Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Rain Couldn't Dampen Soul or Rhythm at Blues Festival; despite Stormy Weather, Thousands Still Gathered for the Music

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Rain Couldn't Dampen Soul or Rhythm at Blues Festival; despite Stormy Weather, Thousands Still Gathered for the Music

Article excerpt

Byline: PAUL PINKHAM

JACKSONVILLE BEACH - Springing the Blues organizer Sam Veal says part of the success of the annual festival lies with the music itself and its appeal to all age groups.

One needed to look no farther Sunday afternoon than Martha Arnold to find the truth in that statement.

At 83 years young, Arnold stood midway between the beer tent and the girl with the pink hair while she swayed to the Mississippi Delta blues sound of festival headliner Michael Burks.

"I love that loud music," Arnold said, her voice barely audible over Burks' smokin' hot electric guitar. "It's like my church music. It makes me happy."

And though stormy skies might have dampened crowd estimates this weekend, they weren't about to keep Arnold away. For the past four years, she said she's made her children drive her to the festival every year from her home in Carrollton, Ga., west of Atlanta.

"I can't get enough of it," she exclaimed.

In 18 years, Springing the Blues has grown from a one-day festival along the boardwalk to three days of music on two stages. It's become one of Jacksonville's signature events. With associated activities like a 5K run and the Surfing the Blues competition, Springing the Blues bills itself as Florida's largest free outdoor music festival.

Veal, a passionate blues lover, said the festival owes its success to support from the community, the volunteers and an indigenous form of American music that touches people of all ages, races and social classes.

The sounds Sunday ranged from the introspective acoustic Piedmont blues of Paul Rishell and Annie Raines to the up-tempo horn-influenced jump blues of the Legendary J.C.'s from Orlando.

"It's a reflection of who we are and what we are," Veal said as Eric Lindell and his band played Louisiana swamp boogie blues nearby on the west stage along Second Street.

The musicians have contributed to the success, too, not just with their talent but also with their love for what they do, Veal said. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.