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Turpentine is all right, providing that wages are good, but I can make more money now, out somewhere choppin' cordwood - Tampa Red, Turpentine Blues

Author Topic: Blues Passions?  (Read 771 times)

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Offline Stumblin

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Blues Passions?
« on: February 05, 2012, 05:28:54 AM »
I don't know if anyone else here has enjoyed this festival in the past, but it surely looks to me like the organisers have just given up on the Blues: http://www.bluespassions.com/
The Cranberries?
F*****g St*ng? For crying out loud. The mind positively shudders with a gruesome combination of pity, horror, revulsion and incomprehension. I know the Blues Passions people have a history of presenting some very questionable headline acts, considering it's supposedly a Blues festival, but this is just a slap in the face.
I was thinking of going again this year, but now I think I'll save the thousand pounds ticket, camping & travel costs for something more worthwhile and rewarding. Blues Passions needs to lose a lot of money this year, to bring them to their senses. Either that or they should have the decency to stop calling it a Blues festival. Shame, Cognac is a lovely little town and the campsite is great.
Does anyone have any comparable "Blues festival line-up contains no Blues artists" examples or experiences?
« Last Edit: February 05, 2012, 07:33:00 AM by Slack »

Offline CF

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Blues Passions?
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2012, 06:58:18 AM »
Oh yes . . . my cousin moved to Windsor, Ontario Canada for a time & called me one day to tell me who was headlining the local Blues festival . . . KISS! I guess some of their songs are I-IV-V  :-\
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Blues Passions?
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2012, 08:06:16 AM »
Festivals have been going this way for a long time under the direction of corporate sponsors and organizers desperate for cash. The generally appalling taste of joe public doesn't help. The Montreal Jazz Festival has very little jazz on its outdoor stages aside from some college big bands, offering mostly worldbeat party music, Stevie Ray Vaughan impersonators and other shit that sells beer. Its big indoor headliners so far for the coming festival are James Taylor and Tangerine Dream (not performing together, although that would make for an interesting horror movie).

Offline CF

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Re: Blues Passions?
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2012, 08:50:34 AM »
It's also the case that there are less & less Blues names who can draw huge crowds anymore. After BB, Guy, Clapton . . . we'll have John Mayer & that sort as the leading names in 'the Blues.' Why some of these festivals INSIST they be Blues festivals is confusing. It must strike a lot of people as a BBQ frame of mind or a music/culture conducive to drinking & 'relaxing?'
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline lindy

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Re: Blues Passions?
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2012, 09:13:55 AM »
It's not a blues festival, but I'll put in a word about the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival--Jazz Fest, y'all--and its approach. It has become a bloated monster, three days the first weekend and four days the second. It fits in with the American idea that if it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing. The saddest moment I ever experienced at Jazz Fest was when Dr. John got booed on the biggest stage by thousands of people who were only there to see Bon Jovi. Chew on that one, Dr. John dissed on stage in New Orleans!

But, at least they have the smarts to dedicate one large tent to contemporary jazz (and they do book the cream in that genre), equally large tents for gospel and blues, and a smaller tent for traditional New Orleans-style jazz. The result is kind of schizophrenic, but fans can completely avoid the big commercial acts and just soak in the local flavors if they so choose. Why other festivals don't try to follow a similar model surprises me.

L
« Last Edit: February 05, 2012, 09:27:20 AM by lindy »

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Blues Passions?
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2012, 09:13:40 AM »
Maybe the Blues just ain't "Festival" music anymore. I mean Newport in '64 Skip James, John Hurt, Son House, Gary Davis, Libba Cotton, Sleepy John...now THAT was a festival. Who would we have now....Ry Cooder, John Hammond, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Guy Clark, Paul Geremia, Roy Bookbinder, Ari Eisinger,  The Carolina Chocolate Drops.......Maybe pull Larry Johnson out of mothballs, Ain't no flys on any of them but do you really want to be sitting in a damp field under a hot sun craning your neck to watch their hands? Am I saying something's been lost? Yeah I guess i am, but I'd be hard pressed to find much fault with this list or nail down what's missing but I think it's not a stretch to say that our music has entered the academy and is more suited for the college auditorium or concert hall than the fairgrounds.
An electric thing is still possible i suppose, there's still BB and Buddy a few more old timers but we used to have Muddy, Wolf, Bo, Jr. Wells,....now? competent bands that can raise the pulse a bit but that couldn't for the most part be thought of as memorable.
Well...ready, aim Fire! That's just how it looks from here.
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Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Blues Passions?
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2012, 10:05:08 AM »
sorry not Guy clark Guy, Davis
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline dj

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Re: Blues Passions?
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2012, 10:42:41 AM »
Quote
Ain't no flys on any of them but do you really want to be sitting in a damp field under a hot sun craning your neck to watch their hands?

