank the people in our community that believed and trusted us enough to invest in our dream – our sponsors. Most notably the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation and Arts Services Initiatives, whose grants allowed us to proceed with a free concert. Also our major sponsor Armor Inn Entertainment, and our exclusive Media Sponsor WBFO 88.7, as well as the Seneca Casinos, Georgetown Capital, Northtown Automotive, and Buffalo River History Tours.
Thanks – and we’ll see ya next year!
President, Blues Society of Western New York