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 Friday, April 18, the 108th day of 2014. There are 257 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: A new steamer, Keithsburg, now is at our levee taking on board the balance of her fixtures preparatory to assuming her position on the daily Rock Island and Keokuk line. 1889 -- 125 years ago: C.W. Hawes was appointed deputy county clerk by county clerk Donaldson. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Mrs. O.E. child, of Moline, was named president of the Women's Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Church Rock Island District of the Central Illinois conference. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Augustana College is making plans for a drive for funds to erect a field house and make football field improvements. 1964 -- 50 years ago: A expanded election coverage system featuring a 16-foot chalkboard showing up to the minute running totals, attracted a large and enthusiastic crowd to The Argus newsroom last night. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Balloons frame Rock Island attorney Stewart Winstein who was given a surprise party in the rotunda of the Rock Island County Courthouse on Thursday to honor his 50th year of practicing law.