Blues Festival takes over Rockland

By Staff | Jul 12, 2014
Photo by: Daniel Dunkle The stage of the North Atlantic Blues Festival is the epicenter of a massive crowd of fans July 12 at Harbor Park in Rockland.

Rockland — The atmosphere in Rockland's downtown was transformed Saturday and Sunday, July 12 and 13, as the 21st annual North Atlantic Blues Festival spilled its music and thousands of fans out of Harbor Park and down Main Street.

Performers from around the nation and the world took the stage before a massive crowd gathered in the waterfront park. Many of the fans danced to the blues sounds while others enjoyed the festival from the comfort of their chairs. The weather was warm and sunny.

The Saturday night club crawl saw thousands of people fill the city's Main Street and local clubs. Benjamin announced Sunday morning there were no arrests, not even the "couple of locals" who usually get in trouble.

Sunday, July 13, began just as sunny, a tad more humid but with a good sea breeze to compensate. Highlights included the annual Raising the Blues' Raising Aspirations award presentation, given this year to Zeke Bryant, who gets a guitar, amp and music lessons. The non-profit charitable organization is dedicated upbringing music to children undergo in medical treatment or recovery; and children with physical, emotional or educational challenges.

Clouds began to roll in and the wind picked up during the last set, which ended with an unusual event: all five guitar masters who had played that day joined together for a final number — a roadie's nightmare and a blues lover's dream. It was a short dream, however; due to an approaching line of storms on the radar; Benjamin announced that the festival was over before 6 p.m.

Mary Baker of Holderness, N.H. dances to the blues July 12 in Rockland. (Photo by: Daniel Dunkle)
C.J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band heat things up with a Zydeco sound July 12 at the North Atlantic Blues Festival in Rockland. (Photo by: Daniel Dunkle)
Cole Layman plays a solo on guitar with his sister Logan Layman in the band In Layman's Terms. (Photo by: Daniel Dunkle)
Festival co-founder Paul Benjamin thanks sponsors and announces acts at the North Atlantic Blues Festival. (Photo by: Daniel Dunkle)
Steve and Emily MacKinnon of the Kennebunk River Trio provide music at The Chowder House. Not pictured is fiddle player Mike Conant. (Photo by: Daniel Dunkle)
Samantha Calamari of Owls Head demonstrates a yo-yo-like toy at The Planet on Main Street. Area businesses were taking advantage of the influx of visitors from the festival and the good weather July 12 in Rockland. (Photo by: Daniel Dunkle)
The first two artists of Saturday's lineup, Jarekus Singleton and Teeny Tucker, pose with a fan in the North Atlantic Blues Festival autograph booth July 12. (Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
Victor Wainright, the 2014 Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year, proves he has serious vocal chops too as he comes down into the audience July 12. (Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
Chatting by Rockland Harbor July 12 are, from left, performers Victor Wainwright and Mark Hummel; and festival co-founder and -producer Paul Benjamin. (Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
Main's Street's Mildred Merrill Park offers a blues fest shade tent as well as a view to die for; performing is the Golden State-Lone Star Revue. (Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
The festival's "food court" feeds more than fans. Saturday opener Jarekus Singleton popped in Sunday before hitting the road for a lobster roll breakfast. (Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
Samuel Adams is among the festival sponsors and appears to have attended, as well. (Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
As the last act of the festival's first day, The Mannish Boys face the sunshine head on. (Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
Bonnie Edwards & Practical Cats gets the crowd dancing on Main Street during the Saturday night Club Crawl. (Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
Blues festival co-founders and producers Jamie Isaacson, left, and Paul Benjamin share a rare moment together during the 2014 event. (Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
Thousands of blues fans fill Rockland's Harbor Park July 12. (Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
This year's International Blues Challenge Award winner, Mr. Sipp, "The Mississippi Blues Child," takes his ax into the audience Sunday, July 13, to open the final day of the 21st annual North Atlantic Blue Festival. (Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
Even pirates like the blues, as the North Atlantic Blues Festival dance floor attests. (Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
It took Joanna Connor a few minutes to get amped, but she and the other Sunday performers cap the fest with an all-star guitar lineup. From left are Connor, Jimmy Thackery, Joe Louis Walker (front), Mr. Sipp, Walker's right-hand man Lenny Bradford and Melvin Taylor. (Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
Comments (4)
Posted by: Steve Dugan | Jul 14, 2014 17:43

your coverage of the festival was very weak. one of the big events of the summer, and that is all you can come up with. if this was a soft ball game you would have a full page report with forty photo's. Weak.

Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Jul 14, 2014 09:10

There were no arrests Saturday night but the scanner sure was buzzing. I bet the police officers got a run for their money. Most of these festival goers mind their manners but the usual locals that mess with private property were out in full force. One down and two to go.

Posted by: Josef Berger | Jul 13, 2014 09:39

As a long-time festival goer I hate to say this but the sound was awful; bass drone and fuzzy from where I was sitting near stage. I left during Chenier, where it was the worst. I hope today will be better. Oh, if you sign up to win a 500.- giftcertificate to Lowes, expect to receive many phonecalls about some dream-vacation you won....great, all I need is more promos over the phone. When I told the rude lady about it she basically blamed me for accepting the call. Peace

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Jul 12, 2014 16:32

Could not have asked for a better day. If you are in town don't miss the FREE fun on Main Street tonight from nine until whenever. Five bands and wall to wall fine folk.


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