DAVENPORT – Downtown streets shook with the sound of blues Thursday night asthe 2013 Mississippi Valley Blues Festival kicked off along 2nd Street.
Hundreds of music-lovers from all over the country celebrated Independence Day at the first day of the annual Blues Fest.
"I could have stayed at the lake today, but I decided to come out," said Mark Patrick who ventured about 280 miles from his home, Three Rivers, Mich., for the festival.
"It's fun, and it (the music) touches your soul," he said.
On Thursday night, he snapped a few photos of a young blues fan blowing bubbles in the wind as Eddie "Devil Boy" Turner & the Trouble Twins set up on the main stage on 2nd Street near Ripley Street.
Mr. Patrick said he's an active member of his local blues society and travels to six or seven music festivals each year. While the blues often appeal to an older audience, most everyone is looking to have a few beers and enjoy themselves at Blues Fest, he said.
This year's Mississippi Valley Blues Festival features about 28 acts, as well as free workshops at the River Music Experience and loads of vendors.
Between the performers playing on both festival stages and the band jams planned at the Lodge in Bettendorf where he was staying, Mr. Patrick said he knew he was in for a good time.
He wasn't the only one hopping state lines for Thursday's music. Terry Yakich drove from Madison, Wis., a journey he described as long.
"But it's worth it," he said, noting he includes a Blues Fest trip to the Quad-Cities in his Independence Day plans each year. He said he makes it a point to swing by Davenport for the festival after watching fireworks in Dubuque the night before.
"It makes for a nice getaway," he said.
Mr. Yakich said he was familiar with about half of the bands on this year's schedule. He was excited to watch headlining blues guitarist Walter Trout, but added he was looking forward to hearing something new and unexpected.
Others at the festival Thursday night didn't have to travel as far for their blues fix.
"Its amazing how many people come from all over the world," said Caryl Eickstaedt, of Moline. She attributes Blue Fest's success nationally with it being not overly commercialized.
"They (the organizers) don't gouge people," she said. "They just want people to come and listen to the blues."
Ms. Eickstaedt said that, among the most enjoyable things for her, is the gathering of people. A volunteer the fest for several years, she said she has yet to see a fight.
"We love music – as long as it's good!" she enthused, adding she didn't like country music.
If you go:
The Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, along 2nd Street, between Ripley and Main Streets in Davenport, continues Friday and Saturday evenings.
Tickets are $20 per day, free for children 14 and younger when accompanied by an adult.
Today is Monday, Dec. 9, the 343rd day of 2013. There are 22 days left in the year. 1863 — 150 years ago: All last week were favored with the most delightful Indian summer weather. The mercury ranged from 40 to 65 degrees and the ice is entirely gone out of the river. 1888 — 125 years ago: W.D. Reimers was given charge of the Weyerhaeuser-Denkmann mill in Davenport. 1913 — 100 years ago: Eight hundred or more tons of earth in six landslides, covered 38th Street for a distance of 200 feet near 7th Avenue and destroyed much property. 1938 — 75 years ago: Patrolman Joseph H. Schnelder, of Moline, has been awarded four medals for proficiency in marksmanship. He is the crack pistol shot of the Rock Island district. 1963 — 50 years ago: For the 83rd year, George Frederic Handel's "Messiah" was performed at Augustana College ushering in the spiritual aspect of the Christmas season. 1988 — 25 years ago: A water main break Thursday night, the fourth this week, affected 35 homes near the 2200 block of 39th Street, Rock Island, city officials said today.