Blues Festival marks 20 years

5:03 PM, Jul 12, 2013   |    comments
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ROCKLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -It won't exactly be a day at the beach, but thousands of people will be headed to the waterfront in Rockland this weekend for the twentieth North Atlantic Blues Festival.

The festival has become one of the most popular events of the year in the midcoast, and draws people from all over the country to hear some of the top names in blues music.

Festival founders Paul Benjamin and Jamie Isaacson spent Friday getting all the final details complete-tents set up, vendors and ticket booths in place, stage and sound system ready. They say the music is what brings the audience, and the bands like to play for the crowds in Rockland. "Maine is really a hot spot for blues," says Isaacson.

Benjamin says its been a lot of fun to watch the festival grow over the years, and watch it become a nationally-known event. He says this year, tickets have been sold to people from thirty states.
That popularity is also good for Rockland. Hotels fill up, and several restaurants say Blues Festival weekend is their busiest weekend of the year.

This year's festival is made of of "all headliners", according to Benjamin. The best known of the acts is singer Mavis Staples, whom Benjamin says is a member of both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Blues Hall of Fame. The festival has performances on the main stage most of the day Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday night many of the restaurants in downtown Rockland will have live bands, and four other bands will be playing at spots outside along Main Street.

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