Welcome to the North Atlantic Blues Festival — now in its third decade! The blues has evolved in the past 21 years, and part of our challenge is to keep the festival fresh by bringing in up-and-coming musicians as well as seasoned veterans. Since 1994, the North Atlantic Blues Festival has showcased well more than 100 major touring acts, many of whom are projecting this time-tested music through a kaleidoscope of genres. Jazz inflected progressions, old-school R&B, rock edginess and hip hop-intense wordplay — it all comes to the festival and delivers the soul-searching groove we expect from the blues.

In the early days, we were fortunate to bring some of the greatest of early blues artists to Rockland. Every year, we search for those artists whom festivalgoers may never get a chance to experience otherwise. If this music is to continue and thrive, we have to draw fans of all ages. It’s a challenge we take seriously … and have fun with. The diversity of styles has always been a strong point of the NABF and the 2014 lineup is no exception.

Another strong point has been the musical bang for the buck. Maine has become a hotbed of summer entertainment in recent years, but the NABF remains an astonishing bargain, offering 12 national acts for what turns out to be less than 10 bucks a piece, less than $5 for advance ticket holders — if you add in the Club Crawl performers, the math gets even more impressive. For the performers, the NABF is time spent in a beautiful place with wonderful people who give as much as they get — what more could you ask for?

So we are thankful to be here for our 21st year, thankful to our fellow blues fans for supporting the NABF and for making it a success, year after year. We appreciate the fact that you trust our judgment and that we will program a festival you will enjoy! And, as always, we thank the city of Rockland, our sponsors, advertisers, volunteers and our families. Together, we are all Keepin’ the Blues Alive in the 21st century.

Paul E. Benjamin and Jamie Isaacson