Best year ever for Rendezvous Rhythm and Blues Festival

<p align=Photos by Gary DeVon

&amp;nbsp;&amp;nbsp;&amp;nbsp; Husband and wife duo Andy and Julie Strange, one half of the Strange Tones from Oregon, got the crowd rocking on Saturday night.

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Photos by Gary DeVon

&amp;nbsp;&amp;nbsp;&amp;nbsp; Husband and wife duo Andy and Julie Strange, one half of the Strange Tones from Oregon, got the crowd rocking on Saturday night.

OROVILLE- Organizers of this year’s Rendezvous Rhythm and Blues Festival are happy withlast weekend’s music event at Smith’s Point near Oroville.

“We had a bigturnout, the largest turnout we’ve had in the years we’ve been doing it,” saidWes Edwards, who with wife Denise, are the lead organizers of the Rendezvous.

He sees the festival just getting bigger with eachpassing year. Although much of the information about Rendezvous Rhythm andBlues is spread by word of mouth, Edwards and his wife also spend a lot of timepromoting the event at other R&amp;amp;B festivals held around the region.

“We do a lot of promoting and have more out-of-towners inattendance each year, but we also have a key group of local fans that we seejust about every year,” Edwards said.

He’d like to see even more people from the area come andcheck out the three-day music festival next year.

The festival was held Friday, Saturday and Sunday overLabor Day Weekend. Local favorite, the Company Band, kicked the show off Fridayafternoon, followed up by Stickshift Annie withKimball and The Fugitives and then the Rose City Kings.

Brian Fiest started the venue atnoon on Saturday and was followed by the CrosstownBlues Band. The Ben Rice Band, winner of the 2006 Journey toMemphis Band Competition, was next, followed by The Strange Tones. BryanLee was set to take the festival to 11:30 p.m., but Lee, an old-time performerfrom New Orleans, cut his set short due to health problems. Rice and otherperformers stepped up and played the rest of the evening.

On Sunday Sammy Eubanks started at noon, followed byanother local favorite, North Half. Charlie Butts and the Filter Tips and Phat Betty and Who’s Your Daddywere next in the line up. Grammy-nominated performer Randy McAllister concludedthe festival.

“Randy McAllister, our headliner, was my favorite” saidEdwards. “He flew up from Texas just to play here… landed in Spokane and droveover. It was the first time he’d ever been to Washington State.

In addition to the music there were food vendors, as wellas vendors selling arts and crafts, jewelry, T-shirts and a variety of othergoods. Many rhythm and blues fans took advantage of the free camping availablein and around the nearby apple orchards.

The cooler weather didn’t stop festival-goers, especiallythe kids, from taking a swim in Lake Osoyoos, which is just a short walk fromthe stage.

The Edwards said they wanted to thank all the volunteers,as well as the Eagles for the beer garden and the Oroville community for alltheir help. He said anyone who wants to help with next year’s festival iswelcome to.

“We could definitely use more help… don’t be shy just getin touch and we’ll put you to work,” he said.

Information on the festival is available at their websiteRendezvous Rhythm &amp;amp; Blues.