Originally Posted Online: July 04, 2013, 9:54 pm
Last Updated: July 04, 2013, 10:11 pm

Blues Fest's first night draws fans from near and far

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By Kevin Smith, ksmith@qconline.com

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Chet Strange
Eddie "Devil Boy" Turner and Trouble Twins perform at the main stage of the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival in downtown Davenport on the Fourth of July. The festival was forced to change locations last-minute due to flooding in LeClaire Park, the festival's usual location.
More photos from this shoot
Photo: Chet Strange
Fans watch Howard and the White Boys perform at the main stage of the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival in downtown Davenport on the Fourth of July. The festival was forced to change locations last-minute due to flooding in LeClaire Park, the festival's usual location.
More photos from this shoot
Photo: Chet Strange
Joe and Vicki Price perform at the tent stage of the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival in downtown Davenport on the 4th of July. The festival was forced to change locations last-minute due to flooding in LeClaire Park, the festival's usual location.

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.