“…people can get together and have a good time and help raise money for local charities and End Hunger in Calvert County.”
– Ripley on the Rocket
On Saturday and Sunday, September 7 and 8, the Calvert County Fairgrounds hosted the Southern Maryland Blues Fest for Calvert County’s End Hunger. The weather, although a little on the warm side, cooperated with sun and no rain.
Attendance each day reached approximately 1,000 but if you included the volunteers, closer to 1200. There were lots of vendors on the grounds selling food, beverages, clothing, jewelry, candles, cars, cosmetics and many non profits offering literature on a variety of subjects. For the younger set, there was face painting and a moon bounce. Brew’s Alley had sampling of America’s leading craft beers and one of Calvert own, Mully’s Brewery.
Soon it was time to hear what the crowd was waiting for, the performers. The stage show opened with a prayer by Rev. Robert Hahn from End Hunger and the Calvert High NJROTC posting the colors. Andre Jones sang the National Anthem and then the sounds of the blues filled the air, as the Sam Grow Band took the stage. Attendees were dancing and singing along as each act came on stage. The Patty Reese Band was another crowd favorite, with Tommy Lepson, Dean Rosenthal and Ursula Ricks. New Orleans’ Bonerama was crowd pleasing with their funk rock along with guitarist Walter Trout with his hard core blues roots. Ana Popovic and Mo’ Better Love with their horn section, reminded people of the great blues in New Orleans. And rounding out the day was Canned Heat with their boogie blues from over the past 40 years.
Speaking with Sam Grow after the concert, I asked him why he decided to be a part of the event and he said “I am honored to be a part of it and share the stage with so many talented musicians. I am blessed to do this for others.”
Ripley on the Rocket was there and chatting with him, I asked him what his thoughts were on the event. He told me “I’m glad to have another rock and blues base in Southern Maryland, where people can get together and have a good time and help raise money for local charities and End Hunger in Calvert County”.
Sunday started with the duo Swampcandy, Joey Mitchell and Ruben Dobbs, who wails the blues. The Daryl Davis Band with Kingfish (young blues phenom) and Del Puschert (former sax player with Elvis Presley), Rosie Ledet and the Zydeco Playboys and their bayou Creole music, Mark Hummell, Billy Boy Arnold and Sugar Ray Norcia all playing harmonicas in tribute to Remembering Little Walter and the Trampled Under Foot group of three siblings from Kansas City, who were influenced by their parents blues gave the crowd their money’s worth. The final act was the Marshall Tucker band who brought the house down and ended the fest.
“Not all the performers and vendors donated their services”, said Rev. Hahn. “Some did and others made contributions, or gave reduced fees. We have to remember that for many performers and vendors, this is in their income base and we respect that. What’s important is that all the performers and vendors included us in their schedule-they all have many choices about where to perform or sell, but they wanted to support our cause by helping us have a top notch event.”
I asked Rev. Hahn how much was raised over the two days and he said it was too soon to tell as there are invoices and contributions that keep coming in for several more weeks. He added that he expected to do well, but it was not just about money-because community awareness and involvement have high value as well.
Rev. Hahn continued, “My own last thoughts-I was very proud of the End Hunger volunteers who came out and served tirelessly for two days. They don’t do it because they like doing big events and the young volunteers rarely listen to blues. They served because they believe in the cause with a driving passion-that’s inspiring. The young volunteers, in particular, are the generation of leaders in our country-for that we should all be proud”.
Margit Miller / Staff Writer / Editor