I would, but the shows always run on past my bed time.   ;D

Seriously, who would sit in a damp field under a hot sun to watch any of the headliners listed in this thread?  Sting?  The Cranberries?  Bon Jovi??  James Taylor??? their audience is as old as the blues audience.

The "problem" is that there's just not the audience to make a "pure" blues festival viable.  Blues is very much a minority music now.  Back when we were young 'uns, you could scan the pop charts and see the blues roots of 25% - 50% of the music there.  Listening to blues-based music made a lot of people want to go and search out the roots of their pop idols.  Today on the pop charts...  Well, zero is a percent, as someone once said on The Simpsons. 

Offline lindy

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Re: Blues Passions?
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2012, 11:15:52 AM »
I agree with what you say, O'Muck, but isn't it kind of a natural progression? I mean, before the big festivals of the 60s (or for jazz, Newport in the 50s), where did people gather to hear folk music and blues? Usually on the porch or at the Grange for a dance. Set me straight if I'm wrong, but before WWII I think the only reason large numbers of people gathered under big tents at fairgrounds were for agricultural fairs and revival meetings. The idea of large numbers of people going far out of their way to stand around in a field and listen to a broad range of musical styles is something we're all in tune with, but for most of us born in the 1950s, our parents couldn't imagine doing that.

In many ways we're living in a golden age for having access to different types of music, there's all kinds of festivals aimed at specific audiences--bluegrass, old-timey, blues, African, classical ... on and on. At many of those festivals there are performers who operate at the same level as those people on your "alive-and-kicking" list, but in their separate genres.

I think it's a great time to be alive if you're interested in a broad range of obscure musical styles. (You can say that it isn't a good time if you're trying to make a living off of your music, but has it ever been a really good time for anyone playing outside of the pop mainstream?) If you want to you can go to your New Orleans Jazz Fest monstrosities, or you can go to a lot of small regional gatherings such as the Fiddlers Convention in Weiser, Idaho, the Vancouver Folk Music Festival, or Northwest Folklife in Seattle. Before the big-name professional acts you can listen to lots of talented and dedicated musicians who have day jobs.

I think it's a great time to be alive for music festivals, but it's important to avoid the trap of thinking bigger = better. And don't forget to buy them CDs and t-shirts, that's how musicians make $$.

L

Offline eric

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Re: Blues Passions?
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2012, 11:24:15 AM »
Reminiscing back to the 80's, Sacramento and San Francisco had some wonderful blues festivals.  At SF, old pal and fellow old weird American Dave and and I would schlep an enormous ice chest full of beer over to the little amphitheater in GG park and spend the day, one memorable time ending at Eli's Mile Club in Oakland listening to blues of the urban variety late into the night while a gentlemen in a tuxedo was sleeping under our table.

Phil Givant, now passed, used to run the Sacramento Blues Festival.  It drew a good crowd, had a mix of older and younger players (Johnny Shines was sensational) and a couple of the local soul food joints brought trailers and served up excellent barbecue with all the fixings.  We would sit on lawn chairs with the obligatory ice chest and enjoy the show.  There's a blues festival here in Reno, and I suppose I should go, but it's top heavy with young guys who play electric guitar at the speed of light, not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just not my thing.     
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Eric

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Blues Passions?
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2012, 12:17:07 PM »
Good thoughtful post Lindy. I forgot to mention that i hate crowds...and festivals. But you actually describe an appealing scenario. I may have to readjust my curmugionality to accommodate this new reality.Thanks.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline blueshome

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Re: Blues Passions?
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2012, 02:01:28 PM »
"curmugionality" or should it be "curmugeonality" - what  a great addition to the language.

Offline Rivers

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Re: Blues Passions?
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2012, 05:04:58 PM »
I may have to readjust my curmugionality to accommodate this new reality.

We's rappin' now. I had a bizarre vision of... naaah.  8)

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Blues Passions?
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2012, 05:47:01 PM »
HA!
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline Stumblin

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Re: Blues Passions?
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2012, 01:35:27 AM »
On a related note, does anyone know of any half-way decent you all know what I mean) Blues festivals in mainland Western Europe in late July or August? I have a hankering after a few nights under canvas for a worthy cause. Perhaps this should form the basis a separate thread?

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