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Musicians rock crowd over weekend (at Silver City Blues Festival)
Written by C.P. Thompson on May 28, 2019
Each musician who stepped up into Gough Park's gazebo for the 24th annual Blues Festival over the weekend was welcomed by thousands of people who were spread out in the area.
The Mimbres Region Arts Council's Blues Festival lineup featured nine performances from Friday evening to Sunday. Folks enjoyed the music from their lawn chairs in the cool grass with food in their hands, while others danced right below the gazebo.
Albuquerque's The Rudy Boy Experiment kicked off the festival Friday. Then heading into Saturday afternoon, Silver City's Amos Torres warmed up the crowd before the Chris Dracup Trio from Albuquerque was next onstage.
"This festival has a lot of history," said Dracup, who has played at the Blues Festival before. "People seem to really support it."
The Laurie Morvan Band, which came all the way from Los Angeles, performed next.
"Thank you, Silver City," Morvan said at the end of her performance. "You guys are awesome."
But Morvan wasn't done with the crowd. She later signed CDs, posed for photos and gave out free hugs to the fans. This was her first time in Silver City and she said it's "gorgeous."
"The fans here are wonderful," she said. "It's a great atmosphere here."
While the music played throughout the park, folks made their way through dozens of vendors. There were several types of food to choose from, like pulled pork sandwiches or something cooler such as ice cream from The Mint Chip. Underneath a large canopy, some people relaxed in the shade and sipped a beverage provided by Little Toad Creek Brewery and Distillery.
Some people went home with clothing and jewelry as well. Morning Star was selling Blues Festival T-shirts and bags, while another vendor kept it groovy with tie-dyed shirts.
Ruidoso's Moose Caboose Express, a trackless train, kept kids — and adults — entertained by driving around Gough Park. Paradox Traveling Art, a mobile art installation by artist Laura Turon, was new to this year's Blues Festival.
Scott and Barbara Lyford came from San Antonio, Texas, and this was their second time at the Silver City Blues Festival.
"The people are friendly." Scott said. "And it's a nice crowd," Barbara said."
Merilyn and Marvin Wafer, out of Albuquerque, have been to the Blues Festival before.
"The venue is unbelievable," Marvin said.
"We love coming down here," Merilyn said. "It's music about life. It's something everyone can relate to."
She pointed out different ethnicities and ages at the Blues Festival.
Marvin was excited to see Felix y Los Gatos, who are also from Albuquerque, on Sunday.
"They are really good and unique," he said of the band.
Guitar Shorty and, later, Grady Champion also played Saturday. The other two performers Sunday were Roman Barten-Sherman, 16, and Brody Buster from Lawrence, Kan.
Kevin Lenkner, MRAC executive director, told the Daily Press he estimates between 6,000 and 8,000 people came over the course of the weekend. He said this year's festival was "definitely better than last year."
"Despite some weather issues on Sunday, everybody seemed to be happy with the event," Lenkner said. "The park was more full this year than it was last year. The audience was unfazed by the wind gust. Vendors and staff — we had some challenges."
As far as money raised for the Blues Festival, there was an increase from previous years.
"From the preliminary counts, we are slightly increased … maybe because there are more people," Lenkner said. "Donations and raffle tickets are about 10 percent of the total budget for the festival."
While next year's Silver City Blues Festival will be 25 years, MRAC still needs support to make it happen.
"We have to definitely take a look at where we end up, financially speaking," he said. "We hope we can put something together for the 25th anniversary. But we are going to need help. The festival is outgrowing the capacity of the Arts Council and we look forward to partnering with more businesses and volunteer groups to make it happen. We want to do something special for the 25th and we are brainstorming ideas for that."
Lenkner thanked the volunteers, the town of Silver City and event sponsors for helping with the Blues Festival.
"We look forward to that cooperation in the future," he said.
C.P. Thompson may be reached at cp@scdaily press.com.