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The 2015 festival is over. What a great day of music! The weather cooperated; it was cloudy but the rains departed and we had a dry day. Right around 2,000 people attended and all of them seemed to have a great time. Thanks to them and all who support live music! See you in 2016! Save the date- August 27, 2016 for the Seventh Annual Crossroads Blues festival at Lyran Park!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

2015 Festival Draws About 2,000 Fans and Is a Huge Success

 The weather very early on Saturday morning was awful.  Torrents of rain fell from the sky and the noise woke me hours before I planed to rise.  Around 8 AM the torrents became a sprinkle and by 9 AM it was essentially done.  The skies remained grey and temperatures only reached the mid 70’s but we took it because the following week temperatures soared.  It was comfortable and about 2,000 blues fans made their way to Lyran Park to appreciate the myriad of sounds presented to them.

 Albert Castiglia headlined; things were about a half hour late by then and Albert ran until after 10 PM with a superb set.  With Matt Shuler on bass and Chris Schnebelen on drums, they are a tight power trio with a ridiculously wonderful sound.  The crowd went wild for them, loving each song and filling the dance area on each song.

Dave Specter made his second appearance at a Crossroads outdoor event.  Sharon Lewis joined him again and Brother John Kattke was on keys and vocals.  The back line was star studded with Harlan Terson on bass and Kenny “Beady Eyes” Smith on drums.  Dave had them on the edge of their seats and up dancing, playing stuff from his great 2014 release Message in Blue.  He mixed up some classics and some of Sharon’s stuff to create a marvelous set of music that was greatly appreciated by the huge crowd.            ]                    

The Mike Wheeler Band put on a funk filled set of Chicago blues that showcased his fine guitar work.  Mike worked the crowd and built things to a frenzy with his stellar axe work.He showed everyone why his band is one of the hottest acts in Chicago!

Stormcellar from Australia is led by the great harp and vocal front man Michael Barry.  Joining him on lead vocals was the six foot chanteuse Jo Fitzgerald; she is an imposing figure on stage who sings sweetly and with great emotion.  Rosie and Mr. Wizard on dual guitars, Theo on drums and the quiet Bill on bass give their roots blues country rock a savory sound that all enjoyed.

Opening the day was Jimmy Nick and Don’t Tell Mama, setting the bar high for the other bands that followed.  Jimmy was great, doing his high energy act for the fans while playing his great blues, rock and rockabilly. Rodney Brown on tenor sax adds a great dimension to Jimmy’s band.

Dan Phelps added his great Delta blues between sets and Justin "Boots" Gate led our harmonica workshop.  I think we sold out of harmonicas!

The great logo design made for some fantastic tee shirts once again.  The teal guitar logos were a big hit and nearly sold out (which we never do) and the alternate hot pink ones did.  We are making a special run of Mardi Gras colored tie dyed shirts to commemorate the event.  Hardtimes Cigar Box Guitars and WNIJ were back.  Just Goods also came in with Fair Trade Items.

The beer was flowing with a great selection of regular and craft beers, ciders, wines, and more.  Food vendors sold out of some items due to the great demand and crowd, but there was plenty of "good eats" to go around!  We also raffled off another cigar box guitar.

2016 is already in planning.  Mark the date of August 27, 2016 for the 7th Annual Crossroads Blues Festival at Lyran Park.  Thank you to everyone who helped make the event a great success!  

Steve Jones
Crossroads Blues Society