Jazz & Blues Festival comes through again

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The massive undertaking called the Cherokee Jazz & Blues Festival was, once again, beautifully staged and celebrated this past weekend in Our Town, weather be damned.

With horrendous icy conditions from the worst of winter weather in Iowa, enhanced by extremely bitter cold temperatures, it was thought that this year's Festival was wrecked and surely, organizers would be heart-broken, and the future of the popular event would be threatened from this year's lack of people and their revenue.

But event organizers tallied up the revenues, including the income from dedicated local Festival boosters who unselfishly support the event year after year by purchasing Super Tickets, and last weekend's Festival is now being termed, "Not too bad."

Besides the labors and brain power of Festival Co-Chairs Jim Adamson and Dan Meloy, the driving force of this wondrous event is that it includes so many enjoyable, valuable experiences that naturally attract music lovers to this community.

There's the Grand Concert at Western Iowa Tech Community College Conference Center, featuring headliner acts of unparalleled quality; fabulous Pub Crawls highlighted by superb nationally-acclaimed musicians at various unique venues Friday and Saturday nights; the popular Jam Session Saturday afternoon at The Gathering Place; and the increasingly popular Sunday Brunch Buffet at The Gathering Place, featuring a concert from the Festival's headliner. And don't forget the free breakfast for musicans and volunteers at the Cherokee Depot following the Saturday night Concert and Pub Crawls.

Also the fact that the three vans used in the Designated Driver Service on Friday and Saturday nights. The vans were loaned to the festival by Dan Winchell of Holzhauer Motors, Dan showed community-minded generosity. Because of him, the volunteer drivers (Mike Rose, Ron Oman, Rod Brown, Dan Hansen, Danny Speelmon, Mary Bierman, and Rhonda Fassler) were able to provide convenient and safe transportation to hundreds of passengers Friday and Saturday nights.

The significance of their contribution was a success of the overall festival.

Cherokee has produced nine such Festivals, and next year's will be especially celebrated as the 10th and feature as headliner the Mark Pender Band, which has wowed the crowd repeatedly in the past and has not played here for a few years.

Kudos around to Adamson, Meloy, the bountiful, civic-minded boosters, and all the local volunteers who check their egos at the door and roll up their sleeves and go to work to put this Jazz & Blues Classic on each year.

No one could do it better.

Until then, 2010!