The Fleetwood Blues Festival 2013 is now history, but what a chapter in the festival history it is.
Every year the crowd seems to grow and this year, as we drove in, the grass was more covered with lawn chairs and we had to park in an area of the park we didnít even know existed.
The success of this event is a testament to the dedication of Keith and Beckey VanEtten. Working tirelessly with an army of volunteers and musicians, they put together a show that is one of the premier Blues events in the area. It is definitely one of the most organized and well run events I have ever attended.
The music is the uncontested reason to venture out to Fleetwood Park. Musicians, if your band, somehow, isnít well known before you play this festival, it will be after. Audience, rest assured, if a band canít play the chops it wonít be playing Fleetwood. Yes, it is that good.
In our time there this year we got to hear the end of The Don Hoffman Blues Bandís set, The Sterling Koch Band and Pawn Shop Bound. All were rock solid performances with Sterling Koch dishing out some cool original stuff and Pawn Shop Bound blowing some mean harp and sporting a seafoam green Fender Strat.
Because one can never have enough guitars the guitar raffle always gets me to open my wallet. The Kenny Wayne Shepherd model Fender Stratocaster grand prize was sweet, but this year, the Squire Telecaster models got my ticket money. Neither made it into my grubby little hands. I guess thereís always next year.
There is always great food on hand in Fleetwood. Jambalaya, cheesesteaks, sausage sandwiches, fresh cut French fries and the standard hamburgers and hot dogs are all available with little or no wait.
The overall aura of this event can be summed up in one word, fun. Fun for all ages. Perhaps the most fascinating fact about the Fleetwood Blues Festival is that all this entertainment is FREE. Any proceeds that are generated go to the Parks and Rec Department to benefit area kids. This fact in and of itself should be the reason to attend this event and to frequent itís corporate sponsors. I hope to see everyone there in 2014!
Tim Dietterick is the circulation manager at Berks-Mont Newspapers. He writes WTIM: Music Around Town.