Updated: Blues Festival celebrates 25 years in style

By Sarah E. Reyolds | Jul 14, 2018
Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds Students who took part in the Midcoast Music Academy's Blues Camp show their excitement at being part of the 25th North Atlantic Blues Festival in Rockland July 14.

Rockland — The 25th North Atlantic Blues Festival got off to a rousing start Saturday, July 14, under partly cloudy skies. Festival-goers enjoyed a light breeze, which kept things cooler than in some previous years.

However, the music was anything but chilly. As has been the case for the last few years, the day began with a performance by Midcoast Music Academy students, fresh from their weeklong blues camp with Ilana Katz Katz, this year's between-acts performer. The students threw themselves into their music, and had the audience singing along with them.

The day's first professional artist was Slam Allen and his band, who heated things up in short order. In addition to his regular repertertoire, Allen included a tribute to Louis Armstrong, when he sang "What a Wonderful World," doing a fine imitation of Satchmo's singing style. Later, he did a tribute to Prince with the song "Purple Rain."

Allen also generously invited Katz Katz to share the stage with him. The blues fiddler regularly plays in the subway stations in Boston.

Allen was followed on stage by Kat Riggins, whose home stomping ground is Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Before she went on, Riggins said this was her first time at the North Atlantic Blues Festival, although she has played at other festivals produced by Paul Benjamin. Those include the Suncoast Blues Festival in Sarasota, Fla., and Camping with the Blues in Brooksville, Fla. With that experience behind her, Riggins said, "anything Paul does, I know is gonna be a blast!"

Of her first impressions of the Maine, Riggins said she found it charming, especially the way houses here are all different, rather than being built all according to one design, as where she's from. The Rockland festival was her last stop, following gigs in New York and Boston, before going home.

Riggins took the stage like a queen making an entrance, and no throng of loyal subjects could have been more welcoming than the NABF audience. She promised to provide a range of blues styles so that when she was done, everyone would have "a good taste" in their mouth.

The festival continued Sunday, July 15, starting again with the Midcoast Music Academy students and winding up with Tab Benoit.

Blues Festival celebrates 25 years in style
Midcoast Music Academy students take the stage to begin the first day of the 2018 North Atlantic Blues Festival July 14. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
Three young vocalists from the Midcoast Music Academy show their stuff at the Blues Festival July 14 in Rockland. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
Slam Allen and his band get things off to a strong start Saturday, July 14, at Rockland's North Atlantic Blues Festival. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
Slam Allen plays blues on his blue guitar at the Blues Festival July 14. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
A good crowd was on hand for the opening of the 25th annual North Atlantic Blues Festival July 14 in Rockland. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
Blues fiddler Ilana Katz Katz, back to camera, shares the stage with Slam Allen July 14. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
Kat Riggins and the Blues Revival Band keep the blues energy going at Rockland's Harbor Park July 14. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
The Blues Revival Band takes the stage before Kat Riggins makes her entrance July 14. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
Kat Riggins and her bass player burn up the stage at the Blues Festival July 14. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
Kat Riggins and company entertain the crowd at the North Atlantic Blues Festival July 14 in Rockland. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
Kat Riggins has as much fun on stage as the crowd does watching and listening to her at the Blues Festival July 14. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
Lil' Ed takes the stage with his Blues Imperials Sunday afternoon, July 15, at the North Atlantic Blues Festival in Rockland. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
Sunday, July 15, saw a good crowd for the second day of the Blues Festival, with the sun -- and the music -- makes things hot. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
The all-important kettle korn buy takes place at the Blues Festival July 15 in Rockland. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
Fair food of various types was enjoyed during the two-day Blues Festival in Rockland July 14 and 15. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
Photographers crowd in front of the stage to get a shot of Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials July 15. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
Lil' Ed and some of the Blues Imperials delight the crowd at the North American Blues Festival July 15 in Rockland. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
Between-sets performer Ilana Katz Katz, a blues fiddler, plays Sunday afternoon, July 15, at the Blues Festival. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
Some Blues Festival attendees were in the harbor, rather than Harbor Park, July 15. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
Dancing is an essential part of the North American Blues Festival, and this year's crowd keeps the tradition alive Sunday, July 15, in Rockland. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
So long to the Blues Festival until July 2019. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
Even dogs get the blues fest spirit. (Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
Lil’ Ed tries on some sunglasses. He bought them and wore them during Sunday’s finale, when Tab Benoit handed guitar and mic over to Lil’ Ed and played drums. Alana Katz Katz also took the stage and jammed. (Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
A sea of people overlooks Rockland Harbor during the 2018 North Atlantic Blues Festival. (Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
Comments (1)
Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Jul 15, 2018 04:53

Just what we all needed: A little food for the soul....Good music, great weather with a great crowd. F U N!!

PS
A great article. :)



If you wish to comment, please login.