Although ice-covered roadways, sidewalks, and parking lots, plus single-digit temperatures, hammered the usual turnout numbers for last weekend's Cherokee Jazz & Blues Festival, enthusiastic organizers say the show will go on and the 2010 Festival - the 10th - will be the biggest and best yet.
In fact, organizers have already booked next year's headliner, The Mark Pender Band, a frequent past performer at the Jazz & Blues Festival here, last playing in Cherokee at the 2007 Festival. Pender is a popular musician with the Max Weinberg 7, the house band for The Conan O'Brien Show on NBC Television.
When asked about scheduling the popular Cherokee event over New Year's Day, organizer Jim Adamson said the committee wanted to take advantage of the presence of college kids who would be on break at that time and who have provided a majority of music lovers who have attended the Jazz & Blues Festival in the past.
According to organizers, the bad weather that struck the Cherokee area last Friday and Saturday caused an estimated 40-percent drop in the attendance at the Grand Concert by the Kelley Hunt Band at Cherokee's Western Iowa Tech Community College Conference Center.
Pub Crawls were scheduled at The Copper Cup, Corvo's, Cherokee Bowl, The Other Place, and The Gathering Place on Friday night, and at the VFW Club, Cherokee Bowl, The Other Place, and The Gathering Place Saturday night.
The annual Sunday Brunch Buffet also featuring Kelley Hunt at The Gathering Place, attracted more than 120 people, nearly a record crowd, according to Adamson.
Adamson also was quick to congratulate and heartily thank the many dedicated volunteers who are vital to putting on a Jazz & Blues Festival of this magnitude.
A tip of the hat and heartfelt congratulations also go to Fred and Linda Springer and their daughter Nicole, and Fred's brother Dale Springer, for putting on the delicious and bountiful free breakfast served at the Depot from midnight to 3 a.m. Saturday.
The dedicated Cherokee County Pork Producers donate all the sausage, bacon, and ham used for the breakfast.
Another main feature proving quite popular this year was the Festival's renovated website, originally developed and maintained by Mark Pender, and later updated by Linda Ducommun and her sister Karla Frehse. This year Ducommun completely redesigned and upgraded the attractive, informative, entertaining website, resulting in 2,800 visitors in december through Jan. 4.
"This is obviously a great additional way for people to learn about our Festival," noted Adamson. "It's a helpful add-on to advertisements and stories in the Chronicle Times and on KCHE, but definitely not a substitute for local newspaper and radio coverage."
Adamson also lauded the work of the designated driving corps, who faithfully shuttle imbibing music lovers from venue to venue, among those Mike Rose, Ron Oman, Rhonda Fassler, and Mary Bierman.
"They are a phenomenon," said Adamson in appreciation of the work this group does each year.
Until then, 2010!