History of the blues in Rockland

Aug 09, 2018
Paul Benjamin

Rockland — Blues promoter Paul Benjamin will tell a history of the blues in Rockland and autograph copies of his new book about the first 25 years of the North Atlantic Blues Festival Tuesday evening, Aug. 21. The program, co-sponsored by Rockland Historical Society and Rockland Public Library, will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Room of the library, 80 Union St.

Benjamin was a Marine, a Rockland policeman and a private detective before getting involved in bringing the blues to Rockland. In 1978, he became interested in blues-style music, popular from Memphis to Chicago, because, he said, “Blues is the heartbeat of life.”

He started sponsoring a summer day of blues musicians in the parking lot of the Trade Winds Motel in 1990. In 1994, Gil Merriam, then executive director of the city’s Chamber of Commerce, suggested Benjamin move the festival to Rockland Public Landing. The North Atlantic Blues Festival was born and now draws thousands of people to Rockland every summer.

Following the program, which is free to the public, attendees will adjourn to the historical society museum for refreshments and conversation, as well as a chance to purchase Benjamin’s book of memories, “Heart of Blues: 25 Years of the North Atlantic Blues Festival.”

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.