It’s a weekend to make you weak in the knees. Thank god and goddess you’ll be seated! Blues fans from far and wide will be setting up their chairs to hear their favorite music performed by some outstanding acts Saturday, July 14 and Sunday, July 15. And, let’s not forget the dynamite Club Crawl on Saturday night, but more about that later …
Check it: Mud Morgansfield, Lurrie Bell, Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials, Slam Allen, Kat Riggins, Wee Willie Walker & The Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra, Vanessa Collier, Monster Mike Welch/Mike Ledbetter Connection and, with headliners Bobby Rush and Tab Benoit and Ilana Katz Katz playing between acts.
Paul Benjamin and Jamie Isaacson have been getting this A-1 blues festival together for 25 years now. Benjamin said he also books for six or seven other festivals around the country, so he’s always looking at artists and thinking about the next year’s festival in Rockland.
“I’ve been bringing the blues to Maine since 1978,” Benjamin said. “I book artists early for the North Atlantic Festival so they can build a tour around it. You’ve gotta book them early. I think last year there were 17 or more blues festivals around the country, in Europe, the same weekend as this one. You’re always competing with Europe.”
“Whoever made you buy a ticket is your headliner,” Benjamin said. “This is our 25th year. I’ve found that what’s most important is getting the opening and closing artists and building around them to bring people great music all day, both days.”
But, once the music stops in Harbor Park, it picks up again at pubs and restaurants in downtown Rockland. This year they are: Time Out Pub, Myrtle Street Tavern, Fog Bar Café (inside and outdoors), Trackside Station, Rock Harbor Restaurant, Ada’s Kitchen (featuring the Don Brewer Blues Project Friday and Saturday night), Rock City Café. There will be dancing in the streets when blues bands begin playing outside at various locations along Main Street! This weekend is a blues lover’s dream. Believe it.
“The North Atlantic Blues Festival is one of the premier festivals around, and that’s not us saying that,” said Benjamin. “It’s the artists and booking agents.”
The thousands of blues lovers who attend the festival – over the two days, numbers have reached to 16,000 – are testimony to the festival being a leading event of its kind.
As Benjamin said about the blues, “It’s a passion.”
For more info (including ticket pricing), visit www.northatlanticbluesfestival.com