Performers pay tribute to B.B. King
OROVILLE – They may have left singing the blues, but no one who attended last Saturday’s Rally at the Border Blues Fest left unhappy.
Between 350 and 400 people attended the festival, now in it’s second year. An increase in attendance by more than 100, according to organizers. Visitors came from as far away as Vancouver BC, Seattle and Twin Falls Idaho.
“The only thing we would change next year is the weather. We couldn’t have asked for more memorable music festival weather all day Saturday. Then, just as the festival was winding down and campers were about to settle in, the downpour started,” said Vicki Hinze, who heads up the Rally at the Border Blues Fest Committee.
“Twenty-seven tourists camped at Deep Bay, and the poker run got rained out, but everyone we talked to seemed to take it in stride,” she adds.
Committee member Mark Morris, who arranged for the six talented bands, said he couldn’t be more pleased.
“All the bands gave 100 percent and knocked it out of the park as far as I’m concerned. Everyone I talked to thought that each and every one of the bands put on a great show. Audiences got to hear Chicago style, Delta and Texas style blues, with periodic tributes to the late blues legend, B.B. King.”
Hinze and Morris both say they heard nothing but positive feedback and predictions the event will continue to grow.
“From all the positive feedback the committee received, I think we can expect that our audience and reputation will keep growing,” said Hinze.
“People loved it, they absolutely loved it. I kept hearing from those who came and from the bands ‘you know this is going to grow… it’s going to grow big,'” added Morris. “The bands all loved it and want to come back. They kept saying what a beautiful venue it is.”
This years bands were: The Randy Oxford Band – Featuring Lady A, Steve Bailey and the Blue Flames, The CD Woodbury Band, Jesse Weston Band, Voo Doo Church of Blues and Royce-Govedare High Rollers
Morris said Randy Oxford, one of the lineup for the festival has been spreading the word about the Rally at the Border Blues Fest.
“He’s really promoting us and Steve Bailey is a really good guy and puts on a great show,” Morris said, adding that other bands were ‘bummed’ that they couldn’t make it.
“It would be hard to step it up any better, but we’re looking to find bands all along the Pacific coast,” he said.
Morris also gives much of the credit to those working behind the scenes – the sound and stage guys, for making the festival a success this year. He said he hopes to have an even greater line-up next year, casting his net further to bring in some other great bands.
“This year, we knew much more about how to put on a blues festival than we did in our inaugural year. We couldn’t have done it without the time and energy of our 75 plus tireless volunteers. Pulling off an event of this magnitude will always be challenging, especially without any paid staff,” adds Hinze.
Following the festival people were invited to attend a jam session at the Pastime, with the Deep Water Blues, a local band, and many of the musicians from the festival sitting in.
“The Pastime was packed from 10 p.m. until closing. The jam session gave folks a unique opportunity to hear musicians from different bands playing together and everyone seemed to have fun. It was great to see Main Street so alive again,” said Hinze, who owns the Pastime Bar & Grill with husband Brant.
“Randy Oxford and members of his band made the jam session so much more fun. How fantastic that amateur musicians got to play alongside musicians of this caliber. We’ll likely be hearing more from a couple of the promising young guitar players who joined in,” Morris adds.
This year, like last, the Okanogan County Shriners were invited to participate in the festival, using it as a fund raiser for Shriner’s Hospital, the various children’s clinics and other youth projects. They Shriners sold 50/50 raffle tickets where the winner got half the pot and the rest went to the Shriners. This year the winning ticket was purchased by Shrine member Jack Hughes, who earmarked to help pay for the blues festival, which accepted the winnings which amounted to over $1000.
The blues festival was conceived as a way to keep some of the riders from the Run to the Border Charity Motorcycle ride in town for the weekend. This year 165 riders made their way to Oroville from Wenatchee where the ride starts. The annual ride is a way for members of the Columbia Harley Owners Group to raise money for various charities. This year the funds they raise will go toward the CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) for Children Program of Chelan and Douglas County.