Jazz & Blues Festival shines!

Monday, January 18, 2010

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, snowy 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 a 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 another great success.

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 Saturday 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 afternoon Concert at the Community Center.

Special kudos to The Copper Cup, The Gathering Place, The Other Place, VFW Club, and Cherokee Bowl for hosting the Pub Crawls.

And don't forget the fantastic free breakfast made and served by loyal volunteers for musicans and all dedicated volunteers at the Cherokee Depot following the Saturday night Concert and Pub Crawls.

Cherokee has now produced 10 such Festivals and local organizers are so good at their task that we caution everyone not to begin taking them for granted.

It's always wonderful to hear all the musicians echo their fabulous experiences here and vow (plead!) to return the next year.

And it was great to share a hug with former Cherokee CAEDC Director R.J. Baker who conceived this Jazz Fest idea back in the early 90s and, despite battling health problems, made it to Cherokee last weekend to partake in the festivities. He is very proud of how the Festival has bloomed and prospered under its current caretakers.

Kudos also 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